Year In Review 2019 – Liam Lewis

We are quickly approaching a new year, and a new decade! As we head into 2020, Belles and Gals are looking back on some of the best tracks and artists of 2019. It has been a busy year for new releases with B&G alone having been informed of in excess of 350 releases from some truly incredible artists.

2019 was the year of the Country-Pop crossover. The crossover genre has gained many new fans and is attracting an incredibly wide ranging demographic. Many of my selections focus on the evolving genre as my preferences are in contemporary Country and Americana.

With so many incredible new tracks to choose from it was difficult to choose a top 5 list . So, here is just a little taste of my top 5 listened to tracks of this year (as per my Spotify listening history):

Top tracks:
1. Maren Morris – Flavor
2. Ward Thomas – Little Girl Sorrow
3. Lacy Cavalier – Blue Suede Couch
4. Caitlyn Smith – Put Me Back Together
5. Caroline Jones – Chasin’ Me

Along with the many single releases, we saw a growth in the number of album and EP releases. A huge debut from the supergroup ‘The Highwomen’ dominated the most listened (and talked about) album of the year. However, that was not the only release to grab listeners this year. Below are my top five album/EP releases:

Top albums
1. Kalie Shorr – Open Book
2. Cassadee Pope – Stages
3. Lauren Jenkins – No Saint
4. The Highwomen – Self Titled Debut
5. Maren Morris – Girl

As the genre grows in the UK and Europe, so does the number of live shows from artists willing to take a financial risk on crossing the pond. Alongside major festivals such as C2C, Black Deer and Millport Country Festival, there were many small shows across the country. Despite missing 20+ shows I would have loved to attend, I was still lucky enough to attend many incredible shows from some truly brilliant artists.

Top Live Shows
1. Catherine McGrath – C2C Town Square Stage
2. Abby Anderson – C2C (The Loft – Formally NY-LON)
3. Maren Morris – Girl World Tour (O2 Academy Birmingham)
4. Ward Thomas & The Wandering Hearts – Restless Minds UK Tour (De Montfort Hall Leicester)
5. Lainey Wilson – C2C BBC Radio 2 Stage

A key mission of Belles and Gals is not only to aim for equality within the industry but to also support and foster up and coming artists. We are lucky enough to have the chance to discover so many truly incredibly musicians and vocalists. Here are a selection of 10 artists to watch in 2020 who will surely be dominating the scene very soon!

Artists to watch
1. Madeline Kozak
2. Lacy Cavalier
3. Avenue Beat
4. Nicole Rayy
5. Emily Frith
6. Elle Mears
7. Caitlyn Mae
8. Chelsea Berman
9. Valerie Ponzio
10. Abby Christo

Underrated are the powerful females leading behind the scenes in the industry. From CEO’s, to music journalists, business owners and everything in-between… females are the backbone of the music industry. Below are some of the incredible women who have been crucial to the industry and have inspired me this year.

Industry leaders
1. Laura Snapes
2. Marisa Moss
3. Dr Jada Watson
4. Lara Baker
5. Shiona McCallum

I’d like to give a special shout out to the whole team at Belles and Gals for being an incredible group of people to share my passion with. A special thanks to Nick and Sam for their hilarious remarks and never ending ideas to help serve the mission statement of Belles and Gals. An extra special shout out to my partner in crime, Caroline, for providing company at shows and providing unconditional assistance to the team whenever we need it.

The new year and decade is going to continue the upwards trend for recognizing that females are equal to men within the music industry. By continuing to fight for equality, the industry will become stronger than ever. Have a happy new year and enjoy the new music coming your way!

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