Carving your own path is an important part of the journey for budding artists, and these five up-and-coming country acts are well on their way to building bright futures for themselves.

You may be familiar with Mitchell Tenpenny — he's a growing presence in Music City, having already penned a hit cut by Granger Smith. Now he's watching one of his own tracks, "Drunk Me," climb the charts. Then there's Abby Anderson, another important artist to watch out in July 2018 and beyond. Her single "Make Him Wait" continues to captivate those who hear it. Teen star Tegan Marie has already won over celebrity fans like Kelsea Ballerini and Cam with her strong voice, and Cale Dodds' clever wordplay makes him an intriguing artist as he is a lyricist. And keep your ears open for Tenille Arts, who is poised to make an impact on the genre with her star quality voice.

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    Abby Anderson

    Abby Anderson is an up-and-coming act you need to get ahead of. She creates soulful songs that have earned her a well-deserved slot in the coveted CMT Next Women of Country class for 2018. Her striking breakthrough single "Make Him Wait" brings a message that encourages strength, self-assurance and self-worth as Anderson channels the lessons she learned growing up into an influential song. She knows how to drive an emotional punch, and she hits hard with songs like “Goodbye to You” and “Daddy.”

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    Mitchell Tenpenny

    Mitchell Tenpenny is authentic. Step past the title and listen to "Bitches," a clever lyric in which he showcases his sharp songwriting skills. As he tells the Boot: "The words are there for a reason," a notion he carries through on each of his songs. In addition to co-writing Granger Smith’s Top 5 hit “If the Boot Fits,” Tenpenny’s current single “Drunk Me” shows his mainstream potential, as honest lyrics about a tough breakup spill over a radio-friendly melody. He's going to break in 2018.

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    Tenille Arts

    A haunting voice helps Tenille Arts stand out and stay put, but it’s in her storytelling where she really proves her worth. She demonstrates her gift for weaving intriguing stories on the autobiographical “Rebel Child” and evocative “Moment of Weakness,” that latter of which earned her a deal with Reviver Records after executives at the company where so captivated by her performance on The Bachelor in 2018. “Cold Feet” shows the raw storyteller side of her — so much so that the lyrics stop you in your tracks and make you cling to every word.

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    Tegan Marie

    There's a reason Tegan Marie is the youngest artist signed to Warner Music Nashville in more than 40 years. At just 14 years old, the bright teen has established herself as both a writer and artist, working alongside top people in the Nashville industry. That list includes Nathan Chapman, the Grammy-winning producer behind several Taylor Swift projects. Tegan Marie even writes her own songs, like her current single "I Know How to Make a Boy Cry." Her cover videos have racked up millions of views, and her endearing personality (and her talent) have earned her support from country's most famous: Kelsea Ballerini, Cam and Florida Georgia Line.

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    Cale Dodds

    There’s a clever nature to Cale Dodds’ songwriting that makes him naturally inviting. Whether he’s taking note of those observing him on “People Watching,” comparing a love he just can’t seem to break to an illness on “Out of My System,” or making false promises through witty wordplay with “Lying,” Dodds exhibits his talent of pairing humor with intellect through every track he writes. His talent is so refreshing that Warner Music Nashville CEO John Esposito backtracked his initial rejection and ultimately signed Dodds to the label. The young singer has even become a Spotify country favorite, with spins nearing 25 million. Dodds is one of country music’s most appealing new stars.