The New Nashville: Ryan Hurd

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Ryan Hurd came to Nashville via his home state of Michigan in pursuit of a sociology degree at Belmont University. Inspired by the talented musicians on campus and around the city, he put off his plans to enter graduate school and started pursuing his passion of songwriting.

After meeting other aspiring songwriters, he began to hone his craft and snagged a publishing deal with Universal Music. Within a year, he scored a cut on Jake Owen's Endless Summer EP - but that was only the beginning. When Rascal Flatts released his track "Payback" as a single, Nashville took notice. Since then, he's earned cuts from Blake Shelton ("Lonely Tonight") and Tim McGraw ("Last Turn Home"), proving that even country's biggest names know talent when they hear it.

At the end of last year, he released his first four-song EP, Panorama, which shows off his talents as both a songwriter and performer. With a huge list of festival tour dates ahead of him, Ryan Hurd is one seasoned newcomer that's more than ready for his big break.

What He Sounds Like: A grittier, twangier version of Jake Owen, with serious influences from traditional country greats like Hank and Waylon.

Required Listening: "Good As You Think I Am", a pure country love song from a man to the woman who loves him strong and unconditionally.

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The New Nashville: Ryan Hurd