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Early And Current Releases: Kaylee Bell, Travis Collins, James Johnston & More!

2 June 2023 | 11:07 am | Mallory Arbour

Celebrating just how far these artists have come!

Kaylee Bell

Kaylee Bell (Image: Supplied)

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We’re feeling a little nostalgic today and thought we’d take a trip down memory lane to celebrate just how far these artists have come in their careers. Here are the early and current releases from some of our favourite country music artists, including Travis Collins, James Johnston, Amber Lawrence, Kaylee Bell, Casey Barnes and Morgan Evans.


Travis Collins

In 2004, Travis Collins won Toyota Star Maker with his performance of Bridge That You Won't Burn, a song he wrote with his dad Terry, which later became his debut single.

Collins’ latest track, Raise Me is a sweet ode to his 19-month daughter, Ava Violet. He said, “[This song is] the most special, and vulnerable thing I've ever released... We get so focused on how we're shaping and growing our little humans, we forget to acknowledge how much they shape and grow us.” It’s the fourth song from his forthcoming album, Any Less Anymore.  

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James Johnston

While we know it wasn’t actually his first release, Rollercoaster was James Johnston’s first single following placing third on Australian Idol in 2009. Although he was raised on country music (stepping away from the genre at 16), a trip to Nashville around 2015 reignited the flame and Johnston returned to his roots in 2021 with the release of his gold certified single, RAISED LIKE THAT.

His latest single, WE GREW UP ON was released in April 2023. The song, which is currently in the top 10 on the Countrytown Hot 50 Chart, celebrates the freedom and joy that comes with getting your first car.

Kaylee Bell

Although she began singing at four years old, Kaylee Bell released Pieces with fellow Australasian, Jared Porter following being crowned Toyota Star Maker in 2013. The song received substantial airplay in Australia and earned the duo an APRA Award for ‘Best Country Music Song’ and the overall grand prize at the US Unsigned Only Competition.

Following her hit BOOTS 'N ALL, the music video for her latest single, When Summers Rolls Around, features footage from supporting the likes of Ed Sheeran, SIX60, Brad Paisley and more on recent tours. The single dropped in April.

Amber Lawrence 

Before becoming a full-time musician, Amber Lawrence worked as a chartered accountant for Qantas. In 2006, she independently released her debut four-track EP, I've Got the Blues.

Since then, she’s released ten studio albums, a live album and a second EP, Our Backyard, featuring Travis Collins. Her latest single, Rise, is a collaboration with Casey Donovan. The title and lyrics epitomise both Amber and Casey’s resilience and perseverance in their respective careers and personal lives, with both in the most amazing space of their lives.

Casey Barnes

Before he was dropping bangers like Small Town and Get To Know You, Casey Barnes was performing around the country and released albums, Say What You Feel (2004) and Casey Barnes (2007). While we can’t find those online, according to his 2009 Australian Idol video profile, Casey provided vocals for Marco Denmark’s remix of Elton John’s Tiny Dancer, which became the #1 dance track in the UK.

Casey’s latest single, Boys Like Me, is the second single from the follow-up album to the massively successful Light It Up album, with the new album due in early 2024.

Morgan Evans

Following his win at the Telstra Road to Tamworth in 2007, Morgan Evans flew to Nashville where he recorded his debut single and performed on an international artist's showcase. Big Skies reached #1 on the CMC Chart and Australian Country Radio Charts and peaked at #28 on the ARIA Singles Charts.

Morgan’s current single, Hey Little Mama, comes from his latest EP, Life Upside Down, which features the hits Over For You, Over For You (Live in Melbourne) and On My Own Again. He says the songs were inspired by the emotional time in his life following "unexpected heartbreak."