Buildings in Downtown Nashville.

Don’t have a significant other or tales of abounding academic success to bring home for winter break this year? Fret not—what you may lack in a love interest, all As, or impressive internship opportunities you can make up for with this music by local artists that are so wonderful, the fact that these musicians hail from the city we go to school is a flex in itself. Regardless of where you are spending your break, these songs for music lovers of all genres will let you take Nashville home with you for the holidays.

“Your World” – Annika Bennett

Evoking sounds like that of Chelsea Cutler or Lennon Stella, Annika Bennet’s “Your World” is rife with lilting musicality and the melding of playful pop with gentle alternative introspection. It’s airy, it’s artful, and it’s amazing! Stream it and #support #local #music.

“Talking to Myself” – Gatlin

Akin to Bennett, Gatlin’s dynamic sound, inviting lyrics and sparkling beats can turn even the most decrepit of childhood bedrooms into the ideal destination for your next dance party. This track is a certified indie pop BOP and an essential for your winter break playlist. 

“Just Wanna Be Your Friend” – Ben Kessler

Talented artist and Vanderbilt alum Ben Kessler’s music is threaded with smooth instrumentation and flowing harmonies. Kessler crafts his songs with emotive verses, a tender falsetto and clever fusion of soul and bedroom pop elements, culminating in pieces that are welcomingly familiar yet curiously alluring. If you enjoy the likes of Jeremy Zucker, Alexander 23, ROLE MODEL, etc. and/or the potential for a cheeky “tHis ArTist wEnT tO mY aLmA mAtEr” humble-brag, check out this song and all his others!

“West End” – Taylor Noelle

This lovesick song denotes the experience of being intoxicated with affection (and maybe some other things, too.) Regardless of whether or not you can relate to the titular notion of being “wasted on West End,” Taylor Noelle’s woozy pop, infused with velvety vocals and traces of R&B, should definitely be on your local music radar.

“Overthinkin’” – Carly Bannister

This tune by skillful singer-songwriter Carly Bannister glimmers with possibility and feels like the thrill of butterflies in your stomach. If having a crush (and the rumination that ensues) had a sound, this would be it! Born and raised in Nashville, Bannister’s discography is soft, warm, and refreshing, making it perfect for all your cafe-studying or crush-daydreaming needs.

“This City” – Juliet Sunflower

A stark departure from the buoyant beats above, fans of Adrianne Lenker, Big Thief, or Gia Margaret will love Juliet Sunflower’s most recent release. A bittersweet ballad paying homage to Nashville itself, “This City” is woven with references to Gallatin Avenue, Green Hills, and weekend ventures to Chattanooga. Sunflower’s vividly poetic and honest lyricality perfectly encapsulates the sometimes captivating, sometimes disenchanting experience of a love affair with Music City.

“Like I Do” – Molly Martin

Bassist and brilliant artist Molly Martin is badass and so is this song. Her bluntly truthful yet precociously playful indie rock is reminiscent of boygenius or Soccer Mommy, and suffice it to say, Nashville is lucky to have her musical magic.

“Buzz” – Maddie Medley

This track by Franklin native Maddie Medley starts with delicate vocals, a lulling beat, and dreamy strings that build into rhapsodic lyricism and mounting rhythms. If you plan on driving through your hometown like the protagonist of an A24 movie as I do this winter, this song is the quintessential, main character complex-inducing addition to your soundtrack.

“Colorado (The First Time)” – Daniel Nunnelee

To complete this compilation without something folksy would be to neglect an integral part of Nashville music culture, but fortunately for us, Daniel Nunnelee’s alternative folk brims with intricate layers of cascading harmonies and rich acoustics to satisfy any crunchy-granola-mountain-music needs. His entire oeuvre, this song in particular, sounds like denim overalls and cigarette smoke and pour-over coffee and ultimately the best homely autumnal VIBES. Nunnelee’s creations juxtapose quiet sounds with strident verses, serving as gentle vessels for bold thoughts that can be felt and enjoyed by all this winter.

You can stream all of these local songs (and a few others) from one place in the playlist below! Happy holidays, y’all.