Every week at PopCrush, we’re putting the spotlight on one up-and-coming act you need to know about. Why? So you can get on board early before everyone else and their mother jumps on the bandwagon…and so you can be that one friend in the group who’s always like, “Um, actually, I prefer their earlier work.”

Reject the notion that Nashville-based artists tour only around honky-tonk bars — Julia Knight's not the type to sport spurs.

Knight, who earned her sea legs crafting country tunes for other artists, moved to embrace her dreamier, less showy side with her "Ghost of You" debut. Immediately after the single's September release, the song charted on Hype Machine, worked its way into Spotify's New Music Friday playlist and stupefied subscribers with a pleasant haze you might otherwise find somewhere along a hypnosis symposium. The song is a pop-constellation, and Knight's voice drifts across like a beautifully pliable nebula.

"I can still feel your stare tonight / Wishing you would hold me tight / I'll pack my bags for the daylight / I thought I would find you," Knight croons with the husky resting timber of Demi LovatoAlessia Cara's sharp, precise technique and coolness you'd otherwise find on Carly Rae Jepsen's E·MO·TION.

Knight, who cites Kevin Garrett, Oh Wonder and Sylvan Esso among her contemporary inspirations, said she's simply aiming to stay honest as she takes her next steps into the industry. She first started learning guitar at 12, and by only recently renouncing pressures to record bluegrass, she's already cleared a towering hurdle, she told PopCrush. 

"Being in Nashville, people always tell you you can only do country, but after a few years of developing who I was as an artist, I realized I have so much more to offer with my creativity and that, really, the sky is the limit," she said. "It’s all about writing and really digging into what I want to say as an artist. If those vibes keep me in the same soundscape as 'Ghost of You,' so be it. But for now, I’m focusing on writing as much as possible, and whenever the music feels like authentic me, I’ll know I hit something special."

Keep up with Knight on Twitter, find performance dates on her Facebook page and stay up-to-date with her latest tracks on SoundCloud.

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