Raina Douris

World Cafe has been on the air for 30 years this year. To celebrate, every week for the next 30 weeks, you can join us while we look back into the archives. But let's be clear: World Cafe has no plans to slow down... so we also want to look forward to the future of music – with our 30 Under 30 list. We've chosen 30 artists who are 30 years old or younger, who we believe are poised to be the next generation of World Cafe stars. Each week, we'll reveal one of the artists on that list.


Life in 2020 was a big adjustment, no matter who you are or where you were. It might have meant working from home, missing friends and family. For Lukas Nelson, it meant not being on the road for the first time in his life.

Warmth. That's the word that keeps popping up when I try to decide how to describe Brandi Carlile. Warmth is what she treats you with in conversation, always ready with a laugh, a thoughtful answer or a curious question.

Mickey Guyton is power personified. Equipped with a big voice and an even bigger message, Guyton represents a new generation of women making music in Nashville. Regardless of whether or not her music gets airplay on mainstream country radio, she makes country music to share her truth.

Matthew E. White co-founded Spacebomb Group, a music company based out of Richmond, Va., where he's given himself the chance to produce albums for artists like Natalie Prass. But White also makes music of his own.

On A Southern Gothic, her third full-length album, Adia Victoria emerges as a songwriter capable of nuance and atmosphere. Throughout the record, she explores her relationship to the South — where she was born and where she still resides — and the South's relationship with her as a Black woman.

Today's World Cafe session might inspire you to go back and read the journals you wrote as a kid. It's what started Lucy Dacus on the road to her latest album, Home Video. It's a collection of personal moments from the singer-songwriter's life, translated into song by way of her vulnerable, honest lyricism.

"Ladies and gentlemen, rock 'n' roll."

Those were the words spoken by Warner Cable executive John Lack on Aug. 1, 1981, at 12:01 am when MTV — Music Television — went on air for the very first time. It was accompanied by the image of an astronaut, modeled after Neil Armstrong, and an MTV flag planted on the moon's surface. Comparing the station to the moon landing may have come off as hubristic at the time, but MTV would go on to change pop music and its impact on popular culture forever.

Domino Recording Co Ltd / YouTube

The worst thing you can do when trying to be "cool" is try too hard. You can't get too excited about things.

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