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Meet Music’s New Star Hailey Knox — Who Got a Shout-Out from Meghan Trainor and Is Opening for Charlie Puth

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Last week, PEOPLE toasted its 2016 Ones to Watch class in L.A. Among the shining stars on the rise: singer-songwriter Hailey Knox.

Growing up in Carmel, New York, the up-and-comer has been singing since she was 2.

“I just loved music and grew up with it in my house,” Knox, 18, tells PEOPLE.

Fostered by her guitar-playing dad and supportive mom, Knox learned how to play guitar (the Beatles’ “Blackbird” was the first song she knew how to play) and began posting covers online in 2014.

“It actually started with my mom posting stuff on Facebook. I would just be messing around, jamming with my dad on guitar, singing along to whatever he was playing,” she says. “I kind of transitioned to YouTube because people started requesting songs.”

Seemingly overnight, her videos began to go viral and catch the eye of some producers — and Meghan Trainor!

“She tweeted out my cover of ‘Ain’t No Sunshine.’ That was awesome,” says Knox.

After signing a record deal, Knox released her witty, anthemic breakout single “Geeks” in May.

“The song was really about how I felt in high school: I didn’t fit into any group necessarily,” she says. “And just like any outsider and weirdo, that’s kind of like an empowering tune to all the weirdos — that we will inherit the earth.”

Once again, Knox nabbed some social media kudos from Trainor.

“She tweeted ‘Geeks’ out; she was like, ‘I see you!'” Knox recalls.

Most recently, she’s been on tour with MTrain’s pal Charlie Puth, opening on his We Don’t Talk Anymore Tour, on which she’s been performing tracks from her debut EP, A Little Awkward.

As for her influences, Knox cites Ed Sheeran and another star who began his musical journey on YouTube.

“I loved Justin Bieber growing up, and I thought the way he blew up on YouTube was amazing,” says the singer.