Next Women of Country, the group that was first launched by CMT as a campaign in 2013 is continuously growing by adding more female artists—both signed and unsigned. The aim of the campaign is to represent and help put emphasis on undiscovered female artists in the male-dominated format of discovering new acts that fans will support and appreciate. In 2015 and 2016, CMT expanded the said franchise to make way for two female-studded tours. The tours featured singers Jennifer Nettles, Kelsea Ballerini, Jana Kramer, Lindsay Ell, Tara Thompson, and Brandy Clark.
Thanks to the franchise’s initiative, many of its alumnae have achieved notable critical and commercial acclaim.
Now celebrating its 5th anniversary on November 7, Next Women of Country chose City Winery as the event’s venue, with CMT senior vice president of music strategy and talent Leslie Fram and alumna RaeLynn as co-hosts.
Kick-starting the show were Linsday Ell, Kelleigh Bannen, and Shorr, who delighted the audience with an unexpected take on Taylor Swift’s latest track, Look What You Made Me Do. Some of Next Women’s talented line-up of singers took turns for their solo performances that featured their original songs, unique stories, and songwriting prowess. Some of these singers include Runaway June, Post Monroe, Natalie Stovall, Danielle Bradbery, Jillian Jacqueline, and Carly Pearce.
During the celebration, 9 new members—all of which are rising signed and unsigned singers—were also welcomed warmly into the highly respected program. Ashley McBryde, Abby Anderson, Erin Enderlin, Bailey Bryan, Jo Smith, Hannah Ellis, Kassi Ashton, The Sisterhood, and Kalie Shorr were the brand new additions. Meanwhile, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry was also present during the event to present and announce the Next Women’s new batch of singers.
Other notable performances and moments during the annual celebration include Nicolle Galyon, mentor, and hitmaker for the 2018 class, surprising alumna Kelsea Ballerini by honoring her accomplishments in the industry through presenting the CMT Next Women of Country’s Impact Award. Ballerini is just among the female country artists who have gained immense success thanks to the guidance and support of the program. She has had three number 1 hits on the Airplay chart of Billboard Country, been nominated in 2016 for the best new artist at the 59th annual Grammy Awards, won the 2016 CMT Artists of the Year’s breakthrough award, and even had The First Time, her debut album, go gold.
With a successful annual celebration, both the fans and members of the program are looking forward to more fruitful years to come.
Brandy Clark, Jana Kramer, Jennifer Nettles, Kelsea Ballerini, Lindsay Ell, Next Women of Country, Tara Thompson
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