CMT CELEBRATES THE "NEXT WOMEN OF COUNTRY" AT SECOND ANNUAL STAR-STUDDED EVENT TODAY
Four Additional Women Added to Franchise: Kelsea Ballerini,
Mickey Guyton, Maddie & Tae and RaeLynn
Jewel Announced as Mentor to CMT's "Next Women"
NASHVILLE - November 4, 2014 - For the second year in a row, CMT gathered today to celebrate the rising female artists in country music at Nashville's recently-opened City Winery. Co-hosted by CMT's SVP of Music Strategy Leslie Fram and country music powerhouse Lee Ann Womack, the event brought together artists and industry dignitaries to pay homage to the new generation of signed and unsigned female artists making an impact on country music. CMT announced it will continue to expand its NEXT WOMEN OF COUNTRY franchise, adding four new females to the list: Kelsea Ballerini, Mickey Guyton, Maddie & Tae and RaeLynn. In a newly-announced role as mentor, singer/songwriter Jewel took the stage and pledged her support in a heartfelt speech, imploring female artists to take chances and feel as important as their male counterparts.
"Our mission remains as critical as ever now in our second year of NEXT WOMEN," said Leslie Fram, SVP of Music Strategy, CMT. "As champions of music, we have to ensure these incredible female voices are heard. It's time for a change in the male-dominated format, and CMT is proud to celebrate and empower the female voices that are making an indelible mark in country music."
Singer-songwriter Gavin DeGraw surprised the crowd by introducing co-hosts Fram and Womack. Guests of the event were treated to acoustic performances by nine of CMT's NEXT WOMEN, including: Ballerini, Kelleigh Bannen, Lindsay Ell, Guyton, Jana Kramer, Maddie & Tae, Angaleena Presley, RaeLynn and Natalie Stovall. Among the industry guests in attendance were: George Briner, SVP of promotion for The Valory Music Co.; Mike Dungan, chairman & CEO of Universal Music Nashville; John Esposito, president & CEO of Warner Music Nashville; Gordon S. Kerr, CEO of Black River Entertainment; Chris Loss, VP of promotion for Stoney Creek Records; Shane McAnally, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter; Chris Stacey, general manager of Dot Records; and Brian Thomas, corporate program director at Cumulus and program director of NASH FM/New York.
CMT's NEXT WOMEN OF COUNTRY franchise showcases signed and unsigned female artists across CMT platforms and at NextWomen.CMT.com. Since its launch in January 2013, several alumnae - Brandy Clark, Ashley Monroe, Kacey Musgraves and Cassadee Pope - found success ranging from commercial to critical acclaim. With the newest additions, the network has named 25 major label, indie label and unsigned female artists to its NEXT WOMEN list.
For more on the latest rising female stars in country music, visit NextWomen.CMT.com. Here, fans can find exclusive content from the NEXT WOMEN artists, including video premieres, exclusive performances and more. Join the conversation using #NextWomen on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
About Kelsea Ballerini:
Hailing from Knoxville, Tenn., singer/songwriter Kelsea Ballerini moved to Nashville at age 15 to chase the dream of becoming a songwriter. At age 19, she signed a publishing deal with Black River Publishing in 2013. Later that year, Ballerini signed a record deal with Black River Entertainment and her self-titled EP featuring the debut single "Love Me Like You Mean It" is set to be digitally released on Nov. 24. Follow Ballerini on Twitter or visit http://www.kelseaballerini.com/.
About Mickey Guyton:
Texas-born Mickey Guyton released her acoustic EP, Unbreakable, in conjunction with her iTunes Festival performance in Austin, Texas, last March. The Capitol Records Nashville artist is currently putting the finishing touches on her debut album with producers Nathan Chapman (Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum) and Dann Huff (Faith Hill, Keith Urban, The Band Perry). Guyton's debut single is the powerful "Better Than You Left Me" which she co-wrote with Nathan Chapman, Jennifer Hanson and Jenn Schott. Follow Guyton on Twitter or visit www.mickeyguyton.com.
About Maddie & Tae:
Maddie & Tae are making waves nationwide with their debut single "Girl in A Country Song," which recently climbed into the top 10 at Ccountry radio. The accompanying video amassed more than 11 million views on Vevo, and Rolling Stone named the pair to its "10 New Artists You Need to Know." Maddie & Tae made their national television debut on "Today" and most recently appeared on the "Late Show with David Letterman." "The Darlings of Nashville," as dubbed by "Today's" Hoda Kotb, will spread their fresh perspectives - and songwriting skills - this fall as they promote the release of Maddie & Tae EP out today. Critics from The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The New Yorker and Entertainment Weekly to NPR have already commended the pair for delivering a new spin to airwaves. The duo recently made their Grand Ole Opry debut, earning kudos from Opry member Brad Paisley. Maddie & Tae penned several tracks on their forthcoming EP. Get to know Maddie & Tae on Twitter or visit MaddieAndTae.com.
Trading in her once-signature flouncy skirts from the national spotlight during a lengthy run on The Voice (season two), 20-year-old Raelynn is showcasing sophistication in more than just her style. The singer-songwriter has penned a diverse catalog of songs including "Love Triangle" and her empowering debut single, "God Made Girls." The songstress spearheaded the whimsical vision for the music video, which has already garnered more than 3.5 million views. With the highest charting debut single by a solo female artist in 2014, the spunky 20-year-old was recently tapped as the first female iHeart Media On the Verge Artist, showcasing artists that have the potential to break out of the pack with a great song. The social media maven has garnered a plethora of fans with her connection while traveling nationwide on a well-received radio tour. RaeLynn's mentors have also been a constant support, with Blake Shelton featuring her on "Buzzin'" from his new album and Miranda Lambert offering her a coveted slot on the Certified Platinum Tour in 2015. Follow RaeLynn on Twitter or visit http://www.raelynnofficial.net/.
CMT, a unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), is the leading television and digital authority on country music and entertainment, reaching more than 92 million homes in the U.S. CMT and its website, CMT.com, offer an unparalleled mix of music, news, live concerts and series and is the top resource for country music on demand. The network's digital platforms include the 24-hour music channel, CMT Pure Country, CMT Mobile and CMT VOD.