‘MusicRow’ Announces 2016 Rising Women On The Row Honorees


[Updated March 9, 2016: Ali Harnell, Senior Vice President at AEG Live, has been announced as the featured speaker. In addition, Capitol Records Nashville artist Mickey Guyton will give a special performance.]

Originally published: March 3, 2016

MusicRow is proud to reveal the honorees of the fifth annual Rising Women on the Row celebration.

The premier breakfast event, saluting women in the Nashville music industry, will be held Friday, April 8, at 8:30 a.m. at the Omni Nashville Hotel.

City National Bank is again the presenting sponsor.

Tickets for the 2016 event are sold out. With any Rising Women on the Row inquiries, please contact Eric at [email protected].

Abbey Adams

Abbey Adams

Abbey Adams
Senior Creative Director, A&R – Sony/ATV Music Publishing

Since joining Nashville’s music business community, Abbey Adams has worked with some of the strongest and most diverse writer rosters and catalogs in Nashville. In her 10 years at Sony/ATV Music Publishing, she has pitched and placed numerous hits and had cuts with such artists as Keith Urban (including “You Gonna Fly” and “Raise ‘Em Up”), Billy Currington (“Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right”), Tim McGraw, Dierks Bentley, Jake Owen, Ronnie Dunn, Lady Antebellum, and Martina McBride. She has placed songs in Grey’s Anatomy, ABC’s Nashville and the Sony film Country Strong.

She works closely with songwriters like Jaren Johnston, Joey Hyde, Casey Beathard, Brad Rempel, and more. She manages songwriter calendars, arranges creative collaborations for songwriters and pitches, and works closely with New York and Los Angeles offices for sync opportunities.

In 2015, with friend and 2013 Rising Women on the Row honoree Beth Laird, Adams co-founded Nurturing Outstanding Women (NOW), a mentoring organization for women in Nashville’s music business. NOW is select and strategic in creating opportunities for women to learn and broaden leadership skills and foster support among women in the business.

Amanda Cates

Amanda Cates

Amanda Cates
Head of Marketing and Digital Strategy – Maverick Nashville

Amanda Cates oversees all artist online, e-commerce, mobile, social, fan engagement, new business development and marketing initiatives for Maverick Nashville’s roster of high-profile country music clients.

A North Carolina native, Cates attended Appalachian State University where she earned a degree in Music Industry Studies majoring in Music Business with minors in Business and Computer Information Systems.

She began her career 14 years ago in Raleigh, N.C., for an artist management firm, then made her way to a Seattle-based, venture-funded mobile entertainment startup before heading to Nashville as a digital marketing consultant in artist management, most recently landing at Maverick management where she has been since 2009.

She is a board advisor to start-up companies Jammber and Ear.IQ, a member of the Academy of Country Music, the Country Music Association, a co-founder of the Digital Divas Nashville networking organization, and 2015’s Platinum Mentor Award recipient for the Nashville Entrepreneur Center’s Project Music accelerator program.

Cris Lacy

Cris Lacy

Cris Lacy
VP, A&R – Warner Music Nashville

Cris Lacy, originally from Chesapeake, Virginia grew up immersed in country music, with many of her favorite memories center around singing with her mother and grandfather on their front porch. For as long as she can remember, she wanted to move to Nashville.

Upon graduation, Lacy did just that. Enrolling in Vanderbilt University, she interned at various record labels and publishing companies, while waiting tables at live music bars in town. She graduated from Vanderbilt with a degree in English, and a minor in Communication and went to work for Tom Collins Music publishing. Over the next ten years, Lacy would gain employment with Rick Hall/Fame Publishing, Island Bound Publishing, and Warner/Chappell Publishing as a songplugger.

In 2005, Lacy accepted a position at Warner Music Nashville in the A&R dept. She now serves as Vice President in that department, signing and/or overseeing the projects of Cole Swindell, Frankie Ballard, Chris Janson, Charlie Worsham, William Michael Morgan, High Valley, Walker County, Kenny Rogers, Randy Travis, and Big Smo, as well as finding songs for the rest of the roster, including Blake Shelton, Jana Kramer, Hunter Hayes, Brett Eldredge and others.

Community service involvement includes YWCA Domestic Violence Shelter and Help Line, as well as Music City Tres Divas. She has twice traveled to Washington, D.C., to join a contingency from the RIAA speaking to female legislators about women in music. She is a 2016 member of Leadership Music.

Leslie Roberts

Leslie Roberts

Leslie Roberts
Executive Director, Writer/Publisher Relations – BMI

Leslie Roberts is responsible for signing and developing new talent and also supporting BMI’s extensive family of songwriters and publishers, focusing on, but not limited to, both country and Christian genres. Taylor Swift, Hillary Scott and Thomas Rhett are just a few of the artists she has worked with throughout her career.

She assists BMI songwriters with creative and administrative tasks and helps coordinate showcases, seminars and other events in BMI’s stacked calendar, including planning and hosting the BMI Christian Awards. She is also involved with college programs and outreach such as Catalog Cast, oversight of record company rosters and representing BMI within the AIMP. Roberts organizes networking events for the music business community, including the “Next Big Wave” songwriter event and the Young Music Business Professionals breakfast.

Roberts worked for five years with Sony BMG in Nashville, where she was Manager, A&R. She was also a songplugger for three years with Music City-based Mighty Isis Music. She has served on the NARAS Board of Directors and is currently on the board of the Gospel Music Association. The native Nashvillian also serves on the Cumberland Heights board, where she was honored with the Sheila Keeble Award, for women who have made a difference in the recovery community, and the Nashville Humane Association, where she earned the Julia Colton Award, recognizing lifetime dedication and commitment to homeless animals, and the Blake McMeans Foundation.

Risha Rodgers

Risha Rodgers

Risha Rodgers
Partner – WME

In her role at WME, Risha Rodgers oversees the daily touring, television, literary and sponsorship opportunities for artists including Lee Brice, Tyler Farr, Maddie & Tae, Miranda Lambert, The Swon Brothers, Neal McCoy, Mark Chesnutt, Brett Young, Tara Thompson and many more. Additionally, she works across the WME Nashville Roster booking concerts in arenas, amphitheaters, theaters, PACS and casinos in the Midwest. As the first female partner in WME’s Nashville office, Rodgers continues to break through glass ceilings and pave the way for her fellow female colleagues.

Rodgers devotes her time to both the WME Foundation and Hands on Nashville, and through her clients she has been granted the opportunity to get involved in military-related incentives such as the Wounded Warrior Project. In addition to her philanthropic work, Rodgers is also a member of CMA, ACM, and IEBA.

Rodgers considers her greatest accomplishment to be balancing a family and career as she raises her 17-year-old son.


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Category: Awards, Featured

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Craig Shelburne is the General Manager at MusicRow.

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