CMT’s #NextWomen Of Country Inducts Nine For 2018 During Brunch Soirée

Artists and songwriters attend CMT’s 5th Annual Next Women Of Country Event. [CLICK TO ENLARGE]

Photos: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT

CMT’s Sr. VP of Music Strategy Leslie Fram welcomed a packed house to the fifth annual Next Women of Country brunch at City Winery on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

With co-host Raelynn, the fairy godmother (as Fram was referred to as) announced 11 performances, introduced Nashville’s first female Mayor Megan Barry who announced the class of nine Next Women of Country inductees, welcomed 2018 Next Women mentor Nicolle Galyon and gave the CMT Impact Award to Kelsea Ballerini.

Among the new class were performers was the a potent delivery of sass, sarcastic and swag from new UMG recording artist Kassi Ashton (“Taxidermy”) and the mesmerizing Warner storyteller who earned the only standing ovation, Ashley McBryde (“Girl Goin’ Nowhere”). A grateful Warner Music Nashville artist Bailey Bryan (“Trying To Find My Way”) was also inducted alongside Black River Record’s bluesy Abby Anderson (“With The Radio On”), raw songwriter for Word Country Hannah Ellis (“Never In Love”), and CMT’s discovery artist Kalie Shorr who performed a cover of Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” with Lindsey Ell (Class of 2014) and Kelleigh Bannen (class of 2013) to kick off the event.

Additional non-performing 2018 inductees included indie Erin Enderlin, whose album Whiskeytown Crier released in September. Sony’s The Sisterhood (Ruby Stewart & Alyssa Bonagura) were also present as inductees, as was SMACK Records’ Jo Smith.

CMT’s Next Women of Country 2018 inductees with Mayor Megan Barry

CMT’s Next Women of Country 2018 inductees with Leslie Fram

“Can you believe it’s been five years,” exclaimed a deservingly proud Fram. “Next February we will start our fourth Next Women of Country tour, plus our digital series and of course so much more. We couldn’t have done it without every single person in this room, the CMT staff, and the artists.”

The first songwriter round included six performers, including McBryde and Ellis.

2014 inductee Danielle Bradbery previewed “Worth It,” a track from her I Don’t Believe We’ve Met project, due out in December. 2017 inductees Monroe (Whitney Duncan, Ashlee Hewitt & Shelby McLeod) performed a new song “Coke and Rum” while Jillian Jaqueline promoted her latest single, “God Bless This Mess.” The Voice contestant Natalie Stovall, urged the audience to continue watching her TV program because she’ll be able to release new music after the season, including “Wine Or Whiskey,” a song she performed at the afternoon event.

Nicolle Galyon

Mayor Megan Barry

RaeLynn introduced mentor Galyon, who gave a short speech for her 2018 responsibility, which include meeting with the songwriter and artist class of 2018 to offer advice.

“I’m a mentor because I’m the oldest one here,” joked Galyon. “Most everything I know about being a woman in the music business is simply by watching other women in the music business. I learned from Natalie Hemby that the end of a record/publishing deal is usually the beginning of something better for you. I learned from Jessi Alexander the year you have a baby could possibly be the biggest year of your career. I learned from Lori McKenna that how you treat people in this town will be your greatest success. Being a mentor to me feels more like being a bridge between those women.”

Pictured (L-R): Nicolle Galyon, Kelsea Ballerini, Leslie Fram

A surprised Ballerini was presented with the CMT Impact Award for a female artist who has unapologetically impacted songwriting, recording, radio airplay, record sales, media impressions and touring in county music over the past year.

“They told me I was presenting Leslie [Fram] an award,” exclaimed Ballerini, who will be up for CMA Female vocalist the next evening, and was the recipient of ASCAP’s Vanguard award the previous night. “I’m just stoked to be a chick in country music right now. It’s the best time.”

The event concluded with the final songwriter round of five performers, including Anderson, Ashton and Bryan.

The round also spotlighted Carly Pearce (“Every Little Thing”) a 2017 inductee whose current Gold-certified single is at No. 3 and the debut BMLG album hit the sales charts last month at No. 4. Pearce’s 2017 classmates Runaway June (“Wild West”) concluded the round, and event. A music video for “Wild West” will debut on CMT this Saturday (Nov. 11). Lauren Alaina, whose movie Road Less Traveled premieres Friday (Nov 10) on CMT, was also in attendance.


Powered by Facebook Comments

Follow MusicRow on Twitter

Category: Artist, Featured

About the Author

Eric T. Parker oversees operations and contributes editorial for MusicRow's print magazine,, the RowFax tip sheet and the MusicRow CountryBreakout chart. He also facilitates annual events for the enterprise, including MusicRow Awards, CountryBreakout Awards and the Rising Women on the Row. [email protected] | @EricTParker

View Author Profile