Monday night (June 4), several of the top female singers and songwriters in country music were honored in Nashville as part of “Billboard Live featuring CMT Next Women of Country,” an artist showcase featuring an all female lineup in partnership with CMT. The event included live performances from Warner Nashville artist Ashley McBryde, who performed “Rattlesnake Preacher,” “American Scandal” and “Girl Goin’ Nowhere.” Big Loud Records artist Jillian Jacqueline performed the new song “Sad Girls,” and “Tragic,” as well as “God Bless This Mess.” New Sony artist Tenille Townes offered “Where You Are,” “Jersey on The Wall” and “Somebody’s Daughter,” while SMACKSongs’ Jo Smith performed “Bobby’s Heart,” “Poster Child” and “You Up.”
Billboard’s Editorial Director Jason Lipshutz gave opening remarks before introducing CMT’s Senior VP of Music Strategy and Talent, Leslie Fram.
During the event, Jacqueline discussed sharing the stage with Kenny Rogers when she was only nine years old. “My mom was one of those parents that heard her kid singing in the back of the car and she was like that sounds kind of good. She took me to an audition when I was eight and that turned into a Broadway Show with Kenny Rogers in New York City and then five years of touring after that. That chance and that opportunity changed the whole course of my life.”
Townes spoke about the history behind her song “Somebody’s Daughter.” “This was inspired by a drive I took with my mom. I saw this girl holding a cardboard sign and I couldn’t shake her face from my mind and it just made me think about how everyone has a story and you never know what the person has going on in their life standing next to us.”
Meanwhile, backstage, Smith offered Townes some advice about going on a radio tour. “If you ever have food poisoning on an airplane that is ascending just give the flight attendant the look that says, ‘I have to go to the bathroom now and you can!’ They will let you up even though you’re supposed to stay seated.”
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