Opry Entertainment Group and the Grand Ole Opry announced today (June 1) the return of Opry NextStage, a platform created to invest in the discovery and development of new artists.
Opry NextStage initially launched in 2019 with Riley Green, Tegan Marie, Tenille Townes and Travis Denning. The program includes live performances, strategic marketing support and short-form documentary-style storytelling created by Opry Entertainment’s award-winning content team for each selected artist.
This year’s reimagined Opry NextStage will feature one up-and-coming artist per month. It kicks off with Iowa-born, Nashville-based rising country artist Hailey Whitters as the inaugural artist for 2021.
The news was shared today by Whitters who joined Opry’s Director of Artist Relations & Programming Strategy, Jordan Pettit; VP and Executive Producer of the Grand Ole Opry, Dan Rogers; and President of Opry Entertainment Group, Scott Bailey for a virtual panel moderated by singer-songwriter and Runaway June member Natalie Stovall.
“The Grand Ole Opry is a holy place to me. Its story and circle are something I’ve dreamt of being a part of ever since I was a little girl,” says Whitters. “To be named an Opry NextStage Artist is an honor and comes at a time in my career where their investment in my career makes a difference.”
“With Opry NextStage, we want to set the tone for what’s next in country music,” says Pettit. “Our goal is to invest in the next generation of performers and help share their stories with our audience not just at the Opry but across our brands including Ryman Auditorium, 650 AM WSM, Ole Red and Circle Network.
Whitters, who made her Opry debut in 2019, is set to return to the Opry this Saturday, June 5, at 8 p.m. CT. Her performance will also be included on Circle’s weekly Opry Live broadcast and livestream.
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