Tuesday’s (Nov. 7) fifth annual Next Women of Country celebration at Nashville’s City Winery was the place to be during a hectic CMA Awards week 2017. Alumna RaeLynn and CMT senior vice president of music strategy and talent Leslie Fram co-hosted the event, which welcomed nine rising signed and unsigned artists into the prestigious program.
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry was also on-hand to announce CMT’s Next Women class of 2018.
The new members are Abby Anderson, Ashley McBryde, Bailey Bryan, Erin Enderlin, Hannah Ellis, Jo Smith, Kalie Shorr, Kassi Ashton and The Sisterhood.
Anderson, Ashton, Bryan, Ellis, McBryde, Carly Pearce, Danielle Bradbery, Jillian Jacqueline, Natalie Stovall, Post Monroe and Runaway June each entertained the packed audience with their original songs and stories during an intimate writers round concert.
Shorr, Kelleigh Bannen and Lindsay Ell kicked off the show with a surprise cover of Taylor Swift’s newest hit “Look What You Made Me Do,” from Reputation (out Nov. 10).
Hitmaker and mentor for the 2018 class, Nicolle Galyon, surprised alumna Kelsea Ballerini with CMT Next Women of Country’s Impact Award for her numerous accomplishments in music. Since joining the program in 2014, Ballerini has charted three No. 1s on Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart, her debut album The First Time has gone gold, and she was nominated for best new artist at the 59th annual Grammy Awards in 2016. She also co-headlined the first Next Women of Country Tour in 2015 with Jana Kramer, and she received the breakthrough award at the 2016 CMT Artists of the Year show. Her sophomore album Unapologetically was released on Friday (Nov. 3).
To join the conversation, follow along on social media using #CMTNextWomen.
Check out some of the photo highlights from Tuesday afternoon:
Danielle Bradbery and Lindsay Ell
Erin Enderlin and Natalie Stovall
Abby Anderson and RaeLynn
Danielle Bradbery and Tara Thompson
The Sisterhood’s Ruby Stewart and Alyssa Bonagura
Lindsay Ell, Runaway June’s Hannah Mulholland and Jennifer Wayne; Jillian Jacqueline and Runaway June’s Naomi Cooke
Natalie Stovall and Ashley McBryde