CMT’s Next Women of Country Grows With Nine New Additions

Kelsea Ballerini Receives 2017 Impact Award

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, TN - NOVEMBER 07:  Hosts Senior Vice President of Music Strategy for CMT Leslie Fram (L) and Raelynn (R) speak onstage during the 2017 CMT Next Women Of Country Celebration at City Winery Nashville on November 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT) Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT

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.

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 07:  (Back Row L-R) Songwriter Erin Enderlin, singer-songwriters Bailey Bryan, Hannah Ellis, Hosts Senior Vice President of Music Strategy for CMT Leslie Fram, singer-songwriters Kassi Ashton and Jo Smith (Front Row L-R), Abby Anderson, Kalie Shorr, Alyssa Bonagura and Ruby Stewart of The Sisterhood Band and Ashley McBryde take photos during the 2017 CMT Next Women Of Country Celebration at City Winery Nashville on November 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT) Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT

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).

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 07:  (L-R) Singer-songwriters Kalie Shorr, Kelleigh Bannen and Lindsay Ell perform onstage during the 2017 CMT Next Women Of Country Celebration at City Winery Nashville on November 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT) Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT

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).

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 07:  Kelsea Ballerini is presented the Impact Award from songwriter Nicolle Galyon and Senior Vice President of Music Strategy for CMT Leslie Fram during the 2017 CMT Next Women Of Country Celebration at City Winery Nashville on November 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT)

The CMT franchise has been a launching pad for several of today’s superstars and Grammy winners. Brandy Clark, Kacey Musgraves and Maren Morris are among the talented alumnae of the program.

To join the conversation, follow along on social media using #CMTNextWomen.

Check out some of the photo highlights from Tuesday afternoon:

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 07:  2017 CMT Next Women Of Country Celebration at City Winery Nashville on November 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT) Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT

Danielle Bradbery and Lindsay Ell

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 07:  Singer-songwriters Danielle Bradbery and Lindsay Ell attend the 2017 CMT Next Women Of Country Celebration at City Winery Nashville on November 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT) Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT

Erin Enderlin and Natalie Stovall

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 07: Songwriter Erin Enderlin (L) and singer-songwriter Natalie Stovall (R) take photos before the 2017 CMT Next Women Of Country Celebration at City Winery Nashville on November 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT) Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT

Abby Anderson and RaeLynn

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 07: Singer-songwriter Abby Anderson (L) and co-host RaeLynn (R) take photos before the 2017 CMT Next Women Of Country Celebration at City Winery Nashville on November 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT) Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT

Danielle Bradbery and Tara Thompson

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 07:  Singer-songwrtiers Danielle Bradbery and Tara Thompson take a selfie before the 2017 CMT Next Women Of Country Celebration at City Winery Nashville on November 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT) Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT

The Sisterhood’s Ruby Stewart and Alyssa Bonagura

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 07: Ruby Stewart and Alyssa Bonagura of The Sisterhood Band speak during an interview before the 2017 CMT Next Women Of Country Celebration at City Winery Nashville on November 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT) Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT

Lindsay Ell, Runaway June’s Hannah Mulholland and Jennifer Wayne; Jillian Jacqueline and Runaway June’s Naomi Cooke

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 07: (L-R) Singer-songwriter Lindsay Ell, Hannah Mulholland and Jennifer Wayne of Country Trio Runaway June, singer-songwriter Jillian Jacqueline Naomi Cooke of Country Trio Runaway June 2017 CMT Next Women Of Country Celebration at City Winery Nashville on November 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT) Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT

Bailey Bryan

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 07:  Singer-songwriter Bailey Bryan performs onstage during the 2017 CMT Next Women Of Country Celebration at City Winery Nashville on November 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT) Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT

Natalie Stovall and Ashley McBryde

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 07: Singer-songwriters Natalie Stovall and Ashley McBryde perform onstage during the 2017 CMT Next Women Of Country Celebration at City Winery Nashville on November 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT) Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT

Hannah Ellis

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 07:  Singer-songwriter Hannah Ellis performs onstage during the 2017 CMT Next Women Of Country Celebration at City Winery Nashville on November 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT) Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT

Danielle Bradbery

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 07:  Singer-songwriter Danielle Bradbery performs onstage at the 2017 CMT Next Women Of Country Celebration at City Winery Nashville on November 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT) Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT

Post Monroe

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 07:  Singer-songwriters Ashlee Hewitt (L) and Whitney Duncan (R) of musical group Post Monroe perform onstage duriing the 2017 CMT Next Women Of Country Celebration at City Winery Nashville on November 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT) Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT


Kassi Ashton

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 07:  Singer-songwriter Kassi Ashton performs onstage during the 2017 CMT Next Women Of Country Celebration at City Winery Nashville on November 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT) Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT

Ashley McBryde

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 07:  Singer-songwriter Ashley McBryde performs onstage during the 2017 CMT Next Women Of Country Celebration at City Winery Nashville on November 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT)

Natalie Stovall

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 07:  Singer-songwriter Natalie Stovall performs onstage during the 2017 CMT Next Women Of Country Celebration at City Winery Nashville on November 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT) Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT
Lauren Tingle is a Tennessean and storyteller who eats music for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When she’s not writing or rocking out, she enjoys yoga and getting lost in the great outdoors.