Redemption over sweeping strings, childlike wisdom, the anxiety that comes with a new relationship and living the sweet life … they’re all part of the new releases by the latest round of artists joining CMT’s Artist Discovery program.
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
Inspired by a major record deal gone sour, Williams’ “Dreamcatcher” is a stunning performance that touches on essential life themes that rarely get the spotlight in today’s country music. “It was my first deal, and it felt like such a dream come true,” Williams tells CMT.com. “I thought it was my big break, only to find out that the label expected me to become someone completely different than who I really was … Writing it was a therapeutic and cathartic experience for me.” Williams has since signed to a new record label that encourages her to be her truest self. “’Dreamcatcher’ is ultimately about hopes, dreams, disappointment, and redemption — emotions we’ve all experienced. Striving to have that effect on other people, and make that connection, is part of the joy that I feel in making music.” The video was shot in Marfa, Texas, and the song is from Williams’ album, Boomerang.
Gurney co-wrote “Fairytale Dress” with Erin Ashley O’Keefe. “I had a rough idea about writing a song from a child’s perspective who innocently walks through life and is blind to a lot of the negativity we see as adults,” Gurney tells CMT.com. “Erin showed up to the writing session with a line about proving, ‘There’s still love left.’ We actually started writing a totally different song until we stumbled across the idea of making the image of the fairytale dress the focal point. Then we knew we had something. After that, it just poured out.” The video was filmed by Austin Peckham at the East Ivy Mansion in Nashville, Tenn. with director Chase Lauer.
Hometown: Sydney, Australia
Karmen considers all songwriting subjects fair game, but the nerves that come with a new relationship take center stage in “Nightmare,” an original she co-wrote with Scott Stepakoff and Femke. “Sometimes you worry for no reason because everything works out in the end,” Karmen tells CMT.com. “Nightmare” is the first release from an upcoming collection. “I like to think I don’t water anything down in a lyric. Sometimes I just hope the person I wrote it about won’t hear it because they will know it’s about them right away.”
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
Calhoun speaks the truth in “What a Life.” Anyone involved in music in Nashville that goes out for music and the local night scene is technically at work, making it one of the greatest gigs in the world. “I always try to write from a place of honesty,” Calhoun tells CMT.com. “If you’ve ever gone out on the town in Nashville, you know that stopping by a bar to hang with friends for one drink is never the case. Going to Tin Roof turned into Red Door, Losers, Winners and then well, it can get a little foggy. I was actually out with my friend who I was writing with the next morning. So when I got to his studio, we started recapping the night before. The phrase ‘what a life’ came out and the rest is history, so they say.” “What a Life” is the third release from a forthcoming collection. The official video was filmed at the Tin Dog Tavern where the video for Jason Aldean’s “Any ‘Ol Barstool” was shot.