There is one overall theme that ties the next round of CMT Artist Discovery performers. And it’s how they express love in song. Whether it’s heartbreak or the kind of romance that lasts a lifetime, these rising artists show that love is a perennial theme that never goes out of style.
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Mignon knew she was born for a life in music at age 12 and grew up performing at opry houses and competitions in her home state of Texas. “Performing has always been second nature to me,” she tells CMT.com. “I’ve always loved the adrenaline and exhilaration while onstage in front of a crowd. To see even one person in the audience smile, dance, or sing along makes all the difference.” Co-written with Aubrey Holden and Jason Earley, her newest song “If You Ain’t There” is a shimmery pop-country anthem that shows life’s treasured experiences aren’t the same without a significant other. The official video features personal smartphone footage of travels with Mignon’s S.O. in real life with clips from Colorado’s Garden of the Gods and cinematic views of the Natchez Trace in Tennessee.
Hometown: Nicholasville, Ky.
Everyone who has ever had a crush on someone knows the bad habit of always checking their phone just to see if they reached out. Montgomery’s video for “Just Say When” expresses this sentiment and takes it further because the couple in the clip has a history. Cinematic views of the Nashville skyline and scenes from Montgomery’s hometown of Nicholasville, Ky. breakup the storyline. Comparatively, the main character in the lyrics dramatically compares love to an addiction that can’t be stopped. “I knew I wanted to record this song the very first time I heard it,” Montgomery tells CMT.com. “The lyrics really hit you right in the heart. It has a message that everyone can relate to because most people have been in that situation at one time or another; that feeling when you know something is bad for you, but you still can’t resist it.” “Just Say When” is the title song of an EP that arrived Friday (Oct. 19).
Hometown: Center Ridge, Ark.
“Prayed for You” cleverly uses Biblical allusion to express love for another person, and the video completely complements Stell’s vision. A couple meets while cleaning a church but there is more flirting than cleaning happening between the two. Stell co-wrote the song with Ash Bowers and Allison Veltz. “[Allison] came into the write with the title and the last part of the chorus. Ash and I added our experiences to the mix, and we ended up writing a song about a guy’s journey to finding what and who he was looking for. We were pretty excited about it from the minute we finished the work tape.” The song is the first single from a forthcoming EP.
Hometown: Albuquerque, N.M.
The moment when you realize someone you loved and thought loved you back but it was lies the whole time — that’s the hard reality in Stern’s “Fingers Crossed.” Inspired by one of Stern’s former relationships, it’s a breakup power anthem rampant with flashy drumline beats that heighten Stern’s vocal. “When I walked into a co-write with Melissa and Andy Sheridan, I told them about what had happened with my relationship, and I asked them if they would write a song with me that could help me feel brave again; to somehow rewrite my pain into my own prescription,” Stern tells CMT.com. “I wanted to create a song that could help myself and others find a sense of empowerment after being lied to in a relationship; a song that could help us own our vulnerability like a badge of courage in a way that was completely unapologetic and powerful.” Stern joins the Kick It In the Ship Cruise to the Bahamas with Brantley Gilbert, Luke Combs, Michael Ray and more on Oct. 23. An upcoming EP is expected early 2019.