CMT’s Next Women of Country List Their Essential Women

Alumnae Cassadee Pope, Carly Pearce and More Rave About Their Favorites

CMT’s Next Women of Country are dispelling the myth that women don’t want to hear music by other women.

When CMT hosted its Next Women of Country showcase in Nashville during CMA Awards week, all the alumnae were quick to rave about the women who first inspired them to pursue music and change their lives forever.

Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild introduced the 2019 class at the sixth annual concert, and the inductees are Anna Vaus, Emily Hackett, Ingrid Andress, Lainey Wilson, Lauren Duski, Leah Turner, Rachel Wammack, Stephanie Quayle and Tenille Townes.

CMT.com caught up with a few alumnae backstage and found out who continues to inspire them.

  • Cassadee Pope

    Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT

    “The women that make it, they’re huge. They’re not just little blips in the history of women who succeed. My vision for myself is playing arenas and stadiums because that’s the kind of people I saw as a kid growing up. I saw Shania Twain. I saw Avril Lavigne and people like that who were just larger than life. It’s really inspiring, and it encourages me to set bigger goals for myself.”

  • Clare Dunn

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    “Some of my biggest heroes were females. Tina Turner is my absolute favorite of all time. Whitney Houston, Shania Twain, Reba, Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless … I grew up on women in country music in the ‘90s — Faith Hill, all those ladies. Women speak to other women, especially young girls. And those role models and those examples of what you could be, what you could aspire to be, there are fewer and fewer of those out there, and I hope that changes. I know I certainly was inspired by a gorgeous woman just up there doing her thing.”

  • Carly Pearce

    Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT

    “Kelsea Ballerini really took a chance on me years ago when I didn’t have a record deal. She posted on social media about me, took me on the road and really built me up. She has championed me along the way.”

  • Tenille Townes

    Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT

    “I grew up a die-hard Shania Twain, Dixie Chicks and Carolyn Dawn Johnson fan. I remember pouring over the lyric sheets in the backseat just obsessing over the way they’ve written these songs. Getting to see them onstage, too, it’s such a beacon of light to look up and go, ‘If they can do it, I can do it, too.’”

  • Anna Vaus

    Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT

    “What I’ve really found in my favorites like Alison Krauss, is truth. It’s truth straight-up, and it’s not being afraid to be vulnerable. It resonates with a lot more people.”

  • Lainey Wilson

    Jason Kempin/Getty Images

    “I love me some Lee Ann Womack. I love me some Shania Twain. Those were two of my big influences growing up. Lee Ann Womack, Dolly Parton, Faith Hill — anybody from the ‘90s — the Judds. Women in the ‘90s were super powerful.”

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.