Driving down Commerce Street in Nashville earlier this week, I screamed, “turn up the radio”, to my friend as two artists who I profiled in The Focus over a year ago “Megan and Liz” filtered through the radio. Later that day, I sat in a friendly stranger’s living room and watched an artist get interviewed moments after she experienced a career milestone. From the top of the hill on Belmont University that evening, I looked at the Nashville skyline and at my good friend and rising artist who had just signed a developmental deal. It occurred to me how out of the thousands of people that come to Nashville with a guitar, she beat the odds. It was at that time I realized how amazing Nashville really is.
When the CEO of the Country Music Association, Steve Moore, walked across a crowded room to personally greet me and have a quick chat at the CMA holiday party earlier this week, it was a defining moment in my career. I realized that my friends in Nashville, the group from Teen Hoot, and, even, I had reached the next level in the country music industry. My guest for the event was rising singer/songwriter Holly Stewart.
For Holly Stewart it was truly a special night. For the last 100 weeks every Wednesday, Holly released a new original video featuring an original unreleased song. Her hard work and perseverance paid off. Disney, had taken note and had hired her to a developmental deal. Her first video under Disney would be released later that night. It was Holly Stewart’s big night, and as a journalist, I was there to cover it all. We met at CMA headquarters, and as she walked in I quickly introduced her to the CEO of the Country Music Association, Steve Moore. Throughout the night we met many familiar faces. After the party, we went to radio host Joe Rieg’s house. In the living room he had a special radio microphone set up where he performed an interview with Ms. Stewart where I captured the exact moment when she saw her video on the Disney Youtube Channel for the first time.
Soon after that, Holly drove me to the top of the hill at Belmont University. Ms. Stewart had risen to a new height in Nashville. No longer was she just another struggling artist without a true identity. She had now become an artist attached to the powerful Disney name. As she showed me the skyline of Nashville bellow us, I looked out the window and took note. I told her that this was a symbolic moment. I then noted that thousands of artists every year come to Nashville with big dreams and a guitar and leave Nashville with just a guitar. She had reached the next step of the uphill battle to make it in the industry.
At the party, I met up with the rising teen artist and Teen Hoot alumni Tyler Matl http://www.tylermatl.com. Mr. Matl had just been on the popular TV show “X Factor” and spent some time breaking down valuable tips to Ms. Stewart about how to maximize the benefits of trying out for music competition shows. While speaking about maximizing a musician’s base followers the topic of Keek.com came up. It was at that moment that Marissa Stone, also an up and coming singer, who all readers should be paying attention too, jumped into the conversation. She began to speak with the passion of a salesperson on how trendy and versatile Keek.com has become. Her passion for the new social networking site is as amazing as her singing voice!
Also at the holiday party, I met Jillian Kohr. I am actually listening to her vinyl album that she gave me as I am typing this report and to be honest, her voice is amazing! That is what makes the Country Music Association such a strong organization. When they hold networking events it gives everyone a chance to meet new people, find new talent, and discover great music. That is why I truly love Nashville.