CMT has announced the 2020 Class of its Next Women of Country franchise at last week’s 7th annual event at the CMA Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame. The 11 artists joining the prestigious Next Women roster are: Abbey Cone, Avenue Beat, Caylee Hammack, Gabby Barrett, Hailey Whitters, Kylie Morgan, Madison Kozak, Renee Blair, Sycamore, Tiera and Walker County. The announcement was made by event co-hosts Leslie Fram, SVP, Music Strategy & Talent, CMT, and country music superstar Martina McBride. 

At the event, each newly-named act performed one song onstage in an acoustic, writer’s round format. This 2020 Class marks a total of 75 female acts that have been named as part of the program since its inception in 2013.  

Brandi Carlile accepted the 2019 CMT Next Women of Country “Impact Award,” an honor presented to a female artist that has impacted songwriting, recording, radio airplay, record sales, streams, media impressions, awards and touring in country music over the past year. The award was presented by singer-songwriter Brandy Clark (Class of 2016) and Change the Conversation co-founder Tracy Gershon.

In a surprise appearance, the legendary Tanya Tucker appeared onstage as Carlile announced that Tucker will headline the upcoming CMT Next Women of Country Tour in early 2020. Supporting acts and cities to be announced. The 2020 tour is sponsored for the second consecutive year by Burlington Coat Factory. 

Singer-songwriter Mickey Guyton kicked off the event with a special performance of her new single, “Sister,” performing with fellow Next Women of Country alumnae with fellow female artists Clare Dunn (2014), Leah Turner (2018), Rachel Wammack (2018) & Tenille Townes (2018).

A staunch advocate for country music’s female artists, CMT launched its “Next Women of Country” campaign in an effort to support and expose developing female talent, both signed and unsigned, in a male-dominated format. The campaign showcases emerging female artists across all CMT screens throughout the year, and in six years since its launch, CMT has expanded the initiative to include five CMT NEXT WOMEN OF COUNTRY Tours, anchored by superstar acts including Jennifer Nettles, Martina McBride and Sara Evans; a digital series titled NEXT WOMEN OF COUNTRY LIVE; and more. Notable alumnae of the franchise who have achieved both commercial and critical acclaim include Kacey Musgraves, Kelsea Ballerini, Maren Morris, Lauren Alaina, RaeLynn and Lindsay Ell.

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