CMT just released its annual “Next Women of Country” class, and it boasts some of the most promising up-and-coming names in the business. Originally conceived back in 2013, the program puts the spotlight on talented female performers just on the verge of real recognition within the industry.
Some past alumni of the NWOC list are now top-selling performing artists. Kacey Musgraves, Kelsea Ballerini, Gabby Barrett, and Carly Pearce all made the list early in their careers.
But designation on the list means more than just some nice press clippings. Each new member on this year’s list will receive branded support from CMT for a year. This perk includes plays on television and radio. A spot in the CMT Hot 20 Countdown, in particular, is worth its weight in gold for a rising country musician.
“We are so excited to welcome our newest class of ultra-talented female artists into our beloved CMT Next Women of Country franchise,” CMT’s Leslie Fram said during the launch. “Each is boldly blazing their own spirited path on their own terms, destined to make a lasting impact on country music. We celebrate this diverse group of women and look forward to supporting their work and their careers in 2022 and beyond.”
This year’s list includes artists like Lily Rose, who gained recognition with the hit single “Villain,” and Morgan Wade, whose 2021 album, Reckless, settled in at No. 4 on the Taste of country’s Critic’s Picks list for albums of the year.
Camille Parker, Amythyst Kiah, Miko Marks, and American Idol finalist Laci Kaye Booth also made the list. Other rising stars recognized by CMT include Tik Tok creator Julia Cole, overlap artist Madeline Edwards, and singer-songwriter Jenna Paulette. Rounding out the group is 18-year-old Callista Clark. She is the youngest member of the NWOC list in its nine-year history.
The program kicked off over the weekend with a three-hour special. It introduced each artist with a series of interviews and performances. Then Maren Morris, an alum of the program herself, gave a special interview reflecting on the impact of NWOC on her career.
Who are the Industry’s Most Powerful Female Performers of All-Time?
Taste of Country digital magazine recently released its list of the 30 most powerful female performers of all time. Therefore, let’s take a look at the top five.
5. Carrie Underwood: Carrie enjoys star power from many different ways in Nashville. As a singer, she boasts a chart-topping hit almost every year for a decade straight. She has also hosted multiple industry awards shows and has become a darling of country music. Not to mention her marriage to local Nashville athlete Mike Fisher, which made her a popular mainstay at hockey games.
4. Reba McEntire: Reba is a force in the industry, both as a singer and actress. Known simply by her first name, Reba continues to stand for a way of life that millions of Americans can relate to, but don’t see on television often enough.
3. Miranda Lambert: An absolutely pure vocal talent, Lambert already has 14 combined Female Vocalist of the Year awards. By the way, she’s only 38 years old. Wow.
2. Loretta Lynn: A trailblazer for women in the industry, Lynn’s contribution and influence to country music also can’t be overstated.
And No. 1: Dolly Parton, of course. Dolly’s business sense and all-around contribution to the ideals of ‘women-in-the-workforce’ has done more for the transformation of this country than anyone in the industry. She’s a pretty darn great singer, too.