Country Music Goes FEMALE!!

Hey guys, it’s Jamie again!

Whether you live in Nashville or you're just visiting the Music City you are constantly surrounded by country music. Everywhere you go you hear music and it isn't unheard of to run into a country music singer when out and about. I've been driving on 12 South when Kelsea Ballerini has pulled up next to me and I have friends who have run into Maren Morris, Brett Eldredge, and other country artists while eating out.

Last week, the country music industry went female for one night to honor some of our most influential women in country music today at the 2018 CMT Artists of The Year Awards. Honorees included Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris, Kelsea Ballerini, Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum, and Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman of Little Big Town. Loretta Lynn was also honored as with The Artist of a Lifetime award, but unfortunately, she was ill and not able to attend the awards show.

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The CMT Artists of The Year Awards is unique in the way that you can not buy a ticket for the show, all audience members you see in attendance are considered “casted” audience members. Luckily, I was there and had a front row seat to all the magic that unfolded that night and am here to tell you all about it. 

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Like I mentioned above you must be selected to attend the CMT Artists of The Year Awards.  You must fill out a short application online, with your name, contact info and simple information like that. If selected, you will receive an email about a week and a half before the awards show. The email contains information on the event, how to pick up your wristband, which is your ticket, where to park for the event and the time you need to arrive on the day of the award show. The link was sent to Belmont University students as a part of Curb College, so I had a lot of friends who also attended the event.

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The award show starts at 7, but if you are chosen to be apart of the audience you must get there around 4:15, so you can be seated throughout the symphony center. Just like other award shows the production staff will place you in your seat based on your height, the color you are wearing and other aspects, making sure there are not three blondes sitting all in a row. It is all about how it looks on TV and there cannot be any empty seats, or it will not look right when broadcasted on TV. You may be wondering why you must be there so early, and the answer is it takes a lot of time to get every audience member into the center and all the seats filled up. Plus, you must go through security before entering the building. Safety first!

I was lucky enough to sit in the boxes next to the stage, but this also meant I could not have my phone out during the show, so I could not take any pictures during the show. Where if you are in the back, or level two or three, you can take your phone out. Luckily, my friend Sydney was in the back and sent me some photos to share with you! While it’s a bummer that you cannot take pictures sitting in the front, you can see everything from the front so it makes up for it!  No matter where you sit it is amazing to be at the awards.

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I was able to see all of the nominees the entire show and really learn how award shows are run. Sitting at home you do not realize all the work that goes on during commercial breaks. People are rushing around trying to get artists backstage or back into their seats, moving people around so that there are no empty seats in the front. Throughout the commercial breaks, there is a voice announcing how many minutes or seconds are left until we go live again. It is funny to hear the countdown and see all the artists still talking to others. Sometimes the head of production has to come out and remind them they need to sit down.

Along with experiencing an award show, I also got to see some amazing performances from all of the nominees. Each nominee sang with another artist that was meaningful to them and each performance was incredible. Miranda Lambert opened the show signing with her all-female band The Pistol Annies, Maren Morris sang with Brandi Carlile honoring Aretha Franklin, and Kelsea Ballerini sang with Alison Krauss. Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum did a medley of three different songs with Tori Kelley and Kirk Franklin, while Little Big Town artists Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman sang with legend Gladys Knight.

Martina McBride, and Sheryl Crow with Dierks Bentley honored Loretta Lynn, performing some of her greatest hits. To finish off the show Carrie Underwood sang with her 2019 tour mates Runaway June and Maddie and Tae. Together they sang a medley honoring six different female country artists throughout the years including Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, Reba, Martina McBride, The Judds, Faith Hill, Shania Twain and to finish off the medley they sang, Carrie’s recent hit “Cry Pretty.”

Being a casted audience member or an extra at an awards show is extremely fun and I recommend jumping at the opportunity if you ever get to. You will have the best time and you will not regret it! That’s all for this week, hope to see you back here next week!

~Jamie

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