Garth Brooks lends voice to NASH Next 2017

NASH Next 2017 led by Cumulus Media, #1 in country and radio’s dominant source for country music, kicks off its third annual grassroots national search for the nation’s newest star in over 62 markets across the United States including Dallas, New York, Atlanta, Detroit and Nashville. Beginning today (May 31st), local artists may enter the competition via the NASH Next website.

The winner of this five-month-long national competition, announced by seven diamond award winner and the reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year Garth Brooks, will receive a record deal with NASH Next Records under the Big Machine Label Group, home to such superstars as Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts and the reigning ACM Male Vocalist of the Year Thomas Rhett. The NASH Next 2017 winner will receive substantial exposure, commensurate with a major label release, on Cumulus radio stations nationwide. While television boasts several talent competitions, no other contest — on any platform — has ever offered its winners a similar opportunity for coveted radio play, which is the most effective medium to cultivate an artist and propel a major music career.

“I can’t think of a better way to inspire and discover up and coming talent than through local country radio,” states Brooks.

Seventy-nine NASH/Cumulus stations in 62 markets will conduct local searches, with significant national participation made possible by Cumulus’ digital properties and syndicated country shows.

With 99 million fans, country has become the #1 most popular music genre and Cumulus’ NASH Next 2017 competition pays tribute to the great tradition of radio as a launch pad for country music’s most beloved artists. The NASH Next 2016 winner, Todd O’Neill, released his debut single “Love Again” in April and broke the top 50 country charts in early May and his single continues to climb the charts.

“This whole experience has been truly incredible,” remarks O’Neill. “There is honestly no way to describe what it’s like when you hear your first single played on the radio or when you see your name on the country music charts – It’s what makes this program stand out from all others.”

Stellar Judging Panel

Cumulus listeners and local music industry professionals in their communities will first judge emerging artists. Finalists, and ultimately the 2017 winner, will be selected by a panel of country luminaries, including Scott Borchetta, founder, president and CEO of Big Machine Label Group, the world’s #1 independent record label, Kix Brooks, half of Brooks & Dunn, one of country music’s most successful duos of all time, with additional celebrity judges to be announced at a later date.

“I’m always on the hunt for great new talent and there’s arguably no better way to do it than through country radio,” says Borchetta. “NASH Next provides the Big Machine Label Group an incredible opportunity to have our eyes and ears on the ground in all of the great Cumulus country radio markets. If you want to be next, enter now. Game on…”

“I really enjoyed being part of NASH Next last year – it was truly incredible to see the level of talent who competed and to now watch the upward trajectory of Todd O’Neill, last year’s winner,” notes Kix Brooks.

How the Competition Works

Beginning today, local artists may enter the competition via the NASH Next website, participating local station websites and Three local music industry professionals, as well as listeners in their communities will judge each competitor’s original song. Local markets will then host local live events or select their finalist by judging the contestants in a video performance of that original song.

Local winners will move on to the national challenge, submitting a live performance video showcasing their best original song, with the top ten artists selected by country music industry professionals. Those national finalists will then compete at a live concert event, hosted in Nashville in early November, where the panel of celebrity judges will select the NASH Next 2017 winner.

Country is #1 Music Genre

In the last five years, country has supplanted pop as the #1 most popular music genre, with 99 million fans (MRI, Fall, 2016). This is due, in part, to the fact that country has been influenced by both pop and rock styles to gain mass appeal.

“NASH Next 2016 brought us a potentially great artist whose in-person performances and on-air presence shows him on a trajectory for stardom.,” says Mike McVay, Executive Vice President, Content & Programming, Cumulus Media, Inc. “NASH Next 2017 gives the next woman or man the opportunity of a lifetime. This competition makes for a great career and great radio.”

Author: Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.