CMT unveiled its “Next Women of Country” class of 2022 on Friday. The list includes a diverse group of 10 women of varying ages, backgrounds and creative proclivities that touch nearly every corner of the country music genre.
Grammy-nominated Amythyst Kiah, Big Machine Records’ Callista Clark, Top 10 Apple Music country artist Camille Parker, country cowgirl Jenna Paulette, viral sensation Julia Cole, former “American Idol” contestant and Big Machine Records artist Laci Kaye Booth, Big Loud Records’ Lily Rose, singer/songwriter Madeline Edwards, country veteran Miko Marks and Sony Music Nashville’s Morgan Wade comprise this year’s group.
“We are so excited to welcome our newest class of ultra-talented female artists into our beloved CMT Next Women of Country franchise,” said Leslie Fram, SVP of Music & Talent at CMT, in a statement. “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.”
The CMT Hot 20 Countdown will introduce the class of 2022 at 9 a.m. ET Saturday during a three-hour special. The show will include interviews and performances from each of the women and an exclusive interview with Next Women of Country alumna Maren Morris. Morris was part of the 2015 class and will share her experience with the program.
In addition to the television time, the new CMT Next Women of Country class will also receive brand support for their music and videos across other CMT platforms, including CMT Music, PlutoTV’s ’CMT Equal Play’ channel, CMT Hot 20 Countdown, CMT.com and CMT’s social channels. Opportunities will be available through ViacomCBS’ MTV Entertainment Group brands with live events, the ViacomCBS Times Square NYC Billboard and more. In addition, CMT also provides its Next Women of Country class access to social impact and artist advocacy through its CMT Equal Play initiative.
CMT launched “Next Women of Country” in 2013, and members over the years include: Ashley McBryde, Brandy Clark, Brittney Spencer, Carly Pearce, Gabby Barrett, Ingrid Andress, Kacey Musgraves, Kelsea Ballerini, Lainey Wilson, Lauren Alaina, Lindsay Ell, Maren Morris, Mickey Guyton and Tenille Arts.
“I’ve been following this program for a long time,” said Lily Rose. “I’m a really big fan of Leslie Fram and who she is as a human being. To know that there is this initiative to get more visibility on women has always been really intriguing and really special to me. To be a part of the class after seeing who has come before is bonkers. That’s just crazy. I’m just humbled to be here.”
Meet CMT’s Next Women of Country Class:
Amythyst Kiah: Amythyst Kiah’s debut album, “Wary + Strange,” melded alt-rock that sparked her musical passion with the roots/old-time-music scene, where she found success. She honed her talent and knowledge at East Tennessee State University’s Bluegrass, Old-Time, Country Music program. The Chattanooga native expanded on her artistry as a member of Our Native Daughters – an all-women-of-color supergroup. “Black Myself,” which she wrote for the group, earned a GRAMMY nomination for Best American Roots Song and won Song of the Year at the Folk Alliance International Awards.
Callista Clark: 18-year-old Callista Clark is signed to Big Machine Music Group and is the youngest member ever named to the CMT Next Women of Country franchise. The Georgia native made her Grand Ole Opry debut last year and showcased her heart and her talent with her EP “Real To Me.” Clark’s debut single, “It’s ’Cause I Am,” is a Top 20 hit at country radio – enough to make her the most successful artist debut of 2021.
Camille Parker: Camille Parker’s debut single “The Flame” earned more than 1.5 million on-demand streams and charted in the Top 10 of Apple Music’s country charts in over 17 countries. She is recording her debut EP with GRAMMY-winning, platinum-selling producers Chris McClenney and David Phelps. Parker recently opened for Next Women of Country alumnae Brittney Spencer on her first headline American tour.
Jenna Paulette: Jenna Paulette is a Lewisville, Texas, native who grew up moving cattle on her family’s ranch in Oklahoma and honed her voice singing in church. Paulette earned a marketing degree at the Savannah College of Art and Design then moved to Nashville. The singer/songwriter grew her success via TikTok, Pinterest, and Instagram and signed a publishing deal with Brad Paisley’s Sea Gayle Music.
Julia Cole: Julia Cole has more than 55 million streams and over 13.5 million views of her song “SidePiece” on TikTok. The Texas native got her start performing the “Star-Spangled Banner” before her volleyball games and eventually graduated to singing the anthem at NFL, MLB, MLS, NASCAR, INDYCAR, and ESPN events before crowds of 75,000. She’s passionate about sports and has helped raise thousands of dollars for Tennessee’s Boys & Girls Clubs’ sports programs.
Laci Kaye Booth: Laci Kaye Booth was a Top 5 finalist on the 17th season of “American Idol,” then moved to Nashville, signed with Big Machine Records, and dove deeper into her songwriting and musicianship. The Texas native co-wrote every song on her self-titled EP released in 2021. Her song “Shuffle” is now on country radio.
Lily Rose: Lily Rose just earned a gold certification from the RIAA for her debut song, “Villain.” The Georgia native is a staunch supporter of the LGBT community. Her seven-song EP “Stronger Than I Am” came out last year, and she’s currently on tour with Chris Lane.
Madeline Edwards: Madeline Edwards incorporates jazz, soul, gospel, and country influences into her unique sound and is gaining attention. She performed on the CMA Awards with Mickey Guyton and Brittney Spencer. She appeared on Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” tribute record with Maren Morris’ supergroup The Highwomen. Edwards is working on her debut album.
Miko Marks: After a 13-year hiatus from country music, Miko Marks returned in March with her album “Our Country” and then later in the year with EP “Race Roads.” During her earlier efforts, she didn’t feel embraced by country music, but she’s back with a message of unity and outspokenness for Black musicians in country music and beyond. She hopes to create art with no borders that isn’t tied to a specific genre.
Morgan Wade: A native of Floyd, Virginia, HITS said Morgan Wade is “Kris Kristofferson as a Gen Z woman.” With her unabashed debut “Reckless,” she landed on TIME, Rolling Stone, New York Times, Stereogum, FADER and Rolling Stone Country’s various Best Album and Songs of 2021. Produced by Jason Isbell + the 400 Unit guitarist Sadler Vaden and Paul Ebersold, the trio worked to create a song cycle that pulled the lean rock of Tom Petty through a modern take on country — and achieved a No. 1 SiriusXM Highway track with “Wilder Days.” As the acoustic guitar-driven “Days” scales country radio, Reckless Deluxe expands the conversation. She will join Luke Combs’ stadium shows in 2022.
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