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1 TRENDING TOPIC:
THE CAT’S PAJAMAS
Doja claws her way toward stardom. (4/16a)
NEW & DEVELOPING ARTISTS: Q2 EDITION
Who's next? (4/16a)
NOISEMAKERS: THE SPRING SYNDICATE
Eight next-gen movers and shakers (4/15a)
RIAA'S MARCH AWARDS
You want fries with that plaque? (4/14a)
DEF JAM'S BEAR-Y GOOD NEWS
A JV with Poo. (4/15a)
RHYTHM, BLUES AND THE FUTURE
The musical tapestry we know as R&B.
WHO'S NEXT?
Predicting the next big catalog deal.
JUST THE VAX, MA'AM
Once we all get vaccinated, how long before we can party?
WORLDWIDE GROOVE
How is globalization bringing far-flung territories into the musical mainstream?
Music City
STILL MAKING NOISE:
MARY CATHERINE KINNEY
4/8/21

In our new feature, Still Making Noise, we highlight former Noisemakers and catch up on their latest endeavors as they continue to make shit happen in the biz.

When we last featured Music City favorite Mary Catherine Kinney in 2018, she was wrapping up her tenure at Sony Music Nashville. Since then, Kinney moved to Spotify, where she's led marketing campaigns for Taylor Swift, Luke Combs, Mickey Guyton, Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton and more as part of the Artist & Label Partnerships team. 

Mary Catherine was recently promoted at Spotify to Strategic Music Partnerships Lead. In her new role, she will focus on genre and culture strategy for Nashville, innovating new opportunities with artist & label partners, leading relationships with industry organizations and advising on artist & Spotify brand campaigns. 

In her time at the streaming hub, Kinney launched Spotify's new Country playlist, Indigo, and led campaigns including the Hot Country x CMA Awards multimedia partnership for AOTY nominees Luke Combs, Ashley McBryde, Jon Pardi, Old Dominion and Miranda Lambert; Spotify's Play Your Part voting campaign; and Taylor Swift campaigns for albums Lover, evermore and folklore, which set the record for the most first-day streams for a female artist on Spotify. 

Fortunately for MCK, this shoutout doesn't include a Zoom meeting with a crusty HITS editor. 

A CHURCH SOCIAL
4/7/21

Capitol Nashville’s Eric Church has pushed all his COVID chips to the center of the table. The reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year has announced an arena tour kicking off 9/17 in Lexington, Ky., and concluding with a stop at Madison Square Garden on 5/20/22.

Aptly named the 55-date in-the-round spectacular includes a 12/4 stop at the brand-new UBS Arena in Belmont Park, N.Y. It’s the first concert at the future home of the New York Islanders, a state-of-the-art 19,000 capacity building was developed by the team in partnership with the Oak View Group and Sterling Project Development. No word yet if Irving Azoff will drop the first puck.

On 4/16, Church will release Heart, the first of his Heart & Soul triple album project. Soul follows on 4/23.

…Read more

CITY SCHOOLS GET A HISTORY LESSON
4/6/21

A partnership between The National Museum of African American Music and the philanthropic arm of the Country Music will bring the museum’s collaborative project, Music Legends & Heroes, to select high schools within Metro Nashville Public Schools.

The focus is on teaching students about the impact of African-Americans on music and songwriting, and will allow students to take a leadership role in organizing and implementing a live virtual performance element at their schools. Several country artists—BRELAND, Willie Jones, Reyna Roberts and Tiera—will mentor students.

“NMAAM and the CMA Foundation have long shared the same mission of supporting Nashville schools through extensive music education and programs, so this partnership was a natural fit,” says Tamar Smithers, NMAAM Director of Education and Public Programs. “Through our Museum Without Walls program, NMAAM has already reached more than 132,000 individuals through our programming, and we hope this is just the beginning of our work with the CMA Foundation to share our message across the city.”

Music Legends & Heroes will conclude in June with a songwriting contest for participants to write a song with their class based on Black history and Black musicians, artists or activists. The program is expected to reach more than 200 students across Nashville.

Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer, said, “NMAAM’s mission to educate the world, preserve the legacy and celebrate the role African Americans play in creating the American soundtrack goes beyond any single genre. We are delighted to work alongside Henry Hicks and his team on the Music Legends & Heroes program, which will provide students the opportunity to learn about all genres of music.”

ACMS PERFORMERS ANNOUNCED
4/5/21

Miranda Lambert, Kane Brown, Luke Combs, Dan + Shay, Mickey Guyton, Maren Morris, Thomas Rhett and Chris Stapleton are among the stars who will perform at the 56th Academy of Country Music Awards on 4/18.

More than 25 artists will perform more than 30 songs from three Nashville venues: the Grand Ole Opry House, Ryman Auditorium and The Bluebird Cafe.

Other artists booked are Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Lee Brice, Brothers Osborne, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Ryan Hurd, Jack Ingram, Alan Jackson, Elle King, Little Big Town, Ashley McBryde, Carly Pearce, Jon Randall, The War and Treaty, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, CeCe Winans, Blake Shelton and Chris Young.

Details on the songs and collaborations will be announced in the coming weeks. The show will air on CBS and will be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+.

AMERICANAFEST RETURNS
4/1/21

The Americana Music Association has set 9/22-25 for the 20th anniversary edition of its festival, conference and awards show in Nashville.

Last year’s 19th edition was held virtually with the Thriving Roots conference in September and the Americana Honors & Awards in December.

MARKS EXITING SPOTIFY; WHITNEY TO CONTINUE LEADING NASHVILLE TEAM
3/31/21

John Marks is exiting his post as Spotify’s Global Director of Country Music. Word is that he will be succeeded by Rachel Whitney, who started at the streamery last year as Head of Editorial for Nashville.

Spotify is said to have beefed up its Nashville team, which focuses not only on country but also Americana, folk, Christian, gospel and roots. Whitney, who will continue leading the team, has some 15 years’ experience on the Nashville scene.

The well-liked Marks came aboard Spotify in 2015, having previously relocated to Nashville as part of his engagement with SiriusXM. Stay tuned for updates on his next chapter.

“When John Marks joined Spotify, he brought a wealth of knowledge and passion for the country genre—and has been an incredible asset to the Nashville team,” said Co-Head of Music Jeremy Erlich. “John will be truly missed, and we wish him well.” 

“It has been a privilege to work at Spotify since the beginning of its Nashville journey,” reads a quote from Marks. “But I am also excited about what adventures lie ahead.  I want to thank Jeremy Erlich, Rachel Whitney, our editorial team and the entire Spotify crew for the work that we have accomplished both in the United States and internationally.”  

BRIAN KELLEY AND WMN LAUNCH NASHVILLE SOUTH RECORDS
3/31/21

Florida Georgia Line’s Brian Kelley and Warner Music Nashville have partnered to launch Nashville South Records.

With new music to arrive later this year, the label will represent Kelley’s solo music venture. 

“I’m humbled to team up with Warner Music Nashville to take the music I’ve been dreamin’ and schemin’ up to the next level,” shared Kelley.

“This is just the beginning of a whole new adventure. My vision for what’s next is a vibe and state of mind – get ready to ride the wave with ya Beach Cowboy, y’all!”

“I’ve been an FGL believer from day one, and BK’s clear vision for himself and his upcoming project is a testament to his heart, soul, and talent," added shared WMN EVP A&R, Cris Lacy. "His new music is the perfect antidote to 2020, and what an incredible way to start 2021!"

After wiping his Instagram clean, the country star teased upcoming new music on the platform. Kelley is co-managed by Full Stop Management’s Irving Azoff and Jeffrey Azoff in partnership with WHY&HOW’s Bruce Kalmick and Eddie Kloesel.

Currently nominated for Duo of the Year at the 56th ACM Awards alongside bandmate Tyler Hubbard, FGL’s latest track, “Long Live,” is also Top 5 at Country radio. Stay up to date on all things Kelley here.

Kelley was represented in the deal by Jess Rosen.

MCCREERY INKS WITH UMPG NASHVILLE
3/31/21

Triple TigersScotty McCreery has inked an exclusive global publishing deal with UMPG Nashville.

Since winning American Idol a decade ago, the multi-platinum singer/songwriter has written chart-topping #1 hits like the 2X platinum “Five More Minutes,” “See You Tonight” and “In Between” from his 2018 album, Seasons Change, which he co-wrote all 11 tracks on.

The three-time BMI award-winner took home One of the Top 50 Country Songs of the Year as a writer for “See You Tonight” in 2015 as well as “Five More Minutes” in 2018 and “This is It” in 2019. “Five More Minutes” also earned him an NSAI Nashville Songwriter award for One of the Top Ten Songs I Wish I’d Written.

“Writing songs is one of my favorite things to do,” shared McCreery. “Signing with Universal Music Publishing and working with Troy Tomlinson, Terry Wakefield, and all the great folks on their team is another big step in my songwriting journey." 

“We all watched as Scotty came onto the scene as a high school athlete who simply loved to sing and entertain,” added Wakefield, SVP of A&R, UMPG Nashville. “He has now grown into one of country music’s most consistent hit makers. We are thrilled to represent him and his songs.”

McCreery is also a co-writer for his current Country Top 40 single, “You Time,” which is the lead single from his highly anticipated follow up to Seasons Change. Written by McCreery, Frank Rogers and Aaron Eshuis, and produced by Rogers, Eshuis and Derek Wells, the track has garnered nearly 11m streams since its release.

McCreery is repped by Triple 8 Management’s George Couri and Scott Stem for management and WME’s Nate Towne for booking. 

Pictured above are (l-r) Stem, Couri, Wakefield, McCreery and Tomlinson.

Photo Credit: Danielle Del Valle