Cumulus Media has announced the start of “NASH Next 2016,” a competition that pays tribute to the great tradition of radio as a launch pad for our most beloved musical talent, while celebrating country music.
The winner of this four-month-long national competition, announced by country legend Reba McEntire, will receive a record deal with Big Machine Label Group, home to such superstars as Taylor Swift and Tim McGraw, as well as substantial exposure, commensurate with a major label release, on Cumulus radio stations nationwide. Sixty-eight NASH/Cumulus stations in 60 markets, including Dallas, New York, Atlanta, Detroit and Nashville, will conduct local searches, with additional national participation made possible by Cumulus’ digital properties and syndicated country shows.
Emerging artists will first be judged by Cumulus listeners and local music industry professionals in their communities. Finalists, and the 2016 winner, will be selected by a panel of industry and country luminaries, including Scott Borchetta, founder, president and CEO of Big Machine Label Group, Kix Brooks, half of Brooks & Dunn, and Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts, joined by a Cumulus listener.
Local artists may enter the competition via the NASH Next website and will be judged on three challenges, by three local music industry professionals, as well as listeners in their communities. First asked to submit an original song, contestants will then be charged with adapting a popular song with a new style, and for the third step, provided a phrase and tasked with writing a verse and chorus, using that lyric. Local markets will then host local live events or select their finalist by judging the contestants in a video performance of an 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 legends and a Cumulus listener. Those national finalists will then compete at a live concert event in Nashville, in late fall, where the “NASH Next 2016” winner will be selected by the celebrity judging panel.
Go for it, y’all. Good luck!