Day 3 was hands down my FAVORITE part of Country Radio Seminar, so I’ve been putting off writing about it until I thought I had time to do it justice!
So you remember I went to bed Thursday night with what I thought was merely a “tired” voice and all would be better when I woke up. WRONG. I had even LESS voice when I woke up. NO! So after my coffee, I brewed some tea to help.
My day started earlier than Thursday because the mentoring breakfast (women’s mentoring, specifically) started at 7:30 instead of 8 the way it had before, but I’d promised Ty that I’d pop into the Nash Campus to hang out for a minute, so to make it work, I tried to get there really early. I departed my hotel at about 6:45 and walked a few blocks to the campus. After spending a few minutes talking to Glenn (who despite what they used to call him is NOT a buzzkill), I popped into the studio to hang out with Ty and Chuck (TJ started the following week)… and apparently walked in just as Chuck let loose some gas that according to Ty “smelled like Petco.”
Now remember at this point, I have been drinking tea, that when Chuck hugged me hello, he completely knocked it out of my hand. (insert crying emoji here, because it broke my heart). Thanks Chuck! But he went off to help the Ten Minute Tune artist figure out what they were going to write, and I was hanging out with Ty. He told me they JUST got an answering service and he was trying really hard to call EVERYONE back, which I think is really cool.
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I just wanted to share something you may not even realize… this show might be out of Nashville, but @tybentli is so personal! They just got an answering service if they can’t get to the calls, and Ty says he tries to ALWAYS call people back. ALWAYS. They get so many calls, and not many people would spend this extra time trying to call each and every person… I love being in Nashville because I had the opportunity today to learn from one of the best in the business, and also get to call him a friend! – @kristinontheradio
(he had no idea I was secretly recording him, lol)
Before the Ten-Minute Tune, though, I had to power walk back to the hotel for the mentoring breakfast.
I met with tons of amazing women in the industry and it was a very inspiring breakfast… and for the second day in a row, I was so focused on chatting and forgot to grab something to eat. Luckily, I’d planned for that and stuck a couple snacks in my bag (they gave us snacks at check in and kept leaving treats in our hotel room each day, too) so I munched on one as I was walking with another person I’d just met down to get coffee before the next session… I saw this awesome sculpture on the wall, and tried to take a picture of it, which resulted in me spilling coffee ALL over myself. So if you’re keeping count, that’s two drinks down. Wow Friday with no voice and two drinks down, not starting off very well. But the sculpture was still cool!
Next was a Panel called “What Leadership Looks Like in 2020: A Conversation with 3 Broadcast Executives” which was all about women in leadership. I really loved this, I loved seeing how women were the ones shaping our industry! And I didn’t know that there WERE that many women heads of radio companies! I know the CEO of Cumulus (our parent company), Mary Berner, is a woman, but it was great to see so many women paving the way industry wide!
At 10am was “Digital + Social Media Boot Camps” which, to be honest, I wasn’t sure I’d get much out of, as they were breaking down three different topics within the 50 minutes. I assumed it’d be so high level, I could have taught the session, and there was another one I could have gone to, buuuuuut I was kind of sold by the fact that one of the panelists was Lindsay Ell, and I was really curious to see how a country artist used social media. And I ended up very glad I went, because not only did I find a lot of the information valuable, it renewed my spark in social media for both the station, and my personal brand. And Lindsay handled the social media portion, but there were other fabulous people who talked about other aspects of digital I had kind of set aside in the back of my mind… basically, this one 50 minute session has re-centered my focus and I’ve shaped my work week the last couple weeks around it!
At this point, I was getting EXHAUSTED, both from a limited amount of sleep, and from being… you know… sick? I hadn’t used my voice much for HOURS at this point, but a small test in the bathroom showed me it was getting even WORSE! I should have taken an hour break, but it was my first CRS and I had a craving to get ALL the knowledge out of the 3 days I could! If I go next year, I’ll absolutely give myself breaks. after another panel at 11, was teh Big Machine Label Group Lunch and Performance!
It was back in the Ballroom I was in the first day, but this time I got in early enough to snag a seat! The other lunches were amazing, too, but Big Machine let each artist do several songs, so we got more of a feel for them, but less artists overall!
By this point, I had learned my battery was wearing down FAST with all the recordings I’d done, so I merely took pictures instead of videos of the performances. First up was Riley Green.
Then Brantley Gilbert… who for the last song pulled Lindsay Ell on stage to perform their new song together. (Girl was BUSY this day, a panel, this performance, and her New Faces performance later…)
MAN!! Apparently I didn’t snag pictures of Noah Schnacky who… wow, look up, because he’s GOING to be a big thing. Nor did I get any pictures of Lauren Jenkins, who was also awesome!
After that, I headed straight to another room for the Art of the Artist Visit, which talked about how markets SHOULD be using their time when they have an artist in studio! They had Carly Pearce in this one to give the artist’s perspective!
Then an interview with Jason Aldean was next in “Overcoming Obstacles” where they asked about his rise in country music and how he was coping after the Las Vegas shooting where he was on stage during.
And at this point, I FINALLY had a break. And my throat was tired. SO tired.
Current life rn:
Posted by Kristin Monica on Friday, February 15, 2019
BUT my friend and Peoria artist, Aileeah Colgan, was performing just a couple blocks away from my hotel, and I wanted to say hi, so I left the hotel, just to realize it was raining and cold and miserable outside! It was NOT like that when I went to the Nash Campus that morning! Also, while it was only a 5 minute walk, I consulted my GPS on my phone anyway… have you ever tried that in a bigger city? The tall buildings tend to make that go haywire… so I ended up walking past the place found where GPS said it was, still wasn’t in the right place (I took an elevator somewhere… it wasn’t the correct place), and then finally started to walk back and found it. I found my friends, Aileeah and Dave (her husband), and Aileeah immediately was like “I’m getting you honey and lemon” and literally asked the bartender for a shot of Honey and a couple lemons. Which I squeezed into the honey, mixed up, and took like a shot, lol. It felt nice but didn’t do MUCH to help my voice. I hung out with them for about a half an hour and then trekked back to my hotel to get ready for the New Faces of Country Music Dinner and Show, which I was very excited about.
A quick change into a dress, and a quick touch up on my makeup and I headed back downstairs with my ticket. I don’t know if it was just luck, or if it was just a treat as a Rusty Walker Scholar (I’m going with treat, since I met another Scholar who was placed at the same table) but they had me at Table 6… RIGHT IN THE FRONT! I was so excited! Also, after having run into Shawn Parr (from Nash Nights Live) several times and forgetting to get our picture, I finally got one, since he was at the table next to mine!
Dinner was great, and since this was the 50th year of CRS and the 50th New Faces show, they were doing some video throw backs! They’d talk to artists who had been on the New Faces shows and ask if they remember what they sang, or who else was on the show with them, and show clips of those performances. One of the clips a few minutes before the start of the show had Tim McGraw, who they asked about Faith Hill who was ALSO in the same New Faces show… apparently they didn’t even talk during that show, haha! They asked if he remembered what he sang and he said “Don’t Take the Girl” and then showed him/ cut to a clip of his performance… or at least that’s what we thought was going to happen. The screen goes black and the curtains peel apart and THERE IS TIM MCGRAW SINGING DON’T TAKE THE GIRL ON STAGE!! This was a ginormous surprise!
Okay, wow, what a way to set up the show for these New Faces of Country Music, right?
The show got started a few minutes later and kicked off with Russell Dickerson, who I’d seen at Tailgate N Tallboys last year, but I don’t know if it was because I was closer or if he just has gotten even BETTER (maybe a combination of both) but he KILLED IT!
Russell Dickerson blew me (and I guess the rest of the room) away, and he snagged a standing ovation! Who was next? Lindsay Ell! Who I’d seen FIRST before I’d ever heard of her when she opened for Jon Pardi and Kip Moore at the Civic Center Theater, and without knowing who she was, she kept my attention. I remember googling her like “WHO is this GIRL??” About a year later, Criminal hit the radio and was an instant hit, and I was cheering her on because I remember how much I’d loved her. I told her all of this when she was at Crusens in December, because every artist deserves to know how much they’ve captured fans before even hitting the radio. I learned about two weeks after her Crusens show that I was going to see her at New Faces, so I was pretty stoked. And for the THIRD TIME, she completely blew me away. If you haven’t seen Lindsay Ell, yet, your life is missing something vital.
Yet another standing Ovation from the crowd.
Now I was excited for ALL of them, but I was MOST excited for Jimmie Allen, as I hadn’t seen him yet! And he did NOT disappoint! In his set, he touched a little bit on how when he told people he wanted to be a country singer, they shook their head… they thought he should realize because of the color of his skin, he did not belong in country music. I, for one, am so happy he decided not to listen to them! I cannot WAIT to see his full set this summer at Tailgate N Tallboys!
Now LANCO had been in Peoria SEVERAL times before they hit number one! I remember interviewing them when they were at Crusens (click here for that interview), but missed the show for some reason (it was St. Patrick’s Day Weekend, and I think I had an obligation). THEN they were at Tailgate N Tallboys that summer, and really enjoyed their set… but NOW they have several number one songs.
So now I’ve seen 4 mind-blowingly amazing performances… can Dylan Scott measure up? I’d already seen him twice, the first time when he was at the CEFCU stage in May of 2016, when no one had really even heard of him! I remember during that show, he talked about how the following weekend, he was about to get married to the love of his life, and then launched into the song My Girl… which later became his FIRST number 1 song! By the time he hit the Tailgate N Tallboys stage last year, Hooked was climbing the charts!
And in case you wondered if my lack-of-voice kept me from singing along with any of these amazing artists… no it did not. I couldn’t help but sing along as loud as I possibly could have (which wasn’t really loud)… so by the time Dylan Scott was done, I had… maybe 3% voice left. I think I legitimately did damage to it that weeks later I’m STILL healing from.
It was a WONDERFUL, yet exhausting day, so even though my original plans had been to text Aileeah and Dave to see where they were and if we could hang out and “do Nashville,” I needed to head upstairs and CRASH. Which I did, after re-packing, since I had an early flight the next morning.
The next morning, I said goodbye to my beautiful view…
and headed downstairs to check out and wait for my Uber to take me to the airport.
At the airport, when I was in line for Starbucks (because duh, it was 6am), I ended up talking (even with minimal voice) to a lady in line behind me who had also been at CRS and was a label rep for one of the new artists (Kassi Ashton) they’d shown us at the UMG lunch on Thursday! I was not ready to leave Nashville, by a long shot! But I got on the plane and napped pretty much the whole way back to Charlotte and then to Peoria.
So if we’re keeping count here, the total number of Artists I saw either perform, or in panels (or both) is… hang on, counting… Chris Janson, Ashley McBryde, Cole Swindell, Devin Dawson, Cody Johnson, Morgan Evans, Dan + Shay, Six String Soldiers, Travis Denning, King Calaway, HARDY, Adam Hambrick, Tenille Townes, The Zac Brown Band, Garth Brooks, Little Big Town, Jon Pardi, Dierks Bently, Kassi Ashton, Keith Urban, Brandon Lay, Maddie and Tae, Adam Hambrick, Jordan Davis, Caylee Hammack, Chris Stapleton, Eric Church, Vince Gill, Hootie and the Blowfish, Jessie James Decker, Runaway June, Casadee Pope, Raelynn, Kalie Shorr, Riley Green, Brantley Gilbert, Rascal Flatts, Noah Schnacky, Lauren Jenkins, Jason Aldean (Panel Only), Carly Pearce (Panel Only), Russell Dickerson, Lindsay Ell, Jimmie Allen, Lanco, and Dylan Scott… I THIIIIIINK I got everyone. I know I also saw a couple artists in breakout rooms, but I’m awful and I don’t remember their names! So over 46, for sure! In 3 days… that’s like seeing a music festival! WOW!
Thanks for sharing my journey with me!