The two-day Billboard Country Music Summit, held in Nashville this week, ended with a rousing performance by Kellie Pickler at Tuesday evening's closing reception, which was hosted by Sony Music Nashville. The Renaissance Hotel ballroom that had hosted a series of roundtables the night before was turned into a sparkling performance venue for Pickler, who mixed some new songs with a few that were very familiar to attendees.
The singer opened with her first hit, "Red High Heels," before announcing that she wanted to perform a new tune for the gathering. She launched into "Stop Cheatin' On Me (Or I'll Start Cheatin' On You)," a song reminiscent of 1970s country music.
"This is one of the most personal songs I've ever written, and it's one of the first songs I co-wrote," Pickler said of her next selection, "I Wonder," a song about the mother she never knew. "I had just come off the 'American Idol' tour when we wrote it. I want to thank all of you for playing it."
Pickler closed her set with the new single, "Tough," the first from her upcoming new album. "I love this song; it's the story of my life," she explained.
Pickler had to rush to another appointment immediately after her performance, but attendees took advantage of the relaxed atmosphere to network one last time before the Summit ended. Other Sony/BMG artists mixing with the crowd included Chris Young, Josh Thompson and Joanna Smith.
"I learned a lot during these two days," said Rose Drake of Creative & Dreams Music Network about the Summit. "I think the most important thing I heard over and over is that we still gain one fan at a time. We used to do it at shows, now we do it through social media. The other thing I learned is that a hit song is still a hit song."
"This has been our second one and the comments I've heard back have been positive," said Steve Moore, executive director of the CMA. "People are saying it was informative, educational and a good mix of people, which makes for good networking opportunities. I would calculate it a success."
For more in-depth coverage of Billboard's Country Music Summit, visit Billboard.biz.