“I really think that we’ll be able to serve as a third-party champion for these artists," Opry Entertainment's Sally Williams tells Billboard of teaming up with Riley Green, Tegan Marie, Tenille Townes & Travis Denning.
The Grand Ole Opry has long been known as a great vehicle for introducing new artists, and that mission becomes more intentional with the launch of Opry NextStage, a yearlong collaboration with country newcomers Riley Green, Tegan Marie, Tenille Townes and Travis Denning, Billboard has learned exclusively.
The campaign aims to boost the careers of these four rising artists through strategic marketing support, short-form documentary-style storytelling created by Opry Entertainment’s content team and, of course, live performances. Each of the four artists will kick off their Opry NextStage participation on the Grand Ole Opry in December, and additional performances will take place throughout 2019.
“We wanted to have artists involved who appreciated the Opry and the opportunities and relationships that come from the Opry,” general manager, Grand Ole Opry / sr. vice president, programming & artist relations, Opry Entertainment Sally Williams tells Billboard in an exclusive interview. “We wanted artists who were really pretty early in their careers. We didn’t look at artists who had complete albums out. This is really about wrapping our arms around artists on the very front end. We wanted artists who have not only compelling music, but really strong stories, because we want to champion that artist in total -- not just a piece of their music, but their artistry -- and help them tell their story to the audience so that there is a deeper connection. There were dozens of artists that we considered because there are so many great new artists out, but for us, these four were the top. They are all writing their own music, which is fantastic, especially for artists who are so young, and they are all different.”