Allie Colleen is from a very musical family. She was raised in the country of Oklahoma and was not part of the Nashville music scene. However, when it was time to go to college, she chose Belmont where she got a degree in songwriting and music business. It was the connections she made there that helped forge the path she is on now.
The depth of her song lyrics belies her young age of 26. Her critically acclaimed song “Halos and Horns” depicts a picture of cowboys and angels torn between leather and lace, good and evil. Her single, “Playing House” is an honest description of a former time in her life to which many will relate. And her newest song, “Honest Man” is a simple song that shows an unexpected vulnerability.
But in true artist’s fashion, she will be going in a completely different direction with her next release which she states is a “very cool, very sexy, very poppy song about tattoos and me as a woman.” It will be completely different from her usual sound. Be sure to follow her socials to find out more.
Singing is just one of the many talents that Music Spotlight artist Becca Bowen has. The main reason she came to CRS was to talk to radio people and push her newest song, “Son Of A Gun” which is the first song she put out that she has co-written. The song is a true story from her life. She told me, “I’ve written my music for years, but I’ve never been vulnerable enough to share it. Since I pour all my emotions and feelings into the songs, that’s why I’ve kind of kept them to myself. Going into the next year, I’m going to share some of this vulnerability with other people and let them get a little bit of what my thoughts are.”
I am excited to see this more exposed side of Becca Bowen and can’t wait to see what else she brings to us.
Pennsylvania native Ben Gallaher has recently released his highly anticipated debut album Country In The House. Included in this new music is the new radio single, “Love Gets In the Way.”
We talked about country music not being a location, but a state of mind. “It’s now where you live, it’s who you are. You know it’s the values and characteristics that make up country music, not the landscape,” Gallaher informed.
He attended CRS because “It’s a special week because you get to meet a lot of people. I got to see many people that I met before on my radio tour. I’ve got to do interviews and connect with people to come to town.”
Because of the nature of the music industry, even though many live in Nashville, there is no other time of the year that they all come together except at CRS and awards shows.
One of my favorite people to interview is Canadian-born Music Spotlight artist Brett Kissel. Besides being an award-winning CCMA artist, the 32-year-old is a father of four and one of the most ambitious artists I have ever interviewed. He has just released his South Album, the first installment of his 4-record set that is part of his 2023 Compass Project.
His most recent single, “Never Have I Ever” is dedicated to his wife, Cecilia, as he reminisces about being young and carefree as he never believed he could get somebody like her.
He comes to CRS as much as possible because “it’s an opportunity to connect and have these conversations and help build my brand and promote my music.”
And while it can be expensive and time-consuming to put out so much music all in one year, fans will be able to take a really deep dive into who Brett Kissel is.
I will be doing a follow-up feature on the versatile Kissel’s Compass Project at the end of this year.
Brooke Moriber’s first claim to fame came at the age of eight when she played a young Cosette in Broadway’s Les Misérables musical. She was well on her way to a full-blown stage career when he was diagnosed with a rare eye disease that left her virtually blind at age 14. That was when the artist discovered her love of songwriting. (Read her story in People Magazine.)
The disease finally went into remission, and she was able to pursue her music career in earnest.
While songwriting in LA, she discovered that lyrically she was more attuned to country music style of writing.
Friends told her, “You know, the type of music you’re writing, it sounds kind of country. Your voice sounds a little country, too.”
And even though she grew up in New York City she grew up listening to her parents’ music which was country. She cites Linda Ronstadt as her biggest influence and inspiration.
When you take an actress from New York who sings and writes songs in Nashville, you get something that is a little bit different, a little bit more. Her single “This Town Made Us” is a song Moriber wrote about her two hometowns, New York City and Nashville. It is an anthem about perseverance much like the people who inhabit both cities.
You can hear the country influence in her newest single, “Little Bit of You.” She has more music on the way so you will want to follow her on all her socials so you can keep up with country music’s newest show stealer.
Chase Mitchell got his start in music at age nine when he was discovered by Maurice Starr and put in the boyband, Lucky, where they opened OutKast, Destiny’s Child, and more. After the band split up, he opened for future artists like Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, and Rascal Flatts. At the age of 20, he quit music to start a family.
But now that his kids are nine and five, he dove back into music full-time. I wondered why he was doing country music instead of pop.
He told me, “I was always a country boy. I just found myself in pop music early on.”
He also admitted that he snuck into his first CRS in 2005 at the age of 15. And now that he is a regular, he has a fond appreciation for everyone in the CRS community.
He explained, “It’s great for all the media outlets to huddle up and give back to the community. If you’re trying to get in and get your music heard or make relationships, it can seem like an impossible task, but CRS can make that doable over a few days if you’re serious about your career.”
Mitchell recently released “Back Road” which is a song that encourages you to explore love and relationships again, new or old. “If you are going to fall in love, whether your first time or your 100th time, do it on a backroad,” he stated.
For the past 16 months, Mitchell has been working with Kenny Chesney’s guitarist, Danny Rader, on his debut country album Chase Your Purpose which will be released soon.
Chris Clark stepped away from a lucrative career in his family’s prefabrication company (Clark-Pacific) to follow his dream to create music. And although he started out managing a group of rap artists, he soon honed his vocal skills amongst a sea of naysayers.
The early non-believers fueled his fire and the determined artist moved to Nashville in 2021. Clark is a self-taught guitarist who was influenced by the likes of John Denver, Toby Keith, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and Randy Houser.
He told me, “I love America and I love the US and I love what it’s all about, family, relationships, problems that people must work through, and stuff like that. That’s just the truth, you know? Truth in telling a story and saying everything up front.”
One of the first people Clark met when he moved to Nashville was NSAI‘s, Bart Herbison. He said, “I realized I was in the presence of magnificence.”
And now at CRS, the newcomer has been doing interviews and learning about all the “different types of radio stations and the cool people that are running them.”
Lyrics are important to the burgeoning songwriter. Since his move to Nashville, the California native has released two self-penned singles, “Glass Half Empty” and “The Girls of Tennessee” with many more on the way.
With his endearing smile, genuine heart, and captivating enthusiasm for life and music, Chris Clark has just the right mindset to make it in Nashville. As he keeps believing in himself, others will too.
One of my more recent Music Spotlight artists, Colton James, was also in attendance at CRS. Having just released his first EP in January America, the EP features two previously released singles, “I Miss America” and “Ring On Her Finger.”
He is now looking to launch RedSunset Entertainment alongside his partner Rick Dawson as they create several new projects. CRS is the perfect place to help James ignite his newest endeavor.
He advised, “I think any event like this for you can be personal and hands-on. I like looking people in the eye and talking to them. And if they’re taking their time to come here and it’s a normal thing to meet them, let them know who I am. Networking is very important to opening the doors. Country radio is responsible for bringing all of us (the music creators) to the fans.”
With his RedSunset Entertainment, James and his partner Rick Dawson hope to bring people together and inspire them. “I love bringing people together,” he stated.
Kentucky-born recording artist Dallas Remington is all sass and class. She moved to Nashville at the age of 15 to pursue her dream of a country music career. And while the COVID pandemic sidetracked her career for a bit, she was still able to release a song dedicated to her father and all essential employees, ‘Uncommon Man” which has organically amassed 700,000+ streams.
The young songstress acknowledges that even though they don’t always play traditional-sounding country music on the radio, she will continue to make the music she loves, following the music of her heroes like Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline.
Last year, Remington set a goal to release one digital single every month. By the end of the year, Dallas released 13 singles including, “Mullet,” “White Trash Heart” and her recent viral song “Steal Your Dad.” However, one of her most fascinating cuts is her country cover of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.”
Remington has been coming to CRS since 2017. Since she spent most of 2018 and 2019 on the road, it’s the one place she can get together with her friends from country music all in one place.
I like Dallas Remington because, with Kentucky girl’s traditional sound, she picks a few of the pieces of the heart that we lost when we lost Loretta.
Since 2010, Easton Corbin has had the most hits of any artist I covered at CRS. With songs like “Roll With It,” “All Over The Road,” and “A Little More CountryThan That,” any country music fan over the age of 15 is familiar with the hitmaker.
The Florida native continues to write with longtime producer Carson Chamberlain as well as Kirby, Shane Minor, Adam Craig, and Wyatt McCubbin, who he penned the romantic wedding song “Marry That Girl” with. Corbin says the past three years have allowed him to focus more seriously on writing music and finding the message he wants to convey to listeners on his forthcoming project.
Corbin has been coming to CRS for more than 12 years. And now that he has another hit topping the charts, it is important that he stay connected with radio stations and DJs who proudly play his music. He is the flagship artist for Stone Country Records.
Be sure to follow Easton Corbin on all his socials to find out when new music is coming out next.
Season 19 runner-up of NBCs The Voice, Ian Flanigan, has one of my favorite voices in country music. Since moving to Nashville, the Music Spotlight artist has signed with Reviver Records and released the highly acclaimed record, Strong.
His latest single from the album, “Last Name On It” is all about devotion. It is the engagement song of the year. It’s a fun way of telling your significant other how amazing they are and the only thing that could make things better is by giving them your last name.
The next single to be released off the record is “Under a Southern Sky” and it is another song I could listen to on repeat.
This is Flanigan’s second year at CRS. He told me, “I’m always grateful to be involved. I know there are thousands of artists trying to do this. Every day you got to remind yourself you’re lucky to be here.”
In the meantime, Flanigan and his team are going back to the studio next month to begin tracking the next album. And you can bet that I will be first in line to hear his new music.