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Music News (12/2/20)

[ 0 ] December 2, 2020 | |

MusicRow Reveals 2021 Next Big Thing Artists List

MusicRow is proud to reveal its list of artists, who in 2021, are predicted to become the Next Big Thing (NBT). The annual NBT list features 11 artists, who are each profiled in MusicRow‘s latest 2021 Touring Issue print magazine, which hit shelves Dec. 1.

MusicRow Magazine’s Next Big Thing Class of 2021 has set itself apart from today’s artists with talent and hard work. Some of these NBT artists have just released their first singles, while others are celebrating chart-topping hits. All have broken through by bringing unique styles and by surrounding themselves with team members who champion them.

They are diverse in sound, style and level of success, but what they have in common is extraordinary talent and a passion for today’s ever-evolving country music format. These future stars are sure to lure a broad spectrum of listeners to the genre’s growing umbrella. And with touring at a standstill during the COVID-19 pandemic, some of these up-and-comers are making the most of their social media savviness.

Click here to see the full list of artists on

Driver Williams Inks Co-Pub Deal With River House Artists, Jody Williams Songs

Pictured (L-R): Jody Williams (Founder, Jody Williams Songs); Nina Jenkins (Creative Director, Jody Williams Songs); Driver Williams, Zebb Luster (Director of Creative/A&R, River House Artists); Lynn Oliver-Cline (Founder, River House Artists); Kayla Adkins (Publishing Coordinator, River House Artists)

River House Artists (in partnership with Sony/ATV) and Jody Williams Songs (in partnership with Warner Chappell Music) have signed Driver Williams to a new co-publishing agreement, uniting Williams’ existing team at River House Artists with the publishing company launched recently by his father, former BMI VP and industry vet Jody Williams.

Driver Williams has spent the last three years as a River House Artists staff songwriter. With the launch of Jody Williams Songs earlier this year, plans developed between River House’s Lynn Oliver-Cline and Jody Williams to share publishing representation.

As the long-time lead guitarist for 2020 CMA Entertainer of the Year Eric Church, Williams has co-written Church’s Double-Platinum certified “Smoke A Little Smoke” as well as songs recorded by artists including Jon Pardi, Jason Aldean, Drew Parker and more.

In addition to the new publishing deal signed with Driver Williams, Jody Williams Songs represents Ashley McBryde, Nathan Chapman, Jeremy Spillman, Greg Bates, Jason Nix and Pat McLaughlin. Jody Williams Songs is a co-publishing partnership with Warner Chappell Music.

Launched in 2016, River House Artists recently became a joint venture with Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Along with Driver Williams, their roster also includes artist writers Drew Parker, Jordan Rowe, Luke Combs’ longtime cowriter Ray Fulcher, as well as Nicolette Hayford, a frequent co-writer of McBryde.

Gordie Sampson Extends Deal With Still Working Music, Kobalt

Pictured (Clockwise from top left): Gordie Sampson, Alex Orbison (Co-President, SWM), Sara Beal (Publishing Director, SWM), Emily Olson (Creative Director, SWM), Jesse Willoughby (GM, Kobalt Nashville), Kevin Lane (Creative Director, Kobalt Nashville)

Still Working Music and Kobalt have extended an exclusive worldwide publishing deal with Gordie Sampson, who has co-written hits including Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take The Wheel,” Hunter Hayes’ “Storm Warning,” Florida Georgia Line ft. Backstreet Boys’ “God, Your Mama, and Me,” and Luke Bryan’s “Knockin’ Boots.” Most recently he’s had additional songs released by Tenille Townes, Caylee Hammack, Lindsay Ell, Adam Hambrick, Scott Helman, Caitlyn Smith, and Mickey Guyton.

“I couldn’t be more excited to extend our deal with Gordie Sampson. He has immense talent and I am looking forward to our continued partnership!” said Still Working Music’s Alex Orbison.

“I am beyond thrilled to continue working with Gordie alongside Emily and the Still Working Music family. Gordie’s talent and drive make him a dream to represent and I can’t wait to see what he accomplishes next.” said Kobalt’s Kevin Lane.

Still Working Music writers include Jon Randall, Chase Bryant, Lance Miller, Rachel Reinert, and Ian Christian. Still Working Music proudly partners with BMG, Kobalt, and others.

Kobalt is a music and technology company built for artists, songwriters, publishers, labels, film and television production companies, studios and networks as an alternative to the traditional music business model.

Sheltered Music Publishing Signs Kelsey Waters

Kelsey Waters

Sheltered Music Publishing, the Nashville Division of All Clear Music, has signed Kelsey Waters to an exclusive publishing and artist development deal. Waters has been performing since her early teens, and has released songs including “I Pour” and “Rainmaker.”

“I was first drawn to Kelsey’s music by songwriter friend, Greg Becker,” says Sheltered Music EVP Darrell Franklin. “I was immediately taken back at how real and honest her music was, while also pushing the edges musically and lyrically.”

MusicRow Highlights Rising Leaders With 2021 N.B.T. Industry Directory

Rising Nashville music industry leaders have been selected as MusicRow Magazine’s 2021 N.B.T. Industry Directory.

Now in its second year, MusicRow’s N.B.T. Industry Directory is the first and only list of its kind, showcasing Nashville music business professionals who occupy important roles at their respective companies, and who are on a trajectory of excellence to successfully lead the Nashville music industry into the future.

All members of the N.B.T. Industry Directory are featured in MusicRow’s current 2021 Touring Issue, which released Dec. 1. Single copies of MusicRow’s Touring Issue are available for purchase at for $45, and are included with yearly MusicRow memberships.

Click here to see the full list on

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