Thursday 4 April 2024

CMA Presents International Awards at C2C Festival

CMA Presents International Awards And Celebrates Return To The U.K. And Europe For C2C: Country To Country Festival

NASHVILLE, TN - MAR 13, 2024


2023 CMA International Awards Presented to Ross Jones and Ricky Ross

CMA Returns to C2C: Country to Country Festival with Critically Acclaimed

CMA Songwriters Series Show and CMA’s Introducing Nashville Lineup

(L-R) Milly Olykan (CMA Vice President, International Relations and Development) honors legendary BBC broadcaster Bob Harris OBE during an industry reception at the Blueroom at The O2 in London on March 8. Photo Credit: Luke Dyson/CMA

CMA, the premier trade association of the Country Music industry, awarded two of its 2023 CMA International Awards and celebrated its return to C2C: Country to Country Festival in the U.K. and Europe this past week. These efforts are part of CMA’s ongoing mission to grow and expand Country Music globally, and after a strong year of international success in the genre, CMA is eager to continue to see the impact of these efforts throughout 2024.

“After a historic year of international growth in Country Music, it is truly remarkable to have been at C2C this past week surrounded by the very fans who continue to contribute to our format’s achievements,” says Milly Olykan, CMA Vice President, International Relations and Development. “In 2023, our genre reached unprecedented heights worldwide, and the momentum is set to continue in 2024. Presenting this unique array of Country Music to our fans feels especially rewarding this year, where we are at an exciting crossroads with our genre attracting wider engagement from artists, industry and fans who are wanting to participate more in Country Music.”

Olykan along with radio broadcaster Baylen Leonard, surprised Ross Jones, Editor of Holler, a U.K. multimedia County Music platform, with the Wesley Rose International Media Achievement Award for his fresh media vision and efforts to expand Country Music globally. Jones was presented the award on stage by Leonard and Olykan during the sold-out CMA Songwriters Series on Thursday, March 7 at indigo at The O2.

Ross was called up on-stage by Holler and Absolute Radio Country's Baylen Leonard and CMA's Milly Olykan shortly before the performances kicked off, with Baylen and Milly paying tribute to Jones’ incredible work with Holler over the past few years.

Ross Jones (Editor, Holler) receives the 2023 CMA Wesley Rose International Media Achievement Award during the CMA Songwriters Series show at the indigo at The O2 in London on Thursday, March 7. Photo Credit: Luke Dyson/CMA

Ross Jones was understandably deeply moved by the honour, explaining in his speech how his role in the country music community had offered him a lifeline through difficult moments. Having deftly steered the Holler ship since it was founded in 2020, Ross Jones has helped establish the country and Americana platform as one of the premier outlets in the space. His team were keen to highlight how deserving Jones is of this prestigious accolade, and how it serves as a testament to the rate at which Holler has grown under his leadership. See INSTAGRAM Post. Visit Holler’s Website HERE and follow their content HERE.

Longtime BBC radio host Ricky Ross was honored by Country Music artist Carly Pearce with the International Country Broadcaster Award on Sunday, March 10 during an interview on BBC Radio Scotland’s “Another Country” (BBC Page) for his successful broadcasting career.

Ricky Ross (Broadcaster, BBC) receives the 2023 CMA International Country Broadcaster Award during an interview with Carly Pearce ahead of C2C at Ovo Hydro in Glasgow Sunday, March 10. 
Photo Credit: BBC Radio Scotland

Carly told Ricky: “You’ve been such a champion for our genre in Scotland Ricky – and we’re extremely grateful for your passionate support of artists from the newest talent to our biggest stars. Congratulations!” 

Ricky, who also won the award ten years ago, said: “Another Country is now 16 years old. 

My producer, Richard Murdoch and I, have worked on the show all of this time and have both enjoyed exploring the world of country music together. “We love the music and we have loved getting to know the people who make it. This award is for a two hour show that is the highlight of our week and we are grateful to the CMA for the recognition. Thanks especially to the artists for sharing the great stories of country music.”

Heather Kane Darling, BBC Radio Scotland, Commissioning Editor, added: “This is great recognition for Ricky who has been a champion of country and Americana music on his popular, long-running show.

While in the U.K., CMA returned to C2C with its critically acclaimed CMA Songwriters Series and Introducing Nashville lineup. The CMA Songwriters Series show on Thursday, March 7 marked the weekend’s official kick-off and featured performances by Country artists Colbie CaillatLauren AlainaStephen Wilson Jr.Charlie Worsham and special guests Abbey Cone and Fancy Hagood. Worsham, who pulled double duty as host, led the audience throughout the evening, featuring many different sounds, styles and stories from the performers. The sold-out crowd was excited and engaged in the intimate style of the show, thoroughly enjoying a special behind-the-scenes look into each artist’s songs.

(L-R) Colbie Caillat, Lauren Alaina, Charlie Worsham and Stephen Wilson Jr. perform during a special CMA Songwriters Series show at the indigo at The O2 in London on Thursday, March 7. Photo Credit: Luke Dyson/CMA

CMA’s international touring series, Introducing Nashville, featured performances by Karley Scott CollinsConner Smith and Lauren Watkins, with Greylan James joining the lineup in Rotterdam. As the opening set at each of the festival’s stops, Introducing Nashville took to the stage at RTM Stage in Rotterdam, Verti Music Hall in Berlin, Kollektivet Livet in Stockholm, Lille Sal at the Konserthus in Oslo, The O2 in London, SSE Arena in Belfast and Ovo Hydro in Glasglow. Year after year, this set proves to be a fan favourite. The acoustic style of performance creates a remarkably intimate environment, despite the thousands of fans in attendance. Each voice brought a different side of Country Music to the fans and showcased just some of the emerging talent Nashville has to offer.

Throughout the weekend, CMA organized several industry events in London aimed at developing and strengthening international ties and relationships. Prior to the CMA Songwriters Series showcase, industry members gathered for a reception to network and catch up with colleagues across the globe. CMA also hosted a C2C Kickoff Reception with BBC Radio 2, which included a panel discussion moderated by Alex Hannaby (Head of U.K., Big Machine Label Group) and featuring Marc Dennis (Agent and Co-Head, CAA Nashville), Martha Earls (Owner, Neon Coast) and Rod Phillips (Executive Vice President of Country Programming Strategy, iHeartMedia). The panelists spoke to the many different ways the format is currently expanding, from global touring opportunities, collaborations in other formats, as well as the digital and media landscape.

Following the panel, Olykan welcomed legendary BBC broadcaster Bob Harris OBE to the stage, presenting a framed poster in honor of his 25 years presenting “The Country Show” on BBC Radio 2.

CMA continues its international journey with a visit to Australia for the CMC Rocks festival as well as a stop in New Zealand, where CMA will host a special Introducing Nashville showcase featuring Cooper AlanPriscilla Block and Megan Moroney.

This award recognizes outstanding achievements in the media as they relate to Country Music outside of the United States. 

·                     Jill Johnson (Sweden – ‘Jills Veranda’ SVT)

·                     Ross Jones (U.K. – Holler) ** WINNER **

·                     Richard Murdoch (Scotland – BBC Radio)

·                     Dayna Bourgoin (Canada – Pure Country Radio, iHeart Radio)

This award recognizes outstanding achievement by a radio broadcaster or syndicated radio reporter outside the United States who has made important contributions for the development of Country Music in his/her country.   

·                     Stephanie Jünemann (Germany – Star FM Maximum Rock)

·                     Joakim Richardson (Sweden – Go Country)

·                     Ricky Ross (U.K. – BBC Radio Scotland) ** WINNER **

·                     Justin Thomson (Australia – KIX Country)

·                     Wimpie van der Sandt (South Africa – Bok Radio

Previous Winners back to 2013

  • 2022 – Chris Stevens, formerly with CountryLine (ChrisCountry), UK
  • 2021 – Baylen Leonard, Absolute Radio Country/Bauer Radio Limited, UK
  • 2020 – Ben Earle, UK
  • 2019 – Baylen Leonard, UK
  • 2018 – Chris Stevens, UK
  • 2017 – Bob Harris, UK
  • 2016 – Paul McGuire, Canada
  • 2014 – Ricky Ross, UK
  • 2013 – Bob Harris, UK

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