Gabby! Caylee! Madison! Meet CMT's 2020 Next Women of Country
Sami Bearden, 22, Sam Backoff, 21, and Savana Santos, 21 (from left), all from Quincy, Illinois, have been singing together since high school. Their childhood musical idols: Miranda Lambert (Bearden), Queen (Backoff) and Shania Twain (Santos). Dream collaboration: Kelsea Ballerini (Bearden), Chance the Rapper (Backoff) and Kacey Musgraves (Santos).
Their song they're most excited about: “Delight”
RENEE BLAIR, 29, St. Louis, Missouri
The songs that made her fall in love with country: Brad Paisley’s “What If She’s an Angel” and Kenny Chesney’s “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy.”
Her dream collaboration: Rihanna.
Whom she sings her love songs to: boyfriend Jordan Schmidt, co-writer of “God’s Country,” the Blake Shelton hit that’s nominated for CMA song of the year and single of the year.
Favorite road-survival tip: “Water. I chug gallons.”
Her song she’s most excited about: “Summadat”
KYLIE MORGAN, 24, Newcastle, Oklahoma
Her childhood music idol: Shirley Temple. “My grandma had all the VHS tapes.”
Song that made her fall in love with country: Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying.”
Her dream collaboration: Taylor Swift. “She was the first one who was starting out young in country music who gave me a chance that I could do it, too.”
Her favorite road-survival tip: “Pack snacks, because you can wind up hangry and end up with gross food.”
Her song she’s most excited about: “I Break Things”
HAILEY WHITTERS, 30, Shueyville, Iowa
What I want people to know most about me: “A lot of heart, great songs, Iowa girl, dreamer in a 10-year town [Nashville].”
What I wish people didn’t know about me: “Is it weird to say that sometimes I wish they didn’t know I was 12 years in a 10-year town? Sometimes I feel it’s perceived that ‘she’s finally getting a break’ rather than my music standing up for itself.”
Last song she sang in the shower: Jackson Browne’s “Somebody’s Baby.”
Her song she’s most excited about: “Janice and the Hotel Bar”
MADISON KOZAK, 22, Lindsay, Ontario
The song that made her fall in love with country: Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through the Night.”
Dream collaboration: Loretta Lynn.
Whom she sings her love songs to: “My first love. I never used to write love songs, but I fell in love this summer, and my whole songwriting perspective has evolved, and it’s really cool.”
Her favorite road-survival tip: Emergen-C and sleep.
Her song she’s most excited about: “OMG ILY”
SYKAMORE, 29, Carseland, Alberta
What she wants people to know most about her: “My music is sonically kind of futuristic, but I think it’s rooted in country music storytelling.”
What she wishes people didn’t know about her: “Maybe that my driver’s license says I’m 5'5", but I’m really 5'4'. Don’t tell the DMV.”
Dream collaboration: Lana Del Ray.
Last song sung in the shower: Taylor Swift’s “You Need to Calm Down.”
Her song she’s most excited about: “California King”
TIERA, 21, Birmingham, Alabama
Her childhood music idols: Carrie Underwood and Dolly Parton.
The song that made her fall in love with country: Rascal Flatts’ “Bless the Broken Road.”
Whom she sings her love songs to: “My boyfriend. We’ve been together for five years.”
Her biggest obstacle: “When I first moved here [two years ago], a lot of people talked about how I was so young, and talked about how ‘you have time,’ and I was like, ‘No, I don’t.’”
Her song she’s most excited about: “Rewind”
Sisters Sophie Dawn Walker, 21, (left) and Ivy Dene Walker, 23, grew up in tiny Sulphur Springs, Indiana, and moved to Nashville four years ago.
Childhood idols: Dolly Parton (Sophie) and Shania Twain (Ivy).
Last songs sung in the shower: Jason Aldean’s “You Make It Easy” (Sophie) and “Popular” from “Wicked” (Ivy).
Their favorite road-survival tip: “Always pack extra everything,” says Sophie. “You never know what will happen.”
Their song they’re most excited about: “The Hamptons”
ABBEY CONE, 21, Argyle, Texas
What she wants people to know most about her: “I’m really passionate about what I do. I feel like I have something to say.”
What she wishes people didn’t know about her: “That I get really anxious before I sing.”
Childhood music idol: Whitney Houston.
The song that made her fall in love with country: Lee Ann Womack’s “A Little Past Little Rock.”
Dream collaboration: Miley Cyrus.
Her biggest obstacle: “Getting out of my head, knowing that the universe is gonna do what it’s gonna do.”
Her song she’s most excited about: “King of the World”
GABBY BARRETT, 19, Munhall, Pennsylvania
What she wants people to know most about her: “Entertaining is my everything that I’ll do for the rest of my life.”
What she wishes people didn’t know about her: “That I sucked my thumb until I was 13.”
Whom she sings her love songs to: her husband of a month, fellow artist Cade Foehner.
Subject of the last song she wrote: “My husband. It’s about young love because a lot of people might have opinions about me being 19 and him being 23 and getting married so young.”
Her song she’s most excited about: “I Hope”
CAYLEE HAMMACK, 25, Ellaville, Georgia
Her childhood music idol: Johnny Cash.
The song that made her fall in love with country: Patsy Cline’s “Crazy.”
Her dream collaboration: Lizzo.
Last song sung in the shower: “The Phantom of the Opera.”
Whom she sings her love songs to: “I don’t write love songs. Not really. I write love songs to my family.”
Her biggest obstacle: “Myself.”
Her greatest gift: “My empathy.”
Her song she’s most excited about: “Small Town Hypocrite.” “It’s kind of an edgier song of mine, but it best displays my songwriting and my story and just me.”
The country legend, 61, will be the headliner of the upcoming New Women of Country Tour, CMT announced Tuesday in Nashville.
TANYA TUCKER and STELLA
“I remember when I first started out, they wouldn’t even put two women on the same bill,” Tucker told a capacity crowd at the announcement event in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s CMA Theater. “I never could understand that. I’m so proud that this is all happening. I’m so glad to be a part of it.”