• Lillie Burke

Belmont students pitch in behind the scenes at the Country Music Awards

At country music’s biggest awards night, a healthy dose of Belmont Bruins walked the red carpet — but it’s unlikely you saw them on camera.

The 55th annual Country Music Awards, held Wednesday at the Bridgestone Arena, was staffed in part by Belmont volunteers who escorted talent at the awards and at press events throughout the week.

While working the CMAs and the radio remotes beforehand, students rubbed elbows with nationally recognized country artists and networked with the music business professionals on their management teams, getting a taste of what life in the industry is like.

“Getting to connect with their managers was a really big thing for me because I’m hoping to go into artist management or digital marketing post-grad in the music industry,” said music business and marketing senior Madison Moll.

Songwriting junior Gloria Anderson worked two different positions throughout CMAs week. On Monday and Tuesday leading up to the awards, she worked the radio remotes, where she escorted artists to their virtual radio interviews.

Wednesday, she worked the red carpet, helping move celebrity attendees through the line to be photographed.

Moll also worked the radio remotes, and though she’s worked other live events in the past, the event was unlike anything she’s done before, she said.

“Everything was scheduled down to the minute,” Moll said. “We had to be on our game as talent escorts,” she said.

Music business senior Jacob Mosier also felt the pressure of having to escort artists on a very detailed timeline. At one point, he even found himself in an awkward position while escorting singer-songwriter Chris Janson.

“He got to talking to Luke Bryan about deer hunting,” said Mosier. “It was a new feeling to have to break up Luke Bryan and Chris Janson, and say: ‘Come on, we got places and things to do,’” he said.

Belmont’s student delegation at the CMAs came into the volunteer opportunities by networking with internship connections and classmates or through the CMA EDU program.

Belmont used to have a CMA EDU chapter on campus, but as of 2020, the on-campus chapter converted into a yearlong professional development program managed by CMA directly.

“It helps you get a lot more involved in the country music industry outside of Belmont,” said music business junior Sarah Hudspeth.

So much of the Belmont community spends the CMAs taking in the festivities through the TV screen, but for those who were able to work the live event, it marked a defining moment in their emerging careers where they proved they can take on the demands of the industry.

“Going into the field that I want to go into, it was reassuring that I’m doing the right thing, knowing that I can control myself in this situation. I can see myself doing this,” said Hudspeth.

PHOTO: The CMAs stage at Bridgestone Arena, Nov. 10. Madison Moll.

This article was written by Ashley Huffman and Nicole Speyrer.

#CMAEDU #CountryMusicAwards #musicbusiness

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