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The Country Music Association Announces Kixstart Artist Scholarship

The Country Music Association has announced the launch of the inaugural CMA KixStart Artist Scholarship, a year-long program designed to provide emerging artists with unique professional and educational opportunities to help build a solid business foundation in the Country Music industry.

The CMA KixStart Artist Scholarship is named after former Chairman of the CMA Board and long-serving board member, Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn. An artist advocate, Brooks drove the creation of the CMA Board of Directors' Artist Relations Committee in 2006.

CMA and its staff will provide guidance throughout the program, helping connect each selected artist with professionals within the industry as well as providing educational support and opportunities to participate in CMA-related events during CMA Fest, CMA Songwriters Series and C2C: Country to Country festival in the U.K. A scholarship fund has been established by CMA to cover expenses related to the program.

"The KixStart Artist Scholarship program was developed by 2017 CMA Board Artist Relations Committee Chair, Marion Kraft and Vice Chair, Mary Hilliard Harrington, both visionary artist managers, as a means to provide one-of-a-kind mentorship to artists within our Country community," said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. "We're thrilled to open our arms to our artist community and offer these invaluable tools as these artists continue to invest in their growing careers."

"Last year when Mary Hilliard and Marion suggested we do something to better aid those artists that could use a little extra help, or a 'kick start' to help them over that tipping point, we all knew it was a good idea," said Brooks. "I suppose calling it KixStart was a little tip of the hat to me for getting this committee going in the beginning. I'm honored, but I'm not taking any credit for this one!"

"CMA and our entire community have always shown a great commitment to developing and nurturing new artists," said Karen Fairchild, CMA and CMA Foundation board member and Little Big Town member. "When I look back to the beginning of my own music career, I know for certain a program like this would have helped accelerate my start and given me a wealth of knowledge and understanding of the business side of the industry."

"CMA has been such a champion of my music and provided me a ton of opportunities to connect with my fans," said Luke Combs, CMA Awards New Artist of the Year nominee in 2017. "Just three years ago, I played the stage at Walk of Fame Park at CMA Fest for the very first time and this year I get to fulfill every new artist's dream of going across the river to play Nissan Stadium. Having CMA give me such a massive platform to play in front of a stadium full of passionate music fans is an honor. This new program will be an incredible launching pad for other artists' dreams to come true."

CMA KixStart Artist Scholarship submissions will be accepted starting Friday, June 1 at, where artists can review application and eligibility requirements. The deadline for submissions is Saturday, June 30 at 11:59 PM/CT.

About the Country Music Association:

Founded in 1958 and celebrating its 60th Anniversary in 2018, the Country Music Association is the first trade organization formed to promote a type of music. In 1961, CMA created the Country Music Hall of Fame to recognize artists and industry professionals with Country Music's highest honor. More than 7,400 music industry professionals and companies from around the globe are members of CMA. The organization's objectives are to serve as an educational and professional resource for the industry and advance the growth of Country Music around the world. This is accomplished through CMA's core initiatives: the CMA Awards, which annually recognize outstanding achievement in the industry; CMA Fest, which benefits the CMA Foundation and music education and is taped for a three-hour network television special, "CMA Fest"; and "CMA Country Christmas," featuring Country artists performing original music and Christmas classics for broadcast during the holiday season. All of CMA's television properties air on the ABC Television network through 2021.

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