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Jessie Ritter is Cumulus Media's NASH Next 2018 Winner


Jimmy Harnen, Cindy Watt, Jessie Ritter, Terri Clark and Dann Huff
Jimmy Harnen, Cindy Watt, Jessie Ritter, Terri Clark and Dann Huff

Jessie Ritter from Fort Walton Beach, FL, is the winner of Cumulus Media's 4th annual NASH Next competition -- a national and local grassroots search for the newest Country star. The final competition event featured live performances from the top ten national finalists, and a special performance by Radio Romance, last year's NASH Next winner whose single "Weekend" rose to the Top 40 on the Country airplay charts.

"So darn likeable," "Very exciting and just delightful" and "You nailed it" were a few of the comments by the NASH Next judges to describe Ritter's performance. The winning band accepted their high-praise and went on to win the top honor and will receive national radio airplay on Cumulus Media's radio outlets, and a recording contract with Nash Next Records under the Big Machine Label Group (BMLG) umbrella.

Ritter said, "I'm very excited and blessed for this opportunity. God has given me patience and strength throughout this entire process and I'm humbled to be crowned the NASH Next winner. This is where I'm meant to be and I can't wait for the adventure that lies ahead!"

The winner of NASH Next was selected by a panel of Country music and industry professionals including Jimmy Harnen, BMLG Records President/EVP BMLG; Dann Huff, record producer and guitarist credited with multiple CMA and ACM Musician of the Year awards; Cindy Watts, 15-year veteran Country music reporter; and Terri Clark, platinum Country artist and host of national radio show, Country Gold.

Mike McVay, EVP Programming and Content, Cumulus Radio Station Group and Westwood One, commented, "Radio leads the way when it comes to music discovery," commented. "NASH Next genuinely discovers new artists, enables all of the contestants to be heard and allows the winners to take advantage of an amazing opportunity to have their music backed by a major label as well as played nationally on the radio."

The nine runners-up who performed at the event included:

  • Brecken Miles representing Appleton, WI (WPKR-FM)
  • Murphy's Ford representing Columbia/Jefferson City, MO (KBBM-FM)
  • Harper Grace representing Dallas, TX (KSCS-FM/KPLX-FM)
  • Lane Mack representing Lafayette, LA (KXKC-FM)
  • Justin Rivers representing Montgomery, AL (WLWI-FM)
  • Jessica Rose representing New York, NY (WNSH-FM)
  • Pearl Clarkin representing Pensacola, FL (WXBM-FM)
  • The NATU Band representing Peoria/Bloomington, IL (WFYR-FM, WBWN-FM, WJBC-FM)
  • Brian Fuller representing Savannah, GA (WJCL-FM)

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