The Grand Ole Opry has officially announced the Opry NextStage Lineup for 2023, spotlighting country music’s rising talent and investing in the discovery of new artists!
The Opry NextStage Class of 2023 features eight acts: Ashley Cooke, Jackson Dean, ERNEST, Chapel Hart, Corey Kent, Kameron Marlowe, Megan Moroney and Ian Munsick.
Get to know these talented up-and-coming artists who are continuously reshaping the world of country music below.
Ashley Cooke is a rising country star whose music is characterized by authentic and honest storytelling. She grew up between the coasts of California and Florida and developed her love for country music in high school, listening to artists such as Rascal Flatts, Jason Aldean, and Florida Georgia Line. Cooke pursued her passion for music at Belmont University, where she won the Country Showcase, joining the ranks of winners such as Brad Paisley, Chris Young, Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line, and others.
Jackson Dean, a singer/songwriter from Odenton, Maryland, is recognized for his raw, vintage approach to country music. Despite his young age, Jackson holds a fearless and liberated essence, having ventured out on his own at the age of 18 to follow his dream. He channels this same spirit into his songwriting. He was an opening act for Kane Brown, Jake Owen, and Brothers Osborne, resulting in a record deal with Big Machine Records in 2021.
ERNEST is a country singer/songwriter born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. ERNEST has written songs for several popular country artists, including Florida Georgia Line, Jake Owen, and Chris Lane. In 2019, he signed a record deal with Big Loud Records and released his debut single, “I Think I Love You.” Recently, he has hit the road to open for Morgan Wallen on his One Night At A Time Tour.
Chapel Hart is a country music trio consisting of sisters Danica Hart, Devyn Hart, and cousin Trea Swindle. They grew up in Poplarville, Mississippi, and began performing together as children. The group takes their name from the town’s Chapel Hill community.
Chapel Hart’s music blends traditional country sounds with pop and R&B influences. They have cited artists like Miranda Lambert and Beyonce as inspirations.
The group received recognition from Season 17 of America’s Got Talent. They finished the competition in 5th place, furthering there career afterwards. They made their Opry debut in September 2022.
Born and raised in Bixby, Oklahoma, Corey Kent developed a passion for country music at a young age. He found inspiration in the music of fellow Oklahoman Garth Brooks, and by the time he was 11 years old, he was already performing in public.
In 2015, White took his talents to the national stage as a contestant on the popular singing competition, The Voice. He was chosen for the show’s eighth season and became a member of coach Blake Shelton’s team. Although he was ultimately eliminated from the competition in the final eight, his performances on the show earned him a spot on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts.
In 2016, White released his debut album, Long Way, showcasing his distinctive country sound and songwriting skills. He was signed to RCA Records Nashville in 2022.
Kameron Marlowe is a country singer and songwriter from Kannapolis, North Carolina. He gained recognition in 2019 with his debut single “Giving You Up,” which he independently released. Marlowe’s sound is rooted in traditional country music with a modern edge, and he has cited influences such as Keith Whitley, Randy Travis, and George Strait. He competed on season 15 of The Voice, Joining Blake Shelton‘s team. He was eliminated in the Live Playoffs Top 24 episode but went on to sign with Columbia Records Nashville.
Megan Moroney is an up-and-coming country music singer from Savannah, Georgia. During her childhood, she developed a love for country music and learned how to play the piano. While studying at the University of Georgia, she had the opportunity to open concerts for Chase Rice and Kristian Bush of Sugarland. Following her graduation, she relocated to Nashville, Tennessee in 2020 to pursue a career in music. She charted her first single, “Tennessee Orange,” in 2022. The single won Moroney her first CMT Award for Breakthrough Female Video of the Year at the 2023 CMT Awards.
Ian Munsick, a Wyoming-born singer/songwriter, is known for his fresh style of country music. Growing up, Munsick worked on a ranch while also performing for audiences with his two older brothers. His father played the fiddle, so music was always a part of his family. From there, he played genres that ranged from Bluegrass to music by The Beatles. Munsick relocated to Nashville and released a self-titled EP in 2017. The track “Horses Are Faster” earned him iHeartRadio‘s Rocky Mountain Song of the Year award and made him the only artist to have two tracks simultaneously qualify as finalists in the NSAI/CMT songwriting competition.
Fast-forward to 2021, Munsick has signed a major record deal with Warner Music Nashville, earned over 100 million global streams, and has been selected as one of Spotify’s inaugural Hot Country Artists to Watch.
The Grand Ole Opry will officially introduce the new NextStage class with an Opry NextStage Live concert at Lava Cantina in Colony, Texas, on May 10 at 2:30 p.m., leading up to the 58th annual Academy of Country Music Awards on May 11.
“Opry NextStage Live” will also stream live on Circle Network’s Facebook and YouTube pages on Wednesday, May 10 at 2:30pm CT, hosted by Jelly Roll.
Tickets will be available through an exclusive pre-sale beginning Thursday, April 13, at 10 a.m. CT. General public on-sale will begin Friday, April 14, at 10 a.m. CT via Eventbrite.
About Opry NextStage
Since 2019, the NextStage program has introduced new talent to the country music fan base and featured artists such as Riley Green, Parker McCollum, Tenille Townes and Lainey Wilson, who all went on to earn ACM New Male and Female Artist of the Year trophies the year following their NextStage inclusion. Other NextStage alumni include Priscilla Block, BRELAND, Callista Clark, Travis Denning, Tegan Marie, Niko Moon, Restless Road, Jameson Rodgers, Elvie Shane, Nate Smith, Morgan Wade, Hailey Whitters and Yola. Audiences around the world look to the Opry to showcase the very best in country music, and it was with this tradition that Opry NextStage was created.