Chart-topping UK songwriters and Nashville heavyweights join forces
Event hosted by PRS for Music in association with the Country Music Association
For the first time in UK and USA music history, chart-topping British pop songwriters joined forces with Nashville country music heavyweights in a bid to create transatlantic cross-country hits at London’s iconic Abbey Road Studios.
To celebrate the popularity and success of country music in the UK and beyond, British songwriters Wayne Hector (One Direction, Little Mix, Olly Murs, Westlife, Craig David, Nicki Minaj), Starsmith aka Finlay Dow-Smith (Paloma Faith, Jess Glynne, Kylie Minogue), Pete Hammerton (James Arthur, Britney Spears) and Jim Elliot (Will Young, Leona Lewis, Ellie Goulding) came together for one day only with Nashville hit makers Randy Houser, Eric Paslay, Angaleena Presley and Michael Tyler, for the first ever Nashville-to-London songwriting event.
This is the first time that US country writers have visited the UK en masse to create country music.
Known for honest heartfelt lyrics, the country genre has gone from strength to strength in the UK in the past five years. In 2015, British country act The Shires broke records by becoming the first country act to enter the UK Top 10 Official Chart with their debut album Brave, while a year later Ward Thomas secured the Number One spot with their second album, Cartwheels, in 2016.
In 2016, country accounted for 2.5% of all albums purchased in the UK, up from 2.1% in 2015. (BPI analysis/Official Charts Company).
According to independent market research body Nepa, a survey of nearly 1,000 people carried out in 2016 found that country music has seen the greatest share (30%) of new listeners in the last five years compared to other popular genres such as R&B (18%), pop (15%) and rock (11%).
Research also found that Millennials comprise the overwhelming majority of new listeners (64%), followed by Gen X’ers (29%), and Boomers (7%). A staggering 39% of UK adults listen to country music regularly; among these, 42% listen daily.*
Nashville-to-London saw two of the most historically significant music meccas come together in one space, for one day only, to create a new sound for the next generation. The birthplace of British pop, Abbey Road Studios, became a creative hub to US talent, encouraging the two music cultures to collaborate in this way for the very first time.
Hosted by PRS for Music, the UK’s leading performing rights organisation representing songwriters, composers and music publishers across the globe, and the Country Music Association (CMA), Nashville-to-London also saw bourgeoning young Irish country star Catherine McGrath, 20, lend her vocals to the songwriting camp, alongside esteemed singer Andy Brown and Twinnie.
I have been incredibly lucky to work with some of the world’s top artists and having already had the opportunity to work within the country music genre in Nashville, it’s exciting to see what we can achieve in a day in London at Abbey Road Studios.
Touring in the UK has been a dream of mine for a long time. Getting to visit Abbey Road and write there is almost unbelievable - the magic of that studio is so strong. I'm honoured to be able to get to know and write with songwriters from the UK - what a special opportunity for all of us.
The UK has some of the greatest writing talent on earth – and when it comes to country music, so does Nashville. So it just makes sense that we would combine the two in order to create something special, and where better for PRS for Music and the Country Music Association to unite such talent than the hallowed halls of Abbey Road’s Studio 2 where so many exceptional PRS songwriters from the Beatles right through to Ed Sheeran have recorded their songs over the years?
Music is more collaborative than ever before and we want to celebrate the incredible international talent that country music is inspiring. People from all over the world are enjoying the genre and we’re delighted to have US country writers on the ground participating in this landmark session.
Nashville-to-London is supported by Gibson and took place during Country Music Week, 2-8 October 2017.
Notes to Editors
Nepa research: This research was commissioned by the Country Music Association and carried out by Nepa en.nepa.com
*Research age categories:
• Millennials: 18-34 years old
• Gen X: 35-54 years old
• Boomers: Age 55+
BPI analysis/Official Charts Company stat: Sourced from ‘All About The Music 2017’, BPI
About PRS for Music
PRS for Music represents the rights of over 155,000 songwriters, composers, and music publishers in the UK and around the world. On behalf of its members, it works to grow and protect the value of their rights and ensure that creators are paid transparently and efficiently whenever their musical compositions and songs are streamed, downloaded, broadcast, performed and played in public. In 2020, 22.4 trillion performances of music were reported to PRS for Music, with £699m paid out in royalties to its members, making it one of the world’s leading music collective management organisations.
PRS for Music’s public performance licensing is now carried out on PRS for Music’s behalf by PPL PRS Ltd, the joint venture between PPL and PRS for Music.
About the Country Music Association
Founded in 1958, 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 7,800 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 Music Festival, which benefits music education and airs as “Music Fest,” a three-hour television special; 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. www.cmaworld.com