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Thursday, June 28th, 2018
Beachcomberland Events

Searching for the Next Big Thing in Country Music…

Submitted by Lisa Captain: 

The Emerald Coast loves country music. And WYZB/NASH FM 105.5 has kicked off NASH Next 2018, the annual search for the Emerald Coast’s most outstanding country music talent. The local winner qualifies for the semi-final round of the competition to be judged by some of country’s brightest stars. Local artists may enter the competition via

The winner of this four-month-long national competition, announced by country music super-duo Florida Georgia Line, will receive a record deal under the Big Machine Label Group, home to such superstars as Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts and the reigning ACM New Male Vocalist of the Year Brett Young. The NASH Next 2018 winner will receive substantial exposure, commensurate with a major label release, on Cumulus Radio stations nationwide. While television boasts several talent competitions, coveted radio play is the most effective medium to cultivate an artist and propel a major music career.  

“Country has become America’s most popular music genre, with 99 million fans, many of whom are right here in the Destin/Fort Walton Beach area, listening to NASH FM 105.5," says WYZB promotions director Lisa Captain. "NASH Next is a great way for us to connect even more deeply with our growing community of country listeners, highlighting outstanding local artists and helping to discover the next country star.

"This competition celebrates country music and pays tribute to radio’s great legacy of launching America’s most beloved musical talent.”

The NASH Next 2017 winner, Radio Romance, released their debut single “Weekend” in April 2018 and cracked the top 50 country charts their first week on the radio. They also appeared at CMA Fest this June and will start their summer-fall tour this August.

“This whole experience has been truly incredible,” says Sam Hayes, lead singer of Radio Romance and NASH Next 2017 winner. “There is honestly no way to describe what it’s like when you hear your first single played on the radio or when you see your name on the country music charts.” 

How the Competition Works

Now through July 8, local artists may enter the competition via WYZB listeners in the community will rate each competitor’s original song, along with Emerald Coast music industry professionalsWYZB will then host a live event to select their finalist by a panel of judges on Saturday, Sept. 8 at The Village of Baytowne Wharf. 

The Emerald Coast winner will move on to the national challenge, where 10 finalists will be selected by industry professionals to compete at the national finale event – a live concert, hosted in Nashville in early October, where a panel of celebrity judges will announce the NASH Next 2018 winner.


Stellar National Mentor Panel

The top 10 finalists, and ultimately the 2018 winner, will be selected by a panel of country luminaries, including Scott Borchetta, founder, president and CEO of Big Machine Label Group, the world’s top independent record label; and Kix Brooks, half of Brooks & Dunn, one of country music’s most successful duos of all time. Additional celebrity judges to be announced at a later date. 

“I’m always on the hunt for great new talent and there’s arguably no better way to do it than through Country Radio,” says Mr. Borchetta. “In our fourth year with NASH Next, this program provides the Big Machine Label Group an incredible opportunity to have our eyes and ears on the ground in all of the great Cumulus Country radio markets. If you want to be next, enter now. Game on…”  

“I really enjoyed being part of NASH Next last year – the level of talent continues to get better and more competitive every year, and this music platform is working!" says Mr. Brooks. "It’s been fun to watch last year’s winner Radio Romance catch the wave and surf it to the next level of their career."