Emerging country artists grateful for those who paved the way

With more than a dozen artists of color performing on CMA Fest stages, up-and-coming artists said they recognize the hard work done by previous artists.
Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 8:24 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - With more than a dozen artists of color performing on official CMA Fest stages, up-and-coming country artists said they recognize all the hard work that’s been done by previous artists to make that a reality.

“You got people like Charlie Pride, who paved the way, and they you’ve got Darius Rucker, people like Blanco (Brown), Jimmie Allen. I looked up to those guys,” singer/songwriter Skyelor Anderson said.

Anderson said while artists like Rucker showed him there could be a place for minority artists in country music, making it happen hasn’t been easy.

“It’s been a lot of obstacles. It’s people that I know that have turned me down because of my color,” Anderson said.

But Anderson said the heart of country music is applicable to any artist, regardless of ethnicity.

“It’s not about always wearing boots and being in a jacked-up truck to be country music to me,” Anderson said. “When I did dig into it, it’s all about what you’ve been through.”

Now Anderson will get to share what he’s been through as he plays at CMA Fest for the first time this year. He said he first attended CMA Fest as a fan in 2013 and has wanted to play the festival ever since.

“It’s on my bucket list. I’ve got goosebumps just talking about it,” Anderson said.

He said he’s happy to see more artists of color playing at this year’s CMA Fest and hopes that number continues to grow.

“There needs to be more minorities in country music, period,” Anderson said.

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