NZ IDOL finalist Ashley Cooper will help launch the biggest country music festival in the world with a star-spangled concert in Nashville next month, thanks to the efforts of Kiwi Pro-Am Country Music Organisation of New Zealand.
The beautiful young star, described as the “Kylie Minogue of New Zealand”, will perform at the Global Artists Party on June 8 at The Stage in Nashville’s legendary Honk Tonk Strip on Broadway — a concert that only a select few international artists are chosen to represent their country at.
The concert will be attended by managers, talent scouts and a who’s who of the country music industry looking to discover the next big thing. The sell-out party will be televised by “Headline Country”, screened on GAC (Great American Country) and watched in 60 million homes across the USA.
It is a precursor to the CMA Music Festival to run from June 11-14 in Downtown Nashville, attended by more than 200,000 people over the week and featuring some of the world’s biggest country music stars including this year Brooks & Dunn, Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift.
Ashley – formerly from Cambridge and more recently Papamoa – will perform five songs during the concert, becoming the first artist to ever represent New Zealand at the event. She was selected by the Country Music Association’s Global Task Force after she won the National Country Music Horizon Award last year.
She will sing: All Jacked Up (Gretchen Wilson), Things I Should Have Said (Kelly Archer), Didnt I (Rachel Proctor), All Gonna Have A Good Time (Glenn Mitchell) and Swept Away (Karen O’Shea).
“She is one of New Zealand’s most exciting discoveries,” says Tania Vollebregt from the Kiwi Pro-Am Country Music Organisation. “Ashley has all the attributes, with massive media appeal, magnetic stage presence, and a voice that evokes the essence of the story in the song. She represents the future of country music in New Zealand.
“We will watch and listen with huge interest as she breaks into the world of the very best of international music. A truly Olympic event!
“No other New Zealand artist has been given this major crack at stardom. Country music is the world’s most listened to genre, and sells the most live concert tickets of any music in the world today.”
Country legend Keith Urban’s former manager Rob Potts (International Director CMA America) says it’s very encouraging for country music in this part of the world to see NZ establishing international pathways for their young artists. Kiwi Pro-Am Country Music has been a major force in connecting with the CMA to drive this outcome.”
She began singing at the age of 11 years old and has since realised a wide range of achievements throughout the New Zealand Country Music Awards circuit including numerous overall titles
In 2005, she gained top seven status on the NZ hit TV show “NZ Idol”. Following this, she went on to release a single “I Want You” which reached number nine on the NZ top 40 charts, before touring New Zealand and Australia to audiences numbering in the thousands.
Ashley is also an accomplished songwriter and along with her partner Michael Tipping has penned several great songs, some of which have won awards throughout New Zealand.
Forming a contemporary country music duo named 2AM; the couple has performed live at various events around New Zealand.
Ashley recently won the 2008 Horizon Award at the National Country Music Awards, which has given her the opportunity to perform in Australia as a guest artist at one of the Telstra Road to Tamworth Heats.
“I’m so excited, and can’t wait to further my career. I’m so grateful for the opportunities winning the Horizon Award has given me” says Ashley
NCMA (National Country Music Awards), the Professional music awards, are held annually in Hamilton. This year’s event is on August 15.