Monday, March 31, 2008
– Kenny Chesney reported Monday he has received strong response to his Next Big Star competition of looking for local country acts to open his shows during his summer tour, although exact details were not released.
"I didn't know what to expect," said Chesney. "In some ways, it was a crazy idea and in others, it's a lot of work, but when I look at those fans, think about their dream and how I might get somebody doing what I was doing a few years ago a little bit closer to it, it just seemed like the right thing. This response shows me the fans are as psyched up about it as I am."
Working with a local radio station in each tour market, there will be on-air, online and on-site promotions soliciting video and/or audio submissions that include at least one original song and covers by any act that is not part of their respective Poets & Pirates line-up in the competition. All contestants must be at least 21 years old and currently without a recording contract.
Submissions will be culled by the radio station to their Top 10 choices. A panel of Music Row professionals will select the Final 4 - who will each have 15 minutes to show a local club why they're "the next Big Star." For the live competition - which will be judged by a radio personality, a venue staff member, a guest judge and audience response - will be comprised of only original songs.
"The song is everything," Chesney said. "When I came to Nashville, it was to try and be a writer, to figure out how to put real life to music and my first break was getting signed to Acuff-Rose Music Publishing, where Hank Williams was once signed. I think to have that edge today, you need to write and since the Grand Prize winner gets to audition for the SONYBMG Nashville A&R team, I want the winner to have a really good shot of getting that record deal. I'd like to think I helped somebody get about the hardest thing there is to get: a deal."
In the first stadium markets, the Next Big Star competition will be held the night before. In amphitheater and arena markets, the event will be 7 to 10 days prior to the show. Submissions for both will begin in the vicinity of three weeks out, but will be specific to each market. Details can be found at Chesney's web site.