Since 1958, the Country Music Association has been committed to advancing the growth of Country Music around the world. During those six decades, numerous initiatives have been created and launched by the CMA Board of Directors with the goal of developing new audiences and providing artists at every level an opportunity to succeed.

The best example of that mission at work is CMA Fest, which started in 1972 as Fan Fair and has evolved into a four-day showcase for format superstars and aspiring talent. So, it was no coincidence that we launched our latest artist initiative leading into this year’s event.

The inaugural CMA KixStart Artist Scholarship is a year-long program designed to provide emerging artists with unique professional and educational opportunities to help build a solid business foundation. The program is named for Kix Brooks, who is a former Board Chair and an outspoken advocate for our artist community including the creation of the Artist Relations Committee in 2006.

It was this Committee, led by Chair Marion Kraft and Vice-Chair Mary Hilliard Harrington, that spearheaded the creation and development of the KixStart Artist Scholarship. The Committee and Board agreed that dedicating resources to help develop and nurture new artists was consistent with the organization’s objectives of serving as an educational and professional resource for our community.

During the program, CMA staff will provide guidance connecting each selected artist with industry professionals, as well as providing educational support and opportunities to participate in CMA-related events including CMA Fest, the CMA Songwriters Series, and C2C: Country to Country festival in the U.K.

CMA KixStart Artist Scholarship submissions will be accepted at, where interested artists can review the application and eligibility requirements. The deadline for submissions is Saturday, June 30 at 11:59 PM/CT.