Country music rising superstar Courtney Cole’s convictions run deep. She is passionate about many things but especially empowering individuals to believe that they can accomplish anything especially through their education.
Cole, who has been named one of CMT’s Next Women of Country, will share that message with concertgoers as she performs a free concert at State Fair Community College Wednesday night.
“Education is the reason I’m where I’m at today,” Cole said in a phone interview with the Democrat from her tour bus after an 11 day run on the east coast. “My education is very important to me and I want to share that with others to help them realize that the can accomplish so much through their education.
“It’s wonderful to have CMT behind this tour promoting education and helping others to realize that their dreams can become a reality because they stayed in school and got their degree,” she added. “My advice to anyone is to stay in school because having a degree is important for any job in today’s world.”
As the 2016 spokesperson for CMT’s Empowering Education initiative, Cole is encouraging others, young and old, to continue with their education past high school to receive their degree or professional certification.
“I know it’s not an easy thing to leave your family to go to college because I did that,” Cole said. “I grew up in Mandeville, Louisiana but I wanted to go to college to follow my love of music.
“I went to Belmont University in Nashville and got my degree in music therapy with an emphasis in music business,” she added. “I knew I needed to understand all side of the music business and not just performing.”
In 2009, Cole graduated from Belmont but not before her college, internship landed Cole a job with Black River Entertainment, a publishing firm in Nashville.
Cole said she worked her way up in the company starting as an assistant before beginning her own career.
“My first deal would not have been possible with my education and what I learned as a student,” Cole said. “I’ve written hundreds of songs, I really don’t know the exact number but I just kept at it and I still keep writing even today.
“There have been so many people who have influenced my work, from the Dixie Chicks and Shania Twain to Carrie Underwood and Mariah Carey, the list goes on and on,” Cole commented. “Probably one of the biggest influences on my career was Miranda Lambert’s, “Revolution”; that changed my songwriting and perspective on music.”
Cole herself probably did not realize the impact the album would have on her life when “Revolution” debuted in September of 2009, when six years later Cole became the opening act for Lambert’s 2015 “Roadside Bars and Pink Guitars” Tour.
“Last year and the tour was kind of a dream, it still doesn’t feel real to me,” Cole said. “I still can’t imagine and describe what it felt like performing for over 18,000 people a night touring with Miranda and Kenny Chesney.
“It’s been so much fun and it really doesn’t feel real even today,” she added. “That experience has been unbelievable and such a big influence on my work.
Cole said one of the messages she hopes to convey in her work is that it is okay not to be the cool girl.
“I really want people to realize that it’s okay to accept themselves for who they are,” Cole said. “That is a huge message for me, I never was the cool girl and I’m very unapologetic about staying true to myself.
“That’s part of what the Empowering Education Initiative is all about, they have options available for anyone to have the opportunity to graduate so they can make it,” Cole added. “It doesn’t matter if you are a single mom who doesn’t think she has the time, or if you are working to support a family and don’t think you have the financial means to go back to college or even begin college for the first time; the website (www.cmtempoweringeducation.com) can help you create or customize a plan so you can make it.”
The CMT Empowering Education Concert begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Fred E. Davis Multipurpose Center at State Fair Community College.
Representatives from SFCC and seven other community colleges will be present to discuss their programs and financial assistance at their respective colleges.
The concert starts at 6:30 p.m. with opening act Bluestem performing followed by Cole’s concert.
The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are still available at Admissions and Outreach in SFCC”S Hopkins Student Services Center or at the door on Aug. 10.
For more information on the CMT initiative, visit www.cmtempoweringeducation.com or on Twitter at #CMTEmpoweringEducation.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484.