Regions has long had a strong presence in the Nashville music industry. We’re the title sponsor of Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival, and have an office there dedicated to serving entertainment clients and their unique needs. The Regions Foundation donated $500,000 toward the construction of the National Museum of African American Music, which opened last fall. And Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert even filmed a 2014 video in a Nashville-area Regions branch for their song Somethin’ Bad. So when the Nashville Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Network hosted an event in honor of Women’s History Month, it only made sense to include the music industry.
On March 25 the network held a Women in Music virtual panel discussion featuring Regions’ Lisa Harless and Kari Barnhart, Nashville-based Private Wealth Advisors for the music and entertainment industry, as well as a panel of women who are part of the music industry there. Panelists included Demetrus Alexander, an gospel artist relations manager for Compassion International; Elaine Bryan, a business owner and business manager for multiple top country and Christian music artists; Debbie Carroll, vice president of health and human services for MusiCares, the charitable arm of the Recording Academy; and Mary Lauren Teague, a former Music Row attorney and current manager and instructor in the music business department at Belmont University. All of these women have paid their dues in the Nashville music scene, and had great insights and experiences to share.
Lisa served as the event’s facilitator, keeping the lively discussion going. Panelists tackled a variety of topics, from their personal backgrounds to their experiences in the music business to how the pandemic has impacted the industry. The conversation also included a discussion on gender in honor of Women’s History Month, and what it’s like for women artists in the industry. Women artists often have a harder time than men when it comes to being promoted by music companies, getting their songs on the radio, or securing producer opportunities. Lisa asked the panelists about these issues, and how they were helping make the music industry more equitable for female artists. Hear their replies in the video below.
The winner of the second annual Nashville and Middle Tennessee’s Exceptional Woman Award was also announced at the event. This award honors women in Middle Tennessee who live by the Regions mission and values. Greater Nashville Retail operations manager Laurie Williams was this year’s winner, nominated by her peers for the award. Congratulations Laurie!