What does it mean to run a country music record label in 2023?
“I think a big part of going forward is widening people’s view,” said Cris Lacy, co-president of Warner Music Nashville, one of a handful of the city’s major label operations. “This is a label of American storytellers … it’s every storyteller.”
Earlier this year, Lacy joined tenured industry executive Ben Kline as co-president and co-chair of Warner Music Nashville, filling a position vacated by former label head John Esposito, who transitioned into an emeritus role at the company.
Kline and Lacy inherit a powerhouse roster of creative and commercial talent, including 2023 Grammy Award-winner Ashley McBryde, fast-rising Texas country singer Cody Johnson, stadium-sized favorite Kenny Chesney, genre-blending artist Breland, hitmaking force Blake Shelton, dominant pop-leaning duo Dan + Shay … and the list goes on.
Bringing decades of respective A&R and marketing experience to one of the most powerful positions on Music Row, Lacy believes the label can transcend long-standing genre stereotypes to connect one-of-a-kind artists with listeners looking for slices of real-life captured in relatable songs.