We’re bringing you stories from women who are chasing their dreams and building a life that they love with New York Country Swag’s, “Woman of the Month.”
Each month, we highlight a different female pursuing her passions. Introducing you to women who are taking risks, working relentlessly and turning their dreams into reality. These are empowering women who serve as role models and should be celebrated.
For our March Woman of the Month, we wanted to feature a female in the industry who not only has an incredible story but also works daily to champion other female artists and women in general who are working tirelessly to make their dreams of working in the music industry come true. Leslie Fram is currently the Senior VP of Music Strategy for CMT (Country Music Television) in Nashville, but this small town Alabama native didn’t always didn’t only listen to country music growing up. She tells us in a recent interview that thanks to her older brother, her musical influences ranged a few different genres including artists like Led Zeppelin and Heart to Jackson Browne and The Eagles. “I listened to the radio late at night and picked up stations across the country in all different genres, which is how my passion for radio was born,” she recalls.
Before moving to Nashville, Fram pursued a career in radio, first in Top 40 radio in Mobile, Alabama then, an Alternative Rock station in Atlanta and most recently, right here in the Big Apple rocker 1019RXP as Program Director and Morning Show co-host. Before her move into country music, Fram had already racked up a ton of recognition in music, being named the first woman to receive the TJ Martell Award in recognition of outstanding performance in the music industry in 2000 and in 2009 she was honored as a Lifetime Achievement Inductee in the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame.
We discussed how the transition in 2011 into country music from rock music and out of radio into television affected her. “The first year at CMT was a whirlwind, getting to know a whole new set of industry folks and learning the job. The team (which is more like a family) at CMT made the transition so smooth,” she explains. She made sure to take meetings in town to meet more of the industry and at night to attend shows, so that she could learn all about what the country music genre had to offer.
Now, a typical day in the life of the Senior VP of Music Strategy includes getting to the office early, most weeks she takes breakfast meetings before her day even officially begins. Some of her days are back to back until 5:00 or 6:00 PM, filled with meetings about all things CMT including label calls, meetings about all CMT events, catching up with artist’s teams and even a weekly meeting where she watches all of the videos that come in and will be played on the platform. Once her busy day ends, her and her team divide and conquer all of the incredible music related events or concerts that go on on a nightly basis including industry showcases, #1 parties and heading to see new acts or shows. “Because of my hectic lifestyle, I try to remain healthy and get as much sleep as possible (when I can!) in order to keep up,” she tells us. “I love working on a project from beginning to end and strategizing with our team. We are truly thankful for what we all get to do and that we get to do it in Music City!”
One of the main initiatives Fram has been a part of since her start at CMT is championing women in the genre. We were so interested to hear her take on the situation and what made her decide to work to bring equality to the genre. “It was shocking to see the lack of support for all of these amazing female artists when I moved to Nashville. When I starting actually speaking with them and hearing stories of what they were going through, I knew we had to do something.” And so they did, creating CMT Next Women of Country which has now introduced countless female artists to fans all over the country. Now, the franchise has expanded from simply a yearly event to 5 years of annual tours, a digital music series and more. They even just announced that for the first time, this year’s class will be going international, and to USO bases overseas. “I am so proud that we have helped launch the careers of amazing women like Kelsea Ballerini, Maren Morris, Lauren Alaina, and RaeLynn,” Fram says. “CMT has given its full support to this franchise, including last year’s unprecedented ‘Artists Of The Year’ awards show, which honored all women for the first time ever.”
New York Country Swag’s 2o18 Babes, Booze & Brunch event featured Hannah Ellis who is now currently on the 2019 CMT Next Woman of Country tour with Cassadee Pope and Clare Dunn and we can’t wait to catch the show next month at Gramercy Theatre. We were also honored to have Stephanie Quayle, a member of the 2019 class, perform at our Babes, Booze & Brunch event earlier this month.
We couldn’t let such an icon in the country music industry go without asking about advice that she has for women trying to follow their country music dreams and specifically for our company. Fram said, “Follow your passion and find your champions! You are offering a service that can help mentor artists and industry professionals, which is such important work. Sometimes all it takes is a little encouragement!”
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