Nashville International Airport > News & Media > Press Releases > Arts at the Airport Partners with National Museum of African American Music to Launch Emerging Artists Concert Series at Nashville International Airport

Arts at the Airport Partners with National Museum of African American Music to Launch Emerging Artists Concert Series at Nashville International Airport

NASHVILLE – The Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority’s (MNAA) Arts at the Airport program, in partnership with the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM), will launch an Emerging Artists concert series on Oct. 30, 2013, from noon to 2 p.m. at Nashville International Airport (BNA).  The inaugural event will launch with a reception and a live performance on one of BNA’s stages by songwriter and local jazz musician, Sonja Hopkins.

The Emerging Artists Concert Series serves as a platform to showcase the different musical genres that people can experience in Music City while also introducing emerging artists. Arts at the Airport receives over 100 audition CDs each year, and this series was created to spotlight the best of this new talent. An emerging artist will be featured each month. Four of the performances will be in partnership with NMAAM. The collaborative concerts with NMAAM will showcase the talent and impact African Americans have on American culture and feature musicians who embody diverse musical and cultural perspectives. 

“We are proud to kick-off the Emerging Artist program with NMAAM,” Rob Wigington, president and CEO of MNAA, said. “Nashville is home to many different kinds of music.  At the airport, we are Nashville’s first impression for visitors, so we want passengers and visitors to understand and experience what Music City really means when they first arrive. Our music stages have always featured diverse musical styles and performers, and we are excited to partner with one of Nashville’s newest cultural museums.”

In addition to Sonja Hopkins’ performance, the two organizations will collaborate for three additional performances: 

● Dec. 11, 2013, Kiya Lacey - An Ella Fitzgerald Foundation award recipient, Kiya Lacey is a singer, songwriter, and producer.  Born and raised in Nashville, Tenn., Kiya has taken in all aspects of the Music City.  A 2013 graduate of Harpeth Hall, she plans to enroll in Belmont University to study music business and further indulge herself in pop, jazz, country, soul, and rap.  The passion behind all of Kiya’s music demonstrates her ambitious nature, and she hopes to continue to work with professionals in various aspects of the music industry.

● April 2, 2014, Joy Styles - Raised outside of Philadelphia, Joy has had a love of music since the age of four.  After finishing college and moving to New York, she quickly emerged as a rising star in the theatre scene, pursuing her passion for acting in Off-Broadway theatre, television, film and voiceovers.  She also starred as a “Raelette” with the Ray Charles Tribute Orchestra headed by Ray Charles’ manager, Joe Adams.  Finding her true voice in country music, Joy headed south to Nashville and began to sing and write with much success.  “The minute I landed, I knew Nashville would be home. It was just so peaceful. It felt right.”

● June 18, 2014, Michael B. Hicks - Michael has a unique blend of talent and humility rarely found in today’s music scene.  As an artist, writer, and performer, Mike is revered as one of the best in the diverse Funk and Soul music scene in Nashville and beyond.  His freshman album, This Is Life, highlights the talents of his writing ability, the moral message of his music, and the production talents of both himself and James Waddell.  When he’s not writing and performing his own original music, Hicks is on the road touring the world with Blues icon, Keb Mo.  International touring has lent him years of maturity that most young artists never get to experience. This interesting blend of influences and experiences has made him an artist to watch in Nashville.

“We appreciate MNAA partnering with us in this effort and look forward to broaden each artist’s story through this collaboration,” H. Beecher Hicks, III, NMAAM president & CEO, said. “MNAA has extended the ability of NMAAM to share the ability of music to emotionally tie people together–an undeniable component of American culture.”

For more information about the Emerging Artist Concert Series partnership and performances, please visit

National Museum of African American Music
As the only museum dedicated to the many offerings African Americans have made in music, the National Museum of African American Music serves a global landscape by commemorating and honoring the legacy, impact and influence of rhythm on over 50 music genres and styles.  Detailing the many dimensions of all types of music, NMAAM focuses on the musical impact on musicians and consumers around the world.  For more information, visit, Facebook: theNMAAM or Twitter: @theNMAAM.

Arts at the Airport
This year marks the 25th anniversary of MNAA’s award-winning Arts at the Airport program. Created in 1988, Arts at the Airport is an ever-growing, ever-changing showcase of cultural diversity and creative talent in Tennessee featuring both visual arts and live music performances. Working closely with the 15-member Arts at the Airport Foundation board, MNAA showcases the region’s visual and performing arts through its Arts at the Airport program, which receives some funding from the Tennessee Arts Commission. The award-winning Arts at the Airport program reviews and presents works by local, regional and national artists for the enjoyment and enrichment of Nashville International Airport and John C. Tune Airport’s passengers and visitors. In addition to visual art, Arts at the Airport includes music since it is an integral part of Nashville. The arts come alive with live musical performances on stages throughout BNA’s passenger terminal. For more information about Arts at the Airport, visit, Facebook: