CMT Bows New Franchise, ‘Smashing Glass: A Celebration of the Groundbreaking Women of Music’

CMT will salute pioneering women artists with CMT Smashing Glass: A Celebration of the Groundbreaking Women of Music, a new franchise that premieres Nov. 15. 

R&B legend Patti LaBelle and country icon Tanya Tucker are the first two recipients. They will be honored for breaking down barriers by artists they’ve inspired before each recipient will perform. The acts participating in the salutes will be announced shortly.

“We’re beyond excited to bring this electrifying and empowering new franchise to life by honoring iconic women who’ve fearlessly smashed glass ceilings and kicked in doors, holding them wide open for past, present and future generations,” said Margaret Comeaux, CMT’s senior vp  of production, music & events and executive producer, in a statement. “Both Patti and Tanya deserve to be celebrated for continuing to set the industry gold standard with boundary-breaking crossover success, bold, uncompromising lives and careers, and creating timeless music and impact that remains as powerful and relevant as ever.” 

LaBelle, who began her career in the early 1960s, is best known for such hits as “Lady Marmalade” (with her group LaBelle), and as a solo artist with “You are My Friend,” “New Attitude” and “Stir It Up.” The multiple Grammy winner has also made her mark as an actress in such film and TV projects as A Soldier’s Story, A Different World and Out All Night.

Tucker, who was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame earlier this month, was still a teenager when she began topping the charts in the ‘70s with songs like “Delta Dawn” and ”Would You Lay With Me.” She experienced a career resurgence when her 2019 album, While I’m Livin’ won the Grammy for best country album.

Additionally, CMT Smashing Glass will posthumously pay tribute to a trio of women artists with “Moments of Respect” performances that will salute Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner and Sinead O’Connor: “Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, who forever altered the path for women with her legacy of demanding ‘R.E.S.P.E.C.T,’ the ‘Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Tina Turner, who empowered the world with her resilience, and Sinead O’Connor, who broke the traditional ‘pop star’ mold and used her life and music to illuminate the world’s burning issues,” added Patizia DiMaria, executive producer.

In addition to Comeaux and 21st Floor Productions’ DiMaria, the rest of the all-female production team includes director Lauren Quinn, who also serves as an executive producer with DiMaria and Michelle Mahoney. Jackie Barba and Heather D. Graffagnino are executives in charge of production, Leslie Fram is executive in charge of talent and Suzanne Bender is talent producer. 

“CMT Smashing Glass is a grand finale to a landmark 2023 which we dedicated as our ‘Year of the Woman,’” said Fram, who is CMT’s senior vp of music and talent. “Kicking off in January with a milestone 10th anniversary of the Next Women of Country  (NWOC) franchise, we celebrated female voices across all programming and events—from our women-led headliners at CMT Music Awards and ‘Equal Play’ honoree Shania Twain, to bi-monthly NWOC artist showcases and the greenlight of our CMT Defining series, we remain dedicated to ‘Equal Play’ and advocating for the trailblazers of the past, superstars of the present and the future voices in our format.”

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