More than country: How Nashville is appealing to visitors through music

Posted at 12:23 PM, Aug 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-23 18:19:49-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — After another record-breaking year for tourism in Music City, the Nashville Convention and Visitor’s Corporation is still looking to grow the numbers by appealing to more culturally diverse visitors through a new promotional campaign.

Emmy, Grammy and Dove Award winner Shannon Sanders’s song ‘We Are Music City’ is his message to the world about Nashville’s eclectic musical heritage.

“We say Music City, which is representative of all music, all genres and that’s who we are, and it’s always been that way,” said Sanders, who is also a member of the Metro Tourism and Convention Commission.

In fact, many people say the term Music City was actually coined by Queen Victoria in the 1800's when she responded to a performance by the Fisk Jubilee Singers by saying “they must be from a city of Music.”

“Having toured the world, and having played music around the world, I know how special we are. That’s why I can say we’re music city. I know for a fact we’re Music City,” said Sanders.

In Sander’s song you’ll hear elements of hip hop, R&B, and even country.

“There’s a rhythm to the city. That’s why people are friendlier here. There’s always a song in the air. There’s always a song on the heart,” Sanders said.

That unifying theme is one of the reasons the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp is using the song in a new promotional campaign.

Last year a record breaking 15.8 million people visited Nashville, and that number is up more than a million from the year before.

Marie Sueing leads the CVC’s multicultural outreach effort and says there’s a big opportunity to reach even more tourists as the city sees a spike in interest to host conventions for minority organizations.

“We’re a very friendly city and welcoming city to all and we want people to know that and I think that’s why we’re growing,” Sueing said.

The Ryman Auditorium is a must see for tourists here in Nashville, but just right across the street the National Museum of African American Music is under construction and set to open at Fifth and Broadway next summer.

The museum is just one more effect that’s expected to draw potential conventions, and tourist from around the world.

“What’s exciting about right now and the video that’s been produced is finally the world gets to see the diversity of the city and see who we truly are,” said Sanders.