Country Music: Past, Present, Future Seminar

Exploring the deep roots of Country Music, the inspiration behind today’s country artists and how country music’s sound will evolve into tomorrow. Delving into the history of a uniquely created art form: Country Music. From its deep and tangled roots in ballads, blues and hymns performed in small settings, to its current worldwide popularity. Country music is a genre loved by many, and can be found in the most unexpected places. Ode’s to country legends can be seen on streets, and in the Grand Ole Opry, in Nashville, to the streets, buses and in the many country and western karoke bars of St. Lucia. The sonic excellence is loved by all, with sounds that mix with rock, pop and hip hop. From Mexico to Guyana, Nunuvat to Wyoming, Toronto to LA, the sound continues to reach new and old audiences alike. Join us in a discussion that talks about how country music has evolved over the course of the 20th century, where it is now, and where we see it going.

Meet our keynote, host, and panelists!

Sharon Hinds

CCMA Board Member

Sharon Hinds, a true authentic inclusive leader with over 25 + years of International & Canadian career experience gained across multiple industry sectors. She is extremely passionate about Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging initiatives.

During her childhood years, Sharon, grew up listening to country music in Guyana, South America. She was fortunate incredibly early in her broadcasting career to work for Toronto 1st New Country Radio station “CISS 92.5FM and NCN now known as CMT. During her 6-year tenure at CISS 92.5FM, Sharon had the privilege to meet amazing country legends such as Garth Brooks & Shania Twain in person.

One of Sharon’s proudest accomplishments is receiving the 2020 Award for Canada’s Accomplished Black Women (ABC) for Leadership in Community Philanthropy initiatives.

Sharon is very passionate about mentoring & coaching as such she has volunteered her time by facilitating various workshops for these organizations…McMaster University Black Engineering students “The Hunt” program, Reelworld Film Festival E20 program, Dr. Jean Augustine Centre for Young Women, YMCA Black Achievers program and the Toronto Regional Immigration Employment Centre.

Sharon is a board member for the Canadian Country Music Association and Women In Film & Television.

In her current role, Sharon leads the Rogers Sports & Media All IN Inclusion and Diversity Initiative.

Morgan "MJ" James

Pure Country

Morgan James (MJ) has worked in radio broadcasting for ten years, beginning her radio career in sales. Morgan’s outgoing personality, however, led to a Morning Show position at a pop station in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Shortly after, Morgan moved on to a locally operated and Indigenous-owned Hip Hop, R&B, and Soul station, where she continued to hone her skills as an on-air host. With a passion like no other, her knowledge of music eventually led to a Music Director position while also working in the production and promotions departments. After five years and a station rebrand, Morgan continued as the Music Director and Host at NOW Country for the same organization. In the role, she ensured that the station offered a playlist like no other in Canada while focusing on up-and-coming and underrepresented artists and communities. Morgan’s dedication to the Country format was recognized with a second-ballot CCMA Country Personality of the Year nomination in 2022. A year later, she was offered a position with Pure Country Radio in London, Ontario, where she continues demonstrating her enthusiasm and knowledge of Country music as the genre continues to evolve in Canada. Aside from her work within the music industry, Morgan also advocates mental health awareness. She held a seat on the board of directors with Klinic Community Health in Winnipeg until her move to London.



Making a name for herself since the release of her EP “The Best Thing” in July 2020, SACHA is one of Canada’s fastest rising stars. Becoming an iHeartRadio’s “Future Star” following the success of her latest single with The Reklaws, “What the Truck” (21 million+ global streams), SACHA has since been named as a member of CMT’s Next Women Of Country 2021 class and earned her first PLATINUM single alongside The Reklaws with their viral hit track “What The Truck,” which was the the fastest-ever Canadian country song to go PLATINUM in history. She performed the track alongside The Reklaws to close out the national broadcast of the 2021 CCMA Awards.

Featured in major television, print and online press including CMT, Music Row Magazine, American Songwriter, Rolling Stone Country, Billboard and The Boot, SACHA has also appeared on A-list editorial playlists (U.S. and Canadian) on Spotify, Apple & Amazon Music. Kicking off 2022, SACHA released her sophomore EP “We Did” and saw the music video for its track "Pretty Please" debut in Times Square. Nominated for Rising Star at the 2022 CCMA Awards and the CMAOntario Awards, this fall she landed her first-ever CCMA Award for Top Selling Canadian Single (“What The Truck”). That same weekend SACHA was also named the winner of SiriusXM's Top of The Country contest and then spent this past fall on the road across the US with Maddie and Tae. Fresh off her Canadian anthem performance at the 2023 NHL All Star game, and the release of her latest single "Confident" feat. Tyler Shaw, SACHA is primed for an incredible year ahead.

Steven Lee Olsen


Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Steven Lee Olsen’s path to mainstream success has been a lengthy yet admirable and rewarding journey. Born and raised in a suburb of Toronto, Olsen moved to Nashville in 2004 to pursue his dreams of being a songwriter. He spent years in Music City working on his songwriting skills by drawing upon his R&B, soul, country and pop influences, eventually breaking into the upper echelons of Nashville songwriters. Olsen’s work has been recorded by some of Country music’s most significant artists like Keith Urban, Garth Brooks, Rascal Flatts, Billy Currington, The Judds, Dallas Smith and many others. He has notched impressive accolades, including two No.1 hits in the US with his Grammy-nominated, double-platinum certified song “Blue Ain’t Your Color” performed by Keith Urban and “More Girls Like You” performed by Kip Moore. He also went No.1 in Canada with co-writing credits on the platinum hit “Drop,” performed by Dallas Smith.

The War and Treaty


Their name alone conjures images of struggle. Of epic conflict, sacrifice and the eventual birth of a lasting peace. For UMG Nashville’s The War And Treaty, that struggle is found within love itself, and it forms the heart of a milestone album.
Marking the first major-label release from the acclaimed husband-and-wife duo of Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Trotter, LOVER’S GAME lands like a romantic bomb, helping a critically acclaimed duo with a force-of-nature sound explode into the mainstream.

A powerhouse vocal duo, CMA Award nominated Vocal Duo of the Year, internationally renowned and long appreciated for live shows built on revival-like intensity, The War And Treaty now reach the next creative level. Truly honest, LOVER’S GAME finds a trailblazing act exploring their own maturing relationship. Revealing and bold, it offers unique perspective on shifting cultural tides, and the impact of a global pandemic. Taken as a whole, it’s the beginning of a new campaign to expand their borders and win the hearts and minds of country music.
Founded in Michigan in 2014, hints of that truth have always been present. But until now, their floor-shaking vocal prowess has stolen the show. Wielding a sound which cuts through the whole of Southern music tradition – from blues, soul and R&B, to gospel, country, folk and rock – the duo has dominated stages across the globe, headlining their own shows and opening for a diverse group of living legends; Al Green, Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell, John Legend, Lauren Daigle, and Van Morrison among them.
Earning respect, they’ve gone on to appear as top-flight collaborators, and they’ve also been recognized by the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Grand Ole Opry and the Americana Music Association (who named The War And Treaty its 2022 Duo/Group of the Year). But LOVER’S GAME is like a declaration of independence.