Nashville is known the world over as the Music City. What is much less well known is exactly how this nickname came to be. In fact, the term was not even coined by an American! Nashville earned the Music City moniker over a century ago, but it still lives up to the name to this day. Not only is Nashville a stop for aspiring musicians from around the globe, it is also the birthplace of many famous musical stars. Without further ado, here is some history and background on why Nashville is known as the Music City.
A Brief History of Nashville, Tennessee
Before European settlers inhabited the area, much of Tennessee was populated by the Mississippian tribe(s). It was not until 1717 when the first trading post was established in the area, effectively putting Nashville on the map. The first settlement would not come for another 62 years, being established in 1779 by an English settler named James Robertson. Nashville would become the capital of Tennessee in 1843.
The Civil War was not kind to Nashville, and the war years left the city decimated both physically and financially. Post-war, Nashville surged in population and economic strength, slowly growing into the major metropolitan area it is today. Nashville is now known as a rapidly growing tech center, musical hub, and great sports town!
Queen Victoria Dubs Nashville the Music City
So what about that nickname? Well “the Music City” name comes from a highly unlikely source: Queen Victoria, herself. Reports state that the monarch declared that a band of musicians must have come from “the Music City”, meaning Nashville. Understandably, there is some dispute over whether this statement ever truly took place. Regardless, the name stuck, and Nashville was more or less officially the US’s Music City by the 1950’s.
Nashville’s musical prowess began almost immediately after it was founded. The famous frontiersman Davy Crockett even got in on the act with his revered fiddle playing! Nashville’s Fisk University also played a large role in earning the city’s musical reputation by introducing a stellar music program, most notably their Fisk Jubilee Singers.
Modern Music History in Nashville
Of course that history has only grown in modern times. Modern acts including Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, and Willy Nelson have all helped to continue the rich tradition of Nashville Country and Soul music into the 20th century and into today. And of course we would be remiss not to mention the Grand Ole Opry. From the Opry’s own site:
“Dedicated to honoring country music’s rich history and dynamic present, the Grand Ole Opry showcases a mix of country legends and the contemporary chart-toppers who have followed in their footsteps. The Opry – an American icon and Nashville, Tennessee’s number-one attraction – is world-famous for creating one-of-a-kind entertainment experiences for audiences of all ages.”
This is not hyperbole. From some of the first country music shows to gain national traction to modern shows that continue to draw international attention, the Grand Ole Opry alone is enough for Nashville to earn its crown as the Music City! Shows from the Grand Ole Opry continue to be broadcast live on radio, satellite, and on TV for millions of listeners each year.
Music City is Still Going Strong in 2020
To bring this all home, Nashville remains the American (perhaps global) capital for all things music. Though it is most famous for its roots in the country genre, the current music scene in Nashville is modern, diverse, and laden with young talent. Interestingly, Nashville has done more to attract modern musicians from a variety of backgrounds in recent years rather than sticking with its country bent. This is also part of a larger effort to make the city more livable for young adults.
Nashville is still America’s Music City, competing alongside other juggernauts including San Francisco, Austin, and New York. What makes Nashville’s scene so unique is the blend of modern flair with American music history. Visitors can catch an Indie Rock show a few blocks from the Country Music Hall of Fame or watch a performance at the legendary Grand Ole Opry before catching a jazz show in a bar. Other major cities can boast robust music scenes, but nothing quite emulates the magic of the Music City.
Come Explore Nashville During SCALE 2020 this July!
July 22-25th 2020 marks the 15th annual Symposium for Cosmetic Advances & Laser Education SCALE conference! Join us in Nashville to discuss cutting edge technology relating to melanoma research, aesthetic surgery, laser surgery, medical dermatology, atopic dermatitis, injectables, and just about everything in between. We are proud to hold our conference in the world famous Music City Convention Center in downtown Nashville, TN. Check back frequently to view our full list of exhibitors and event sponsors to find out who will be attending.