Luke Bryan Manager Honored For Work In Country Music Industry

For Karri Edwards, a Lincoln County, W.Va., native and graduate of Duval High School, working as a manager in the country music industry is a labor of love – one that is clearly reciprocated, if a little mutual admiration from the Country Music Association is any indication.

Last month, the CMA named Edwards the 2014 Nashville Manager of the Year.

“It’s obviously an honor to be recognized by my peers and the industry, people I look up to on a daily basis.” Edwards said. “It’s more than an award, and there are other very successful and good people doing their jobs effectively, too.”

Photo: Wade Payne / Invision / AP
CMA Awards, Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn.

The CMA SRO (Standing Room Only) Awards honor the men and women behind the scenes, the industry’s unsung heroes who keep the touring industry up and running.

Edwards, who serves on the Academy of Country Music Board of Directors, said it was quite a surprise since she was at the event “in the role of a board member, instead of a nominee.”

“I wasn’t even thinking about it until I saw my family come in,” she explained. “I thought, ‘Wonder why they are here?’“

She soon found out.

Edwards’ business, KP Entertainment/Red Light Management, manages the music careers of country stars Luke Bryan, 2014 CMA Entertainer of the Year; Cole Swindell, perhaps best known for his 2013 hit, “Chillin’ It,” Kelleigh Bannen, who debuted in 2012 with “Sorry on the Rocks,” and newcomer Chancie Neal.

Even on the most challenging days, the job Edwards loves is its own reward.

Photo: Scott Legato /
DTE Energy Music Theatre, Clarkston, Mich.

“I feel really lucky to be able to do this job every day,” she said. “Music is something people rely on, sometimes just to get through their day. I get to help bring it to them.

“And, helping creative people live out their dreams and achieve their goals is an honor.”

What began as a part-time internship at Arista Records, while she completed her degree in communications from Nashville’s Lipscomb University 20 years ago, has become Edwards’ full-time career.

Today, she and her staff of roughly 75 handle “anything that has to do with the artists’ careers – touring, interviews and photos – every single aspect comes through my office,” she said.

Photo: James P. Hendershot
Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, Md.

Beyond a star-studded job, Edwards enjoys raising her children, a 13-year-old boy and 10-year-old girl, in Nashville, but says she’ll always have ties to West Virginia.

“It will always be special to me,” she said. “West Virginia is part of who I am. It’s where I come from and represents what I stand for.”