Meet the Mentors

Museum Staff Mentors

Aaron Helvig

Associate Director of Music Programs

Aaron oversees the Museum’s flagship education program, Words & Music™, which serves thousands of students and audiences each year. Prior to joining the Museum’s education team in 2019, Aaron taught at Nashville’s Isaiah T. Creswell Middle School of the Arts. He has served as a guest instructor, clinician and judge for various music festivals, camps and organizations in Tennessee and his native Arizona, as well as an education curriculum consultant for Quaver Music. Aaron performs regularly in Nashville with his acoustic duo, Emberland. As a trombone player, he has performed with artists including Danny Gokey, the Jacksons, and the Temptations. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music education and a master’s degree in music from Northern Arizona University.

Adam Ollendorff

Senior Manager of Music Programs

Adam is a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who co-wrote “Moonlight, Mistletoe, and You,” the title cut on Keb’ Mo’s 2019 holiday album, which spent four weeks at #1 on the Billboard blues album chart. He has also written songs with Natalie Hemby, Jim Lauderdale, and Maren Morris. Adam has toured and recorded with Will Hoge, Kacey Musgraves, and John Oates—playing pedal steel, Dobro, and guitar—and has appeared on recordings by J.D. McPherson and Carrie Underwood. He has performed on the Country Music Association Awards, the Grammys, the Late Show with David Letterman, and The Tonight Show, and alongside Loretta Lynn, NEEDTOBREATHE, Willie Nelson, Katy Perry, and Lee Ann Womack. Adam holds degrees from Princeton University and Berklee College of Music.

Annie Adams

Words & Music Manager

Annie Adams is originally from Woodridge, IL, growing up just west of Chicago. Prior to joining the Museum’s education team, Annie taught voice, piano, guitar, and songwriting to students of all ages. Annie has been an active member of Nashville’s music scene since she arrived in 2009, writing and performing original country/Americana music regularly under the stage name Annie Kennedy.  In 2016, Annie was featured in the “Rockin’ Boots” campaign for RocketBuster Boots and named one of four women “Trailblazers”. She has performed all over the US and internationally, booking a solo tour in Amsterdam in 2017. Annie continues to write and perform today, also working as a professional studio vocalist and ensemble singer. Annie holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Commercial Music from Millikin University.

Katie Bramell

Director of Family and Youth Programs

Katie Bramell serves as the Director of Family and Youth Programs at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. She is a museum professional and public historian with 10 years of experience in the field. Bramell previously served as the Director of Museum Experiences at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has a Master of Arts in Public History from Northern Kentucky University and a Bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Central Missouri.

Nicole Laws

Youth and Family Programs Manager

Nicole Laws is the Youth and Family Programs Manager at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. She develops programs and resources that illuminate the stories, themes and music explored in the Museum’s galleries. She achieved her master’s degree in education and taught multiple grade levels from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade. She is also an experienced artist; her main medium is fiber. She has shown at galleries in Chicago and Nashville. She has an illustration and design company that she makes custom clothes and Nashville souvenirs.

Nicki Mortland

Community Outreach Manager 

Nicki Mortland is the Youth and Family Programs Coordinator. She studied History and Creative writing during her undergrad in Indiana and, before starting at the museum, worked in employment law. She is particularly interested in the ways that modern country music and culture connects with traditional roots. Some of her favorite musicians include The Chicks, The Highwomen, and Joan Shelley. When she is not planning fun programs and hanging out in the Taylor Swift Education Center, she is making rugs and spending time with her sweet cat Appa.

Songwriting Mentors

Shane Adams

Songwriting Mentor, June & July

Shane Adams is a twice GRAMMY nominated music educator, award-winning producer, composer, songwriter, and author. Shane is president of Artist Accelerator and is a founding lyric/songwriting instructor for Berklee Online, where he has taught lyric writing and songwriting since 2003. In 2013, Shane was named the Music Industry Professional of the Year by Chowan University, and in 2005 Shane earned the Tennessee Songwriter Association International’s highest honor, the Hallman Award, for outstanding contributions to the songwriting community. Shane’s book, The Singer-Songwriter’s Guide to Recording in the Home Studio, is available online and most bookstores.

Marta Albarracin

Songwriting Mentor, June

Marta Albarracin is a multilingual singer, songwriter, and voiceover artist born in Guatemala City. She studied music in Costa Rica where she also became known for her weekly participation in live television. She is mentored by the multi-awarded songwriter Pat Alger and has written songs for independent artists in both English and Spanish. Her Valentine’s Day song, “Cita Conmigo,” went viral on Tiktok reaching one-million views within three days, followed by her Mother’s Day song, “Mi Regalo,” reaching 6.7 million views in three days. She has song placements on HBO and ABC, and her speaking voice can be heard in television and radio commercial campaigns for some of the largest brands in the country.

Bonnie Baker

Songwriting Mentor, June

Bonnie Baker is a Nashville-based songwriter and producer. She earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and literature from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Her songs have been recorded by Tenille Arts, Raquel Cole, Zella Day, Megan Davies, Emerson Drive, Sara Evans, Brantley Gilbert, Hunter Hayes, Reba McEntire, Rachel Platten, Rascal Flatts, the Static Shift, and Chely Wright. Songs from Bonnie’s catalog have over 150 million streams on Spotify. She leads workshops for songwriters from all over the world and has developed relationships with the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance (ICMP) in London and the University of Ottawa, Ontario.

Anne Buckle

Songwriting Mentor, July

Anne Buckle is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and music producer. A descendent of the Carter Family and a cousin of June Carter Cash, Anne has country music in her blood, but she took a non-traditional path to Nashville. After earning her master’s degree from Harvard University, she spent her first few years out of college working for the U.S. Department of State and the governor of Tennessee before settling into her music career. As an artist, she has shared the stage with the late Charlie Daniels, toured with Augustana, opened for the Chicks on their DCX MMXVI World Tour, and has become a regular performer at the world-famous Bluebird Cafe. As a songwriter, she has written songs for other artists including David Archuleta, Marisa McKaye, and Jacob Westfall.

Tim Fagan

Songwriting Mentor, July

While working as music director and guitarist for Colbie Caillat, Tim Fagen co-wrote “Lucky” with Caillat and Jason Mraz, which won a Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. Tim signed with music publisher Sony/ATV and continued writing, producing, and performing in Los Angeles before moving to Nashville in 2017. He hosts a music variety channel on Twitch called Timmy’s Comeback, where he performs, produces improvised beats, and collaborates with other writers. His songs have appeared in films, TV shows, and national ad campaigns.

Savannah Keyes

Songwriting Mentor, July

Originally from Sandy, Utah, Savannah Keyes signed her first record deal at age thirteen, after performing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. In 2017, Savannah wrote, produced, and hosted her own Radio Disney Country show, Let the Girls Play, with a focus on interviewing female artists like Gabby Barrett and Tenille Townes. Savannah has served as a spokesmodel for American Girl and Taylor Guitars’ collaboration on the singer-songwriter doll, Tenney. She also appeared on the CNBC docuseries Streets of Dreams, which featured her song “Superman,” and she represented her home state of Utah on NBC’s songwriting show, American Song Contest. Her debut EP, I’m Not California, is available everywhere.


Paulina Jayne

Songwriting Mentor, June

Paulina Jayne is an artist and songwriter originally from Detroit, Michigan. She has opened for Sheryl Crow, Sam Hunt, Chris Lane, Old Dominion, and Rascal Flatts. Paulina’s music video for her 2021 release “Drive By” has been featured on CMT. In 2018, Paulina was highlighted in a national Folgers coffee commercial, and her song “Love’s Gonna Always Win” was featured in the Netflix show Top Grier. Paulina is sponsored by Ford Motor Company, and she serves as an ambassador for the national non-profit organization, Miss Amazing, Inc., which empowers girls and women with disabilities.

Matt Kass

Songwriting Mentor, July

A native of Philadelphia and resident of East Nashville, Matt Kass is a producer, engineer, and songwriter who studied ethnomusicology at Cornell University. In 2013, he co-composed, recorded, and mixed the score of First Comes Love, a feature-length production for HBO Documentaries. He earned Best Live Album honors at the 2008 Independent Music Awards for producing his band the Brakes’ Tale of Two Cities. Matt’s production and compositions have been used in TV shows and national advertising campaigns.

Matt Kass

Doug Williams

Lead Songwriting Mentor, June

Doug Williams performs with his wife, Telisha Williams, as the duo Wild Ponies. The husband-and-wife team grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and met in their high-school marching band. Galax, in 2017. Doug and Telisha perform frequently in Nashville and tour throughout the United States and abroad. In addition to making music, Wild Ponies have a podcast where they interview artists such as Jim Lauderdale and Allison Russell, and they and host a radio show on WSM 650 AM.

Guest Artists and Music Career Panelists

Cameron Bedell

Guest Artist, June

Since signing his first publishing deal with Liz Rose Music and Warner Chappell music, Cameron Bedell penned his first two-week #1 on country radio with “Down Home.” As a producer, he has worked with Big Machine recording artist, Tiera Kennedy, and co-wrote her first radio single, “Found It in You.” Cameron also had Sony Music Nashville duo Seaforth’s first radio single, “Breakups,” and has cuts on artists including Lauren Alaina, Ryan Griffin, Dylan Scott, and Hailey Whitters. His cover of The Weekend’s, “Earned It” received over 20 million streams across all platforms.

Micael Warren

Guest Artist, July

Alabama native Michael Warren has performed more than 200 shows a year for almost a decade. His music has been described as soulful with a unique blend of country, R&B, and hints of nostalgia. In 2009, he was signed to Atlantic Records and wrote songs recorded by Akon, Toni Braxton, and Jennifer Lopez. He has opened for artists such as Lauren Alaina, Jake Owen, and Zac Brown. He is currently signed to Workplay Records who released his four-song EP What’s Country to You in February 2023.

Kevin Dailey

Guest Music Career Panelist, June

Kevin Dailey is a Grammy-recognized engineer, producer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist who has worked with Mikky Ekko, Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, SHEL, and Abigail Washburn. He co-produced and performed on Compassion, the 2020 breakout EP by Brittney Spencer, who was named to CMT’s Next Women of Country Class of 2021. Dailey also composed and recorded an original score for the web television series Queen America, starring Catherine Zeta Jones, which premiered on Facebook Watch. He engineered the album Rocket Science by Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, including the song “Life in Eleven,” which won Best Instrumental Composition at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards. As a member of the band Civil Twilight, Dailey has contributed music to films and television series, including Big Love, House M.D., One Tree Hill, Pretty Little Liars, and Shameless. Kevin records and releases his own original music as Garden Friend.

Mike Molinar

Guest Career Panelist, July

Mike Molinar is the General Manager of Big Machine Music (BMM) where he brings twenty-two years of music business experience and entrepreneurial acumen to lead operations since launch in 2012. Under his leadership, BMM has scored over twenty #1 hits and thirty Top 20 singles on the Country Airplay Charts. industry experience dates back to 1997 as a song plugger with Starstruck Writer’s Group where he pitched the catalogs of Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Mark D. Sanders and BMI Writer of the Century David Malloy, among others. As Creative Director at Cal IV Entertainment, he managed 2007 Billboard/ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year Dave Berg, as well as Jim Collins and Odie Blackmon. Molinar later opened his own boutique publishing and artist development companies, including Effusion Entertainment.

Kylie Dailey

Guest Music Career Panelist, June

Nashville-based artist Kylie Dailey began releasing music professionally in 2021, but her songs have already garnered millions of plays and more than 87,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. A native of Colorado, Kylie signed to Stockholm-based Epidemic Sound and has released three EPs, including 2023’s All Yours, Baby.  With her partner, producer and fellow Epidemic artist Kevin Dailey, Kylie fashions a sound that draws influence from Americana, pop, and African folk music.

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