It's nine o'clock on a school night. But for Lennon and Maisy Stella, it's time to go to work. It’s backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, just moments away from showtime, with two of country music's unlikely new stars.
The 14- and 9-year-old sisters take center stage, as the youngest stars of television’s "Nashville,” an overnight success -- thanks to a show that makes "being discovered" look so easy.
Add to the that country megastars like Taylor Swift who are fanning the flames, drawing a whole new generation of young hopefuls to the Music City.
To find out what lures them, “Nightline” spent a week in Nashville.
Annalise Morelli is a 17-year-old aspiring country music singer. She's left her family and her childhood friends behind hoping to be Nashville's next breakout star.
To help her chase those dreams, mom quit her own job, and left her husband and their other daughter back in South Carolina. Together they've moved here to Nashville, renting a tiny apartment over a friend's garage.
Annalise has been dreaming of a record deal since she was a little girl. Now, She's just 24 hours from a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Thanks to a songwriting friend, she's landed a gig at Nashville's Bluebird Café. It's the legendary club where Garth Brooks was discovered. And where a 14-year-old unknown named Taylor Swift landed her first record deal.
The nightclub is so key to the Nashville story that the TV show has painstakingly recreated the real cafe on a soundstage.
Lennon and Maisy know firsthand what it's like to be discovered thanks to the Bluebird Café. That performance helped land them their roles on the TV show.
Annalise is hoping for her big break.
“I believe in what I do so much, that I know everybody else is different,” she said. “There's not another Annalise Morelli.”
Just minutes from Annalise taking the stage, and she spots a face in the crowd and realizes the stakes truly could not be higher: a V.I.P. guest who could change everything.
Scott Borchetta, the record mogul who signed Taylor Swift in this very room, is staying to see the show. He’s a music industry heavyweight who has the power to make Annalise a star. He built the record label Big Machine Records with artists like Reba and Tim McGraw. But the crown jewel of his empire came from this tiny café where he signed a young Taylor Swift.
Annalise performs. But there will be no record deal tonight.
“If that's one of her favorite songs, she's got a lot to work on for her song sense,” said Borchetta. “She's not ready yet.”
And before the night's over, Nashville shows once again that overnight success doesn't come easy. Annalise is undeterred.
“It's not all about fame and fortune,” she said. “I could be doing this level for the rest of my life and I'd be okay. Everything about what I want to do is right in front of me.”