NEA Sings Coaches

Cory Jackson

As a 21-year-old WSM 650AM Bates Ford Talent Contestant, Cory Jackson wowed judges with his voice, performance, and song selections from the country classics such as Ronnie Milsap’s fourth #1 on the country charts “Day Dreams About Night Things”. After winning the talent show, Jackson went on to open for the Oak Ridge Boys, Tracy Lawrence, Parmalee, Rosanne Cash, and others. Burning up the pavement between restaurant gigs and festivals, before landing his National Debut appearance in 2019 on Season 17 of NBC’s The Voice. Jackson chose to perform “Galveston”, a nod to fellow Arkansan, the late great Glen Campbell, causing a three chair turn with Jackson choosing Team Blake. Jackson took the advice he received from Blake Shelton and Darius Rucker before exiting the show to “write” continually. Taking their advice to cultivate his writing skills, while playing what shows he could during the pandemic, Jackson continues to wow his fans with releases such as “Your Love” nominated into the category “Song of the Year” for the Arkansas CMA’s in 2023. His latest release, “When the Needle Drops” will take you back in time to the classic country sounds of the past. Jackson’s commitment to his faith, level head, and love for his fans continue to push his artistry forward.


Marybeth Byrd

Marybeth Byrd is a 22-year-old singer songwriter from Armorel, Arkansas. With a wheelhouse of Country, Christian and Pop, her love for music is rooted in her childhood where the stage gave her a voice and helped her overcome stuttering. Back in 2019, she made the top 8 semifinals on S17 of NBC’s The Voice with the help of her coach, John Legend, and mentors: Usher and Taylor Swift. In 2023, she made the top 10 on S21 of American Idol! She now performs at various venues, teaches vocal lessons, makes dozens of appearances and works on original music. Not only does she want to use her voice to sing, but also to story tell truth with grace in her music. A therapy - to herself and to those listening. Her dream is to make this a full-time career and hopefully one day, hear a crowd screaming her songs at the top of their lungs.

"My motivation is my love and passion for music, as well as my incredible family, mentors, business partners, and community.”

Drew Pulliam 

Whether writing music, performing in theater, or making movies with his friends, Drew Pulliam always had a knack for storytelling. Growing up, his mother ran a theater in his hometown of Jonesboro, AR and has been surrounded by stories his entire life. He recalls, "I remember playing with my toys on the stage while hearing the latest artistic argument over music and lighting. When we’d come home from rehearsal with my five older brothers and sisters, the dinner table was filled with the stories about my brother's latest girlfriend or my sister's latest girl squabble. Pretty soon I was telling stories of my own.

Now as Drew is reaching adulthood and preparing to graduate from high school, the serious nature of the world around him is becoming more apparent. "I want to remember being a kid, but adulthood is taking over more and more. The stories I remember hearing as a kid, I see with adult eyes now. Although it’s tricky to express the intensity of these stories, music has always been my way through. So far, the keys and my guitar have helped me retell the importance of what I’ve heard all my life."

Drew paired up with Mississippi hitmaker Steve Azar to help these stories come to life with notable musicians such as Chad Cromwell on drums, Kenny Greenberg on Guitar, Barry Bays on bass, and Jonathan Yudkin on cello.

Drew's journey to adulthood and stories along the way helped shape the body of work he created for his debut EP due in 2023. Whether it's the epic ballad "Fight Our All" that he describes as the song I want the world to hear right now, or "16 Going On 60," which tackles his sudden launch into being an adult, the relatable collection is set to delight listeners of all ages.

Bethania Baray-Harrison

Bethania Baray-Harrison was a featured soprano with Opera Memphis for 7 years (2013-2020), with a role in 9 mainstage productions. She directed the Arkansas State University Opera and taught applied voice to music undergrad and grad students for 5 years. She made her transition into opera administration as the Director of Partnerships & Education at Opera Memphis in 2019. At Opera Memphis, Bethania designed and facilitated new educational programs including festivals, conservatories, opera tours, and community programs, including new partnerships with HBCUs, local Latinx organizations, and music academies such as the Stax Music Academy. Her work garnered well-earned praise and was recognized as a 40 Under 40 honoree in the Memphis Business Journal in 2022. Her work with Stax was also recognized when a student from her inaugural opera class, Caleb Thompson, was contracted by the Metropolitan Opera for the opening show of their 2021-2022 season, "Fire Shut Up in My Bones". Bethania was previously the TV Host/Personality of KJNB-TV, the local FOX/CBS television station. She is currently Director of Talent Attraction for Jonesboro Unlimited. She is currently on the board of directors for the Jonesboro Hispanic Center, the NEA Hispanic Professionals Network, and Jonesboro Young Professionals Network. Bethania holds a Master of Music from the University of Arizona and a Bachelor of Music Education from New Mexico State University.