Kerry Graham, CEO of Nashville ad agency Bohan, nudges a visitor: “Elvis is in the building.”

Technically, he was outside the Tennessee city’s Ryman Auditorium, the morning sun glinting off his rhinestones and full dark sideburns on a late September day. It’s part of the paradox that is Nashville — an Elvis wannabe touring an auditorium that was originally home of the Grand Ole Opry but now also plays host to the likes of Billy Idol, Counting Crows and Rob Thomas.

Nashville is known as Music City and wears that mantle proudly, but this town wants you to know it’s about more than, as one local pundit put it, “big hair, belt buckles and boots.” The area is also home to about 25 ad agencies, marketers like Mars Petcare, Nissan (Anne McGraw, who runs the automaker’s global digital marketing, was recently elected to the local school board), Cracker Barrel, Dollar General Corp., Genesco, Tractor Supply Co. and more. It’s also host to a burgeoning tech and fashion scene.