2017 MusicRow Awards: Breakthrough Artist-Writer Nominees

Following the announcement of this year’s nominees for the 29th annual MusicRow Awards, we take a closer look at the Breakthrough Artist-Writer of the Year nominees.


Voted by MusicRow’s subscribed members to honor a Nashville songwriter and artist who for the first time wrote or co-wrote a Top 10 song, which they also recorded.

Lauren Alaina, “Road Less Traveled,” Warner/Chappell (BMI)

Lauren Alaina’s first No. 1 hit, “Road Less Traveled” is an empowering message of self-acceptance which she co-wrote with Jesse Frasure and Meghan Trainor. The rising star also contributed to all 12 songs on her album, which earned her first ACM nomination for New Female Vocalist of the Year. Lauren Alaina’s career received a major jumpstart when she appeared on Season 10 of American Idol. She will spend the summer touring with fellow Georgia native Luke Bryan.

Tucker Beathard, “Rock On,” Big Music Machine, Fade 49 Music (BMI)

Tucker Beathard broke through with his debut single “Rock On,” which reached No. 1 on MusicRow’s CountryBreakout chart. He co-wrote the song with dad Casey Beathard and Marla Cannon-Goodman. A multi-instrumentalist, Tucker plays lead guitar and drums throughout his Fight Like Hell EP. This summer fans can catch Beathard performing at some of music’s biggest festivals, including Summerfest,  Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza.

Luke Combs, “Hurricane,” Big Music Machine, 50 Egg Music, Straight Dimes Publishing, (BMI)

Luke Combs built his career one show at a time, growing from 3-hour acoustic sets in his native North Carolina to touring this summer with Brantley Gilbert and performing at Bonnaroo and CMA Music Fest. Combs self-released music for years, including the song that would eventaully become his debut single and first No. 1, “Hurricane.” The singer co-wrote the song with fellow nominees Thomas Archer and Taylor Phillips. Combs has writing credits on every track on his album This One’s for You, set for release on June 2.

Jon Pardi, “Head Over Boots,” Sony/ATV (BMI) 

Jon Pardi’s “Head Over Boots” was his first No. 1 song as an artist and songwriter. Co-written with Luke Laird, the track has been certified Platinum and helped the singer secure the title of ACM New Male Vocalist of the Year. He followed that success with another No. 1, “Dirt On My Boots.” Heading into summer, Pardi releases new single “Heartache on the Dance Floor” and hits the road with Dierks Bentley, and Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.

Brett Young, “Sleep Without You” and “In Case You Didn’t Know,” Super Big Music, Caliville Publishing, admin by Big Machine Music (ASCAP)

Brett Young co-wrote his first two singles, “Sleep Without You” and “In Case You Didn’t Know,” which also became his first No. 1 hits. In addition, the ACM nominee is a co-writer of “Love Again,” the current single by Nash Next winner Todd O’Neil. Young will tour Canada with Thomas Rhett, before spending the summer on the road with Lady Antebellum. “Sleep Without You” was also the first No. 1 for Young’s co-writers Justin Ebach and Kelly Archer, who are nominated for MusicRow Breakthrough Songwriter.

The MusicRow Awards will be presented at a private ceremony. 

See the full list of nominees. 

Winners are determined solely by MusicRow subscribers. Voting closes on Tuesday, May 30 at 5 p.m. If you do not have a subscription, you may subscribe to receive a ballot.


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Category: Artist, Awards, Featured

About the Author

Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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