2018 MusicRow Awards: Breakthrough Artist-Writer Of The Year Nominees

Following the announcement of this year’s nominees for the 30th annual MusicRow Awards, we take a closer look at the Breakthrough Artist-Writer of the Year category.


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.

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 May 25 at 5 p.m. If you do not have a subscription, you may subscribe to receive a ballot.

Jordan Davis took his self-penned debut single, “Singles You Up,” straight to No. 1 at radio. Davis co-wrote all 12 tracks on his album Home State (UMG Nashville), which marks the highest-selling debut release for a solo country artist this year, moving 10,739 units its first week. The Louisiana native recently wrapped his first headlining tour and will hit the road with Jake Owen this summer, stopping at minor league baseball parks across the country.

Devin Dawson blends pop influences but stays grounded in country’s storytelling tradition on his debut album Dark Horse (Warner Music Nashville). He is a co-writer on every track, including “All On Me,” which reached No. 1 on the MusicRow chart. The album was produced by Jay Joyce, who is nominated for MusicRow Producer of the Year. Dawson is currently on tour with Brett Eldredge as well as playing his own headlining dates.

Russell Dickerson notched his first No. 1 as an artist and as a songwriter when “Yours” reached the top of the radio charts earlier this year. The Triple Tigers Records artist had written the song almost four years earlier with friends and fellow Belmont alumni Parker Welling and Casey Brown, who also earned 2018 MusicRow Awards nominations. The trio re-teamed to write Dickerson’s follow-up single, “Blue Tacoma,” which is currently climbing the charts. He will support Lady Antebellum and Darius Rucker on their summer tour and play select dates on Thomas Rhett’s outing.

Jordan Walker earned his first No. 1 as co-writer of the Luke Combs’ smash “When It Rains It Pours,” which also yielded nominations for Combs and their collaborator Ray Fulcher. Walker is half of the rising BBR Music Group duo Walker McGuire, along with Johnny McGuire. Walker co-wrote every track on the duo’s self-titled debut EP, including new single “Lost.”

Morgan Wallen scored back-to-back No. 1s on the MusicRow chart in recent weeks. In March, he had his first hit as a co-writer of Jason Aldean’s “You Make It Easy.” A month later, Wallen returned to the winner’s circle with his first No. 1 as a recording artist thanks to the catchy summer song “Up Down” featuring pals Florida Georgia Line. The track is on Wallen’s debut album, If I Know Me, released via Big Loud Records.

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at jnicholson@musicrow.com.

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