2020 MusicRow Awards Category Profile: Breakthrough Artist-Writer of the Year

Following the announcement of this year’s nominees for the 32nd annual MusicRow Awards, we take a look at the MusicRow Breakthrough Artist-Writer of the Year category.

The Breakthrough Artist-Writer of the Year is voted by MusicRow’s subscribed members to honor a Nashville songwriter and recording artist who for the first time wrote or co-wrote a Top 10 song for the first time during the eligibility period of April 1, 2019 to May 31, 2020.

The MusicRow Awards will be announced virtually among multiple MusicRow platforms on Tuesday, August 18, 2020. Presenting Sponsor of the 2020 MusicRow Awards is City National Bank.

Click here to see the full list of MusicRow Awards nominees.

Winners are determined solely by MusicRow Magazine subscribed members. Voting is now open and closes on July 17 at 5 p.m..

To receive a ballot to vote in the MusicRow Awards, become a MusicRow member here.

Blanco Brown burst onto the music scene with the viral sensation “The Git Up,” ultimately earning four billion views across social platforms and holding the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for 12 weeks. He wrote and produced the track, melding a style of southern music and rap he calls “TrailerTrap.” Brown is currently featured on Diplo’s new single “Do Si Do.” Brown’s career as a songwriter and producer includes work with Fergie, Childish Gambino, Chris Brown and Kane Brown.

Gabby Barrett shattered records as a co-writer of her debut single “I Hope.” The scorned lover anthem is a Platinum-certified country No. 1 with a video that tallied over 50 million views on YouTube alone. As the song surged in popularity, it powered up the Top 40 charts and a new crossover version was released featuring pop star Charlie Puth.

Ingrid Andress teamed with Sam Ellis and Derrick Southerland to write the No. 1 song “More Hearts Than Mine.” Their collaboration has the rare distinction of being a debut single that is also nominated for Song of the Year. Andress’ breakthrough as a recording artist follows a burgeoning songwriting career, where she collaborated with a spectrum of stylists such as Bebe Rexha, Charli XCX, Sam Hunt, and Alicia Keys.

Jameson Rodgers is the only nominee in this category with two qualifying hits, and whose songs were recorded by other artists: “I Don’t Know About You,” (Chris Lane) and “Talk You Out Of It” (Florida Georgia Line). While making significant headway as a songwriter, Rodgers also made strides as a recording artist and earned a nomination for Discovery Artist of the Year. Among his upcoming cuts is “Born Here Live Here Die Here,” the title track to Luke Bryan’s next album.

Matt Stell is the only artist in 2019 whose debut single topped the Billboard Country Airplay chart. He co-wrote the Platinum-certified song “Prayed For You” with Breakthrough Songwriter nominees Ash Bowers and Allison Veltz-Cruz. Additionally, Stell and Bowers co-produced the track. Stell follows that success with his currently climbing single, “Everywhere But On.”

Travis Denning scored his first No. 1 as co-writer of his own driving single “After A Few,” which has notched more than 130 million streams globally and is from his debut EP Beer’s Better Cold. Now he is following that success with songwriting credits on Michael Ray’s single “Her World Or Mine.” Denning has been building a strong reputation as a writer in recent years, securing cuts by Jason Aldean, Justin Moore, and Chase Rice.

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

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