Following the announcement of this year’s nominees for the 34th 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 during the eligibility period of June 1, 2021 to May 31, 2022.
The winners of this year’s honors will be announced online on all MusicRow platforms on Tuesday, August 30. Presenting Sponsor of the 2022 MusicRow Awards is City National Bank.
Winners are determined solely by MusicRow Magazine subscribed members. Voting is now open and closes on July 29 at 5:00 p.m.
Priscilla Block is a co-writer on her first hit single, “Just About Over You,” along with Emily Kroll and Sarah Jones. The moody break-up track went viral at the end of 2020, landing Block a publishing deal with Warner Chappell and recording contract with UMG Nashville. She released her major label debut album, Welcome To The Block Party, in early 2022. With 12 tracks all co-written by Block, the charming singer-songwriter has been making a mark with songs such as “My Bar,” “Thick Thighs,” “I Bet You Wanna Know” and “Peaked In High School.” Block scored her first No. 1 on the MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart with “Just About Over You” in August. Block is also nominated for Breakthrough Artist of the Year this year at the MusicRow Awards.
BRELAND, also known as “The Pen Point Guard,” has been disrupting writer rooms in Nashville for the past few years with his genre-bending sound. First making waves with his Platinum debut “My Truck,” BRELAND has impressed industry members with his boundless creativity on songs such as “Cross Country,” “Throw It Back (feat. Keith Urban),” and “Praise The Lord (feat. Thomas Rhett).” He signed his first ever publishing deal with Reservoir in early 2021, and subsequently scored his first No. 1 with his collaboration with Dierks Bentley and HARDY on “Beers On Me.” BRELAND recently announced that his Bad Realm Records / Atlantic Records / Warner Music Nashville debut album, Cross Country, is coming this fall.
Martin Johnson comes to country music with an impressive resume of pop success. As frontman of the pop-punk band Boys Like Girls, Johnson penned the bands hallmark songs such as “The Great Escape,” “Thunder,” and “Love Drunk.” With his new wave alternative project The Night Game, he released his sophomore album Dog Years in 2021. Johnson, a Warner Chappell writer, also has co-written songs for Jason Derulo, Flo Rida, Gavin DeGraw, Avril Lavigne, and more. He broke through as a hit country songwriter this year with Lady A’s No. 1 hit “Like A Lady” and Elle King’s chart-topper with Miranda Lambert, “Drunk (And I Dont Wanna Go Home).” Johnson’s country credits also include songs recorded by Dan + Shay, Hunter Hayes, and Warren Zeiders.
John Morgan hit a double this year, scoring his first two hit songs in MusicRow‘s qualification period. Morgan first hit the top of the charts with Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood’s “If I Didn’t Love You” in October of 2021; he was back again in May of 2022 with Aldean’s “Trouble With A Heartbreak.” Morgan impressed Aldean so much that the country star signed him to his newly-formed publishing company, Triple Play Music, and his record label imprint with BBR Music Group, Night Train Records. Morgan has released a sampling of his own music with “Coldest Beer in Town” in 2021 and “Right In The Middle” in 2022.
Elvie Shane broke onto the scene with the tender tribute to his step-son, “My Boy.” Since its release, “My Boy” took on a life of its own, from going viral on TikTok, hitting the top of the country charts, and being certified Platinum. Shane released his debut full length album, Backslider, on Wheelhouse Records in October of 2021. The Warner Chappell and Rome Phrey writer co-wrote 14 of the album’s 15 songs. Shane’s new single from Backslider, “County Roads,” was one of the most added songs at country radio upon its debut and continues to climb. Shane is also nominated for Breakthrough Artist of the Year this year at the MusicRow Awards.
Lainey Wilson brought her signature “Bell Bottom Country” to her studio album Sayin’ What I’m Thinkin’ in early 2021 via Broken Bow Records. With Wilson as a co-writer on all tracks, the album produced her breakout hit “Things A Man Oughta Know.” The tune took off, hitting the top of the charts, being certified Platinum, and winning Song of the Year at the 2022 ACM Awards. Likewise, Wilson has become an industry favorite, being named to multiple Artist to Watch lists. In early 2022 Wilson rang the bell at the top of the charts again, this time alongside Cole Swindell for their fiery duet, “Never Say Never.” The Sony Music Publishing writer is currently climbing the charts again with her new single “Heart Like A Truck,” a song she co-wrote with Trannie Anderson and Dallas Wilson. The singer-songwriter took home the Discovery Artist of the Year at last year’s MusicRow Awards, and is also nominated for Breakthrough Artist of the Year this year.
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