Following the announcement of this year’s nominees for the 35th annual MusicRow Awards, we take a closer look at the Entertainer of the Year category. This category is voted on by MusicRow’s subscribers to honor outstanding achievements by a Nashville artist during the eligibility period.
This year’s winners will be announced online on all MusicRow platforms on Tuesday, Sept. 12. Presenting Sponsor of the 2023 MusicRow Awards is City National Bank.
Winners are determined solely by MusicRow Magazine subscribers. Voting is now open and closes on Aug. 18 at 5:00 p.m.
To receive a ballot to vote in the MusicRow Awards, become a MusicRow subscriber here.
Since the arrival of his self-titled, 2x Platinum debut album in December 2016, Kane Brown has continued to expand the perception of country music and break musical boundaries. Named to the Time100 list of the most influential people in the world, five time American Music Award winner. Brown has over 13 billion streams, multiple multi-Platinum certifications, sold out arenas all across the world with more than four million tickets sold internationally, and made history as the first artist ever to lead all five of Billboard’s main country charts simultaneously. With the release of his most recent album, Different Man, Brown earned his ninth career No. 1 hit , the 3x ACM-nominated Platinum-selling single, “Thank God,” as well as hits with “Like I Love Country Music,” “One Mississippi” and “Bury Me in Georgia.” Brown earned his first-ever nomination for the ACM’s Entertainer of the Year this year and became the first Black artist to headline Boston’s iconic Fenway Park solo.
A seven-time ACM Award winner, four-time CMA Award winner and 10-time Grammy nominee, Eric Church has amassed a passionate fan base around the globe known as the Church Choir, as well as a beloved catalog of music. His most recent critically acclaimed and chart-topping project, the Heart & Soul triple album, yielded the Gold-certified No. 1 “Hell of a View” and recent Top 5 hit “Heart On Fire” as well as his latest single, “Doing Life With Me,” climbing the charts at country radio now. Through the fall, Church will trek across North America on “The Outsiders Revival Tour,” bringing with him a rotating lineup of emerging artists along for the first fully outdoor tour of his career. Church is currently the 18th artist-in-residence at Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, where he also is the subject of a new exhibition. He will soon open Chief’s, a six-story venue on Nashville’s famed lower Broadway.
Reigning two-time CMA Entertainer of the Year Luke Combs has notched 16 consecutive No. 1 hits at country radio and over 337 million global streams to date. The Grand Ole Opry member is also an eight-time CMA, three-time ACM and threetime Billboard Music Award winner. He recently topped the charts with his version of Tracy Chapman’s Grammy Award-winning song, “Fast Car,” which was certified RIAA Platinum just 16 weeks after it was released. The track is from Combs’ fourth full-length album, Gettin’ Old, following Growin’ Up, 2019’s 3-time Platinum What You See is What You Get and his 4-time Platinum debut This One’s For You. Known for his electric live shows, Combs also recently expanded his massive sold-out “World Tour,” adding four new US stadium shows due to overwhelming demand. With 44 shows across three continents and 16 countries, the record-breaking run is the largest tour ever for a country artist. Partnered with Opry Entertainment Group, Combs plans to open a massive multilevel entertainment complex in downtown Nashville during summer of 2024.
One of the country’s most respected and beloved musicians, Chris Stapleton celebrated a year full of achievements this past year. He was named Entertainer of the Year at the 58th ACM Awards, resulting in a prestigious ACM Triple Crown Award, an elite honor that has been presented to only seven country acts in the history of the Academy of Country Music Awards. He also won his sixth Male Vocalist of the Year at the 2022 CMA Awards, setting the record for most wins ever in the category, and gave a rousing performance of the National Anthem at Super Bowl LVII. Currently in the midst of his extensive “All American Road Show” tour, Stapleton recently announced his new album, Higher, will release in November. The new album follows 2020’s acclaimed Starting Over, which went on to win three awards at the 67th Annual Grammys–Best Country Album, Best Country Solo Performance (“You Should Probably Leave”) and Best Country Song (“Cold”) – in addition to earning Album of the Year honors at both the CMA and ACM Awards.
Carrie Underwood is a multi-format, multi-media superstar, spanning achievements in music, television and film, and as a New York Times bestselling author and successful entrepreneur. She has sold more than 85 million records worldwide and recorded 28 No. 1 singles–14 of which she co-wrote. She is the most-awarded female country artist for singles in RIAA history and has seven albums that are certified multi-Platinum or Platinum by the RIAA, with over 72 million total RIAA certifications to date, all while continuing to sell out arena tours across North America and the UK. Underwood released her most recent album, Denim & Rhinestones, in 2022, and she also recently completed her 43-city U.S. arena tour, “The Denim & Rhinestones Tour.” In addition to becoming the first artist to perform at the new Resorts World Theatre with her ongoing “Reflection: The Las Vegas Residency,” Underwood just launched her exclusive year-round SiriusXM channel, Carrie’s Country. Her deluxe edition of Denim & Rhinestones, featuring six new tracks, will be out on Sept. 22.
With over 18 billion on-demand streams and nine chart-toppers at country radio, Morgan Wallen has had unparalleled success since his debut in 2016. His second full-length project, Dangerous: The Double Album, topped 2021’s all-genre Billboard 200 Albums year-end chart and notched historical chart status as Billboard’s longest running Top 10 album in history for a solo artist. Wallen followed the 5-time Platinum, ACM Album of the Year with 2023’s 36-song, deeply personal third studio album, One Thing At A Time, which reigned atop the all-genre Billboard 200 chart for 12 consecutive weeks, the most weeks at No. 1 for a country album in over 30 years. Wallen recently became first artist to have three singles simultaneously in the top 10 on country radio with “Last Night,” “One Thing At A Time” and “Thought You Should Know.” He is currently on his “One Night At A Time World Tour,” crisscrossing the globe and breaking attendance records in his wake.
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