With the nominees for the 2011 CMA Awards set to be announced on September 6, ATC is going to do our usual predicting of the nominees in the major categories. Last year we saw some major shakeups in a few of the big categories and I have a feeling this year will be the same. One of the categories that will probably see a shakeup is the New Artist of the Year category.
Last year, the Zac Brown Band took home the New Artist of the Year trophy beating out Luke Bryan, Easton Corbin, Jerrod Niemann, and Chris Young. This year has seen three of those four artists continue to have successful years but there are a handful of other artists who could prevent their return to the nominations list this year. Here are the five artists we think will secure a nomination:
The Band Perry
It’s difficult to think about this past year’s new artists without automatically thinking about this trio’s massive success. They’re breakout hit “If I Die Young” has been certified double platinum for more than 2 million digital downloads while the self-titled debut album has been certified gold for over 500,000 copies sold. The group has also had success at radio with two of the album’s singles peaking inside the top 2 (“If I Die Young” hit no. 1 and “You Lie” hit no. 2). Not to mention they just released their own headlining tour and spent most of the year on the road with Tim McGraw. Oh, and they are the current ACM Top New Artist of the Year. This group will be hard to beat come November.
He’s not necessarily “new,” but expect Chris Young to receive his second nomination in this category after having one of the most successful years in country. Young notched two more number one singles with “Voices” and “Tomorrow,” with the latter being certified gold. Since its release in July, his third album Neon has sold over 100,000 copies and gave him his highest album debut of his career. Chris has spent time on the road with Rascal Flatts and Jason Aldean and has been performing headlining shows in between those tours as well.
Luke Bryan is becoming one of radio’s favorite male artists. This past year he’s nabbed two consecutive number one singles with “Rain Is a Good Thing” and “Someone Else Calling You Baby” as well as a top five (and platinum selling) single with “Country Girl (Shake it for Me).” This year Bryan also saw his sophomore album, Doin’ My Thing, be certified gold for selling over 500,000 copies. Just like The Band Perry, Bryan just announced his first headlining tour after spending the summer on the road with Tim McGraw.
Husband and wife duo Thompson Square has become one of the genre’s most successful duos of the past year. They’re breakout hit, “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not?,” has not only become the duo’s first number one single, but it is also their first platinum selling single (over 1 million downloads). The duo’s self-titled debut album made its debut at number 3 back in February and is approaching 200,000 copies sold. Just like Chris Young, Thompson Square is also touring with Jason Aldean as well as hitting up small venues for a series of headline dates.
The fifth and final spot is hard to predict, but I’m going to go with Eric Church. Unlike the other four artists who I think will secure nominations, Church hasn’t had the same success at country radio seeing as he didn’t crack the top 15 with his two singles “Smoke a Little Smoke” and “Homeboy.” However, both those singles have been certified gold, something that the other four artists haven’t achieved. This year also saw his sophomore album Carolina receive a gold certification while his latest album, Chief, has already sold nearly 300,000 copies in just five weeks.
Easton Corbin – After bursting out of the gate with two consecutive number one singles, Corbin has somewhat stalled as his third single peaked just inside the top 15 while his album sales have slowed down.
Jerrod Niemann – Much like Easton Corbin, Niemann went straight to the top of the charts with “Lover, Lover,” but has lost some momentum at radio after the follow up, “What Do You Want,” peaked at number 4. However, his album has sold over 300,000 copies since its release last year so that could help him get back onto the nominations list.