The West Coast-based Academy of Country Music, along with cable-TV’s Great American Country, has announced the final trio of New Artist of the Year nominees in this year’s ACM Awards.
Selected from eight seminfinalists, country newcomers Hunter Hayes, Scotty McCreery and Brantley Gilbert are the final competitors in the contest, according to a Feb. 9 email from the ACM’s Encino, Calif., PR camp.
Now in its 47th year, the ACM Awards will air live April 1 from Las Vegas on CBS-TV at 8 p.m. (ET), with co-hosts Reba McEntire and Blake Shelton.
Voting for New Artist of the Year will take place at www.VoteACM.com beginning sy noon (ET) and 9 a.m. (PT) March 19 and will continue until 5 p.m. (ET) Sunday, April 1, just prior to the show’s live broadcast.
The New Artist of the Year final nominees were selected by a combined vote of the fans and professional members of the Academy of Country Music. Professional member votes will be combined with fan votes to declare the winner of this particular category.
Leading up to the show, fans can watch interviews and exclusive performances with the three nominees on GAC’s “ACM New Artist of the Year” special that will debut Monday, March 19, at 9 p.m. (ET) and re-airing multiple times until voting closes on April 1. Additional air times and dates can be found at GACtv.com/ACM.
About the New Artist of the Year finalists
At 27, Brantley Gilbert already has an impressive list of industry accolades.The deluxe version of the rising star’s sophomore album, Halfway to Heaven Deluxe, debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart in September 2011. Collectively, the standard and deluxe versions of Halfway to Heaven have already sold almost 500,000 albums to date.
Brantley’s first single on The Valory Music Co., “Country Must Be Country Wide,” recently scored the No. 1 spot at Country radio. As a celebrated songwriter, Gilbert also penned three No. 1 tunes–“My Kinda Party,” “Dirt Road Anthem,” and most recently, “Country Must Be Country Wide.” In addition to playing his own headlining dates, Gilbert is currently on the road with Eric Church for his The Blood, Sweat & Beers Tour.
Hunter Hayes is the only 2011 debut artist to play every instrument, write/co-write every song and co-produce his critically acclaimed self-titled debut album, including the top-15 “Storm Warning.” This multi-instrumentalist garnered praise with recent national television appearances on CBS’ Late Show with David Letterman, Good Morning America and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
As for his ACM nod, the 20-year-old, via a Feb. 9 eventing Tweet, shared, “I sill cannot believe I’m nominated for an ACM. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
Hayes has co-written songs for Rascal Flatts and Montgomery Gentry, in addition to having shared the stage with Trace Adkins, Lady Antebellum, Hank Williams Jr., Brad Paisley,Taylor Swift and Keith Urban. He is currently on his first headlining Most Wanted Tour, with sold-out dates across the country.
Scotty McCreery’s debut album, Clear As Day, was certified platinum in just three months, and he was recently named No. 1 on Billboard magazine’s list of Top New Country Artists for 2011.
Clear As Day debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 and Top Country Albums charts, making him the youngest man in history to open at the top of the all-genre chart with a debut release. It garnered the highest sales of any country solo album released last year and held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart for six weeks.
The album’s first single, “I Love You This Big,” has been certified gold, and his current single, “The Trouble With Girls,” is approaching gold status. The winner of American Idol‘s 10th season is currently touring as part of Brad Paisley’s Virtual Reality Tour 2012.
Regarding his ACM nomination, “It’s been a good couple of days,” McCreery said via a Feb. 9 statement from Mercury Nashville. “I am pumped! Looking at the final eight in the category, everybody in there was so good. I listen to all of their music. So to be a finalist is an honor.
“It’s been an incredible year,” he added. “Being up for this award means a lot to me. I am ready to head to Vegas!”
For more information about this year’s ACM Awards, please visit www.acmcountry.com.