December 2, 2015 – The Music Business Association (Music Biz) will honor rising Country star Sam Hunt with its Breakthrough Artist Award at the annual Music Biz Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, May 18, 2016, at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel in Nashville.
In October 2014, Hunt topped the Billboard Country Albums chart with his Gold-certified debut record, Montevallo, the best-selling debut for a Country artist since 2011. He went on to score three consecutive chart-topping, Platinum-selling singles with “Leave the Night On,” “House Party,” and the double-Platinum “Take Your Time,” and has also written #1 singles for some of Country’s biggest stars, including Kenny Chesney’s “Come Over” and Billy Currington’s “We Are Tonight” as well as the Top 10 “Cop Car” recorded by Keith Urban.
“Sam perfectly symbolizes what the Music Biz Breakthrough Artist Award is intended to recognize,” said James Donio, President of Music Biz. “Already a successful songwriter, he is now among Country music’s upper echelon with his stellar, chart-topping debut album, multiple #1 singles, a sold-out headlining tour, and most recently an American Music Award for New Artist of the Year under his belt. There’s no telling how high Sam will climb in the years ahead. We look forward to following his immensely promising career and are excited to add him to the ranks of past winners such as Meghan Trainor, Ariana Grande, Emeli Sandé, Nicki Minaj, John Legend, and Carrie Underwood.”
“Ever since I packed up and moved to Nashville, I’ve been blessed to be accepted into the Country music community, work with some of my idols, and find success with my own voice,” said Hunt. “I am so thankful to Music Biz for the recognition. I guess the Award is proof that I’m on the right track, and I’m excited to keep pushing forward.”
Hunt grew up in rural Cedartown, GA, leaving home to attend college at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. An athlete all his life, he joined the school’s football team and ended up as their starting quarterback, eventually earning an NFL tryout with the Kansas City Chiefs. During this time, he also began teaching himself songs on the guitar, developing a passion for music that took him to Nashville, where he secured a publishing deal and began writing songs full-time. After achieving success with hit songs written for Kenny Chesney, Billy Currington, and Keith Urban, Hunt began pursuing an on-stage career of his own, working with producer Zach Crowell on the free mixtape Between the Pines, which meshed acoustic Country with Hunt’s Hip-Hop and R&B influences. Soon, his songs were averaging more than 300,000 streams per day on Spotify, and he was named the Cycle 5 winner of the service’s Emerge contest, which previously honored Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Bastille, and Atlas Genius. This led to a major-label record deal with MCA Nashville and the release of his debut full-length album, Montevallo.
Since then, Hunt has reached a variety of career milestones, winning an American Music Award for New Artist of the Year, selling out his headlining Lipstick Graffiti Tour within minutes, and appearing on major television programs such as The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Good Morning America, Live! with Kelly & Michael, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Late Show with David Letterman, and Late Night with Seth Myers. He has also shared the stage with Taylor Swift, joined tours with Lady Antebellum and Luke Bryan, and will be hitting stadiums with Kenny Chesney next spring.
Music Biz 2016, which will return to Nashville from May 16-18, is the music industry’s premier event, giving the commerce and content sectors a place to meet with trading partners, network with new companies, and learn about new trends and products impacting the music business. Registration is open now, with early bird discounts available until March 11, 2016. For more information or to sign up for the conference, visit Music Biz 2016.