As a reminder, the eligibility for the 2018 CMAs are from July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018.
According to the CMAs, This Award goes to the artist. The Award is to the artist, whether individual or a group, who is known primarily as a Country artist, who has for the first time demonstrated the most significant creative growth and development in overall chart or sales activity, live performance, professionalism and/or national media recognition related to the launch of their career. Any artist who has previously won a CMA Award (except Song of the Year, Musical Event of the Year and Music Video of the Year) or who has twice been a final nominee for the Horizon Award or New Artist of
the Year Award is ineligible for nomination.
Summary: As we mentioned on our podcast, Lauren Alaina, Luke Combs, and Brett Young were all nominated for the same award last year. Since they can’t be nominated a third time, this is the last year they can win the award. Lauren Alaina has had a #1 hit in “The Road Less Traveled” while Midland had a Top 5 hit with “Drinkin’ Problem.” Then you look at someone like Chris Janson who had his biggest hit “Buy Me A Boat” in 2015, three years ago already. He’s been back on radio with hits “Fix a Drink” and “Drunk Girl” but after “Buy Me a Boat” do you consider him a new artist? Perhaps. Brett Young burst on to the scene in 2016 and has had three #1 hits and a song that reached #2. His early success also makes it a bit odd to categorize him as a “New Artist.” The same can be said about Luke Combs who also burst on to the scene in 2016 and has had four straight #1s to kick off his career. Heck, he’s nominated for Male Vocalist of the Year. There’s a ton of talent in this group and all five are going to make a lasting impression on country music. Next year is bound to have an entirely new class of artists.
Our Pick: Luke Combs
Who We Think Will Win: Luke Combs