by Jessica Nicholson
When the nominations for the 56th annual Academy of Country Music Awards were revealed earlier today (Feb. 26), history was made when four black country artists were nominated for awards in a single year.
Kane Brown has nods for Album of the Year for his EP Mixtape Vol. 1, and Video of the Year, for “Worldwide Beautiful.” Brown has previously been nominated for New Male Vocalist of the Year (2017 and 2018) and Vocal Event of the Year (for his “What Ifs” collaboration with Lauren Alaina) in 2018. His hit “Heaven” was nominated for Single of the Year in 2019.
In 2017, Brown became the first artist to reach No. 1 simultaneously on all five of Billboard’s primary country charts. Though he’s earned five No. 1 hits on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart, including songs such as “Homesick” and “Good As You,” and has earned 6x multi-platinum status with both “Heaven” and “What Ifs,” a 2x multi-Platinum album with his self-titled, full-length major label debut and Platinum status for his sophomore effort Experiment, Brown has yet to cinch an ACM win.
At last year’s ACM Awards, Mickey Guyton’s powerhouse performance of “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?”, featuring Keith Urban accompanying on piano, was one of the evening’s most commanding performances. This year, Guyton earns her second nomination for New Female Artist of the Year (she was previously nominated in the category in 2015). Last year, she released the sterling EP Bridges, spearheaded by two hard-hitting tracks that addressed gender and racial discrimination: “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?” and “Black Like Me.”
Jimmie Allen, who has had two No. 1 country radio hits with “Best Shot” and “Make Me Want To,” earned his second nomination in the ACM’s New Male Artist of the Year category this year. At last year’s ACM Awards, Allen performed “Make Me Want To” from Nashville’s Bluebird Café.
Meanwhile, John Legend’s holiday collaboration with Carrie Underwood, “Hallelujah,” earns Legend his first ACM nomination, for Video of the Year. The song, included on Underwood’s My Gift project, reached No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, and No. 1 on the Hot Christian Songs chart.
Broadcast from Nashville on CBS, the Academy of Country Music Awards will air Sunday, April 18 at 7 p.m. CT.