Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we are going to talk about last week’s 2014 CMAs (Country Music Awards). This year’s show was once again co hosted by country music superstars Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley, and featured really cool musical performances. Once again, Carrie and Brad were able to use their combination of witty banter, musical talents, and comic timing to poke fun at some of this year’s most highly profiled current events. They also performed a very funny song about George Strait not being at the show this year, and then later when they “discover” that he is at the show, they make comments about why he hasn’t gone anywhere (which is a joke about the tour that George Strait just completed, which was called ‘The Cowboy Rides Away’). The hosts opening monologue was definitely a fun way to kick off such an exciting, high energy show. So now let’s move on to the awards and musical performances!
Single of the Year:
‘Automatic’ by Miranda Lambert
Now if you were listening to country radio this year, you definitely heard this song (this single even reached #3 on the Billboard US Country AirPlay chart). Of course no one should be surprised at this win, because Miranda co-wrote the song and we all know that right now Miranda Lambert truly has the Midas touch.
Song of The Year:
‘Follow Your Arrow’ by Kacey Musgraves
This is another song that you’ve definitely heard all year long. This song was certainly a big hit as the 3rd single off of Kacey’s debut big label album, and its success is definitely evidence that we haven’t heard the last of this rising star.
New Artist of The Year:
Brett Eldredge first made his impact on the country music scene in 2012 when his single ‘Don’t Ya’ (which was certified Platinum in the U.S.) was released to country music radio and reached #1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. This single was followed up with the similarity successful single ‘Beat of The Music’ (was certified Gold in the U.S.) in 2013. With such a strong show on his debut album, it’s not a surprise that Brett won this honor.
Vocal Duo of The Year:
Florida Georgia Line
Ok everyone who was surprised by this please raise your hands. Let me guess, there are no hands raised right? Yeah, if you’ve listened to the radio AT ALL this past year (country and pop radio), then you’ve heard of the country power duo Florida Georgia Line. These rising stars have also had cross-over remixes of two of their hit singles (Cruise & This Is How We Roll) with features from r&b/pop/rap stars Nelly and Jason Derulo. With their iron grip on both country and pop radio, I foresee 2015 to be an even BIGGER year for Florida Georgia line.
Album of The Year:
‘Platinum’ by Miranda Lambert
Midas strikes again! With her success from the singles ‘Automatic’ & ‘Somethin’ Bad’ (which features fellow superstar Carrie Underwood, and has been certified Gold, as well as peaking at #1 on the Billboard U.S. Hot Country Songs), this was definitely a hard album to beat.
Vocal Group of The Year:
Little Big Town
With a new album which made its’ debut at #3 on the Billboard U.S. Top Country Albums, and a lead single (entitled ‘Day Drinkin’), which peaked at #4 on the Billboard U.S. Country Airplay, this was certainly Little Big Town’s year to win this top honor.
Irving Waugh Award of Excellence:
With highly successful careers as the front man of the country rock band ‘Pure Prairie League’ and as a solo artist, Vince Gill is the definition of a country music icon. As a solo artist, Vince Gill has won every country music award (multiple times), has won 20 Grammy awards, was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (in 2005), and was awarded with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (2012). Honestly I could sit here and list all of Vince Gill’s INCREDIBLE accomplishments but that would take pages and pages. To make a long story short, if you listen to any one of Vince Gill’s records, you will definitely see why he deserves this award.
Male Vocalist of The Year:
This year Blake has certainly used his voice to prove why he deserves this top honor. This year, Blake released his latest album ‘Bringing back the Sunshine’, which peaked at #1 on the Billboard U.S. 200 chart(which counts albums of all genres) & #1 on the Billboard U.S. Top Country Albums chart. The album also produced a single that peaked at #3 on the U.S. Country chart.
Female Vocalist of The Year:
Midas is here y’all…Midas is here! I don’t think I need to tell y’all why Miranda deserves this award, but in case you forget…listen to her latest album ‘Platinum’, and you’ll remember why she is so awesome.
Entertainer of The Year:
Well now we’ve reached the final award, and although the competition was extremely fierce, it is clear why Luke Bryan walked away with this award. His 2013 album ‘Crash My Party’ was SUCH a huge album for the country music superstar that it peaked at #1 on both the Billboard U.S. 200 & Top Country Albums, as well as producing 3 consecutive #1 singles, and two more singles that peaked at #2 and #5 respectively. If these statistics don’t convince you that Luke Bryan IS the country music entertainer of the year, then take a listen to his album ‘Crash My Party’ and you’ll see how his ability to entertain translates through the album so effortlessly.
Kenny Chesney kicked off the show with his performance of his 1st single ‘American Kids’ off of his latest album ‘The Big Revival’. The number consisted of a very hippie/bohemian theme, complete with fun multicolored lights, and a multicolored bus in the background, complete with an American flag. Kenny’s dancers were also dressed to match the theme, and made the audience feel as if they were invited to an awesome party.
Miranda Lambert & Meghan Trainor:
Next up we had a fun performance by two of music’s sassiest performers Miranda Lambert & Meghan Trainor! They performed a fun and unique performance of Meghan’s hit ‘All About That Bass’. The backdrop of the stage flashed the word ‘Bass’ in different colors throughout the number, and Miranda and Meghan both let their sassiness fly and because of this ha the audience hanging on their every word.
Lady Antebellum stepped up next with their infectious hit single ‘Bartender’. The performance was even more fun to watch with the addition of white, blue, purple, and red lights that kept the “party vibe” of the show going. There were also A LOT of small lights that went all around the stage, that made the stage look as if it were surrounded by stars, and this added the perfect finishing touch to a great performance.
Florida Georgia Line:
Next up we had an AMAZING performance of Florida Georgia Line’s single ‘Dirt’. Usually Florida Georgia Line tends to move around a lot during big award show performances, so I thought that it was a really cool change of pace to see them both sitting down and accompanying themselves on guitar. This performance also showed that these talented guys are able to not only draw in an audience through their stage presence, but simply through their musical skills. The backboard of the stage had cool revolving images of houses, roads, and fences in yellow and orange colors that made the images look as if they would explode at any second.
Keith Urban was next with his performance of his hit single ‘Somewhere In My Car’. The staging was cool with strobe lights that flashed all over the stage, but as always; it was Keith’s voice and unnatural guitar skills that stole the show. It honestly would not be a Keith Urban show without an EPIC guitar solo and he certainly did not fail.
The Band Perry:
The Band Perry was up next, with their performance of ‘Gentle In My Mind’, in honor of the great Glen Campbell. I really loved that the staging for this song was very simple, so the attention of the performance was on the song itself. The Band Perry added their own twist to the hit by changing the arrangement slightly, which brought a fresh vibe to the classic tune.
Kacey Musgraves & Loretta Lynn:
One of country music’s newest rising star Kacey Musgraves, performed the hit ‘You’re Lookin at Country’ with the iconic Loretta Lynn (who made the song famous in 1971). The backdrop of the stage has a very classic country look with a barn that said ‘Grand Old Opry’ on it. This was a really awesome performance that brought together the worlds of classic and modern country into a performance that was one of the standout numbers of the night.
Jason Aldean rocked the stage next with a performance of his single ‘Burning It Down’. The performance had a very country meets rock vibe, complete with cool red and white lights, and lots of energy that just made you want to get up and dance.
Little Big Town & Ariana Grande:
Next we had another “mash of the genres”, when Little Big Town performed with special guest Ariana Grande. First Little Big Town came onstage to perform their latest hit ‘Daydrinkin’. This had to be my favorite performance of the night because of all of the cool visual aspects of the number. The board consisted of two levels of drummers with black suits that had red lights. You could really only see the red lights, so this made the drummers look EXTREMELY cool (I honestly can’t even express just how cool this looked)! Little Big Town had similar outfits on, which added such a cool futuristic feel to their performance that said it apart from the all of the other performances. As always their vocals were VERY on point and near perfect (which is HARD to do in a group). Once ‘Daydrinkin’ was over, the lights instantly switched from red to blue, and Ariana Grande came out to sing a snippet of her hit collaboration ‘Bang Bang’. Little Big Town joined her, and in doing so added a fun country meets r&b flair to the song that was very cool.
Tim McGraw was up next with his song ‘Shotgun Rider’, which brought the classic Tim McGraw vine that fans have grown to love. The staging was very simple with cool blue lights circling the stage, and the confidence and energy that are now a Tim McGraw staple.
Cole Swindell: Cole Swindell performed a snippet of his song ‘Chillin It’, before announcing the winners of the award for ‘Radio Stations of The Year’. Even though Cole only performed a snippet of his song, he was still able to command the stage and grab the crowd in such a way that makes me very excited to see what his future holds.
Dierks Bentley was up next with his party anthem single ‘Drunk on A Plane’. The backboard of the stage had a picture of a plane on a runway, and alternating names of “destination sites”. This performance definitely kept the show’s energy up, and made the show feel less like an award show, and more like an epic concert.
Co-host Brad Paisley performed next with his latest hit ‘Perfect Storm’. The number had an AWESOME Brad Paisley style guitar solo (which the crowd went wild for), and an energy and likability that showed why Brad’s career is steadily on the rise with no sign of slowing down.
Blake Shelton & Ashley Monroe:
Blake Shelton & Ashley Monroe were up next with their emotional duet ‘Lonely Tonight’, which had the crowd captivated from the first note, to the last. The staging for this number was very simple and stripped down, which perfectly brought out the intimate feel of the song, and really made you feel every word.
Co-host Carrie Underwood performed her latest hit ‘Something In The Water’. The backboard had REALLY cool blue lights that floated around and made it look like there was a giant waterfall behind Carrie, that later changed to multicolored lights. Later in the performance a choir of people walked on to accompany Carrie, and added a cool twist to the performance that matched the song perfectly. As always, Carrie’s show-stopping vocals took center stage during this number, and perform that she still has a HUGE presence in country music (BRAVO CARRIE UNDERWOOD!!!).
Next up we had the Entertainer of The Year himself, Mr. Luke Bryan. He performed his newest hit ‘Rollercoaster’, and had very simple staging. The backboard was grey with clouds and occasional thunder. Luke allowed his natural charisma to take center stage, and the crowd completely loved it (and they were even singing back to him at one part of the song).
Miranda Lambert & Little Big Town:
Miranda Lambert & Little Big Town took the stage once more to perform their duet ‘Smokin and Drinkin’ (off of Miranda’s latest album). The staging consisted of a lot of cool smoke and lights, which helped add a cool vibe to the performer that perfectly matched the chilled vibe of the song, Miranda & Little Big Town’s vocals went together perfectly, and made it clear that these two acts NEED to release more tracks together.
George Strait & Eric Church:
King George Strait returned to the CMA stage once more with his performance of his 2003 hit ‘Cowboys Like Us’. The backdrop had a lot of cool pictures of George Strait throughout his career, and added a very classic country feel to the performance. Eric Church added a little rock to George Strait’s classic country vibe, and brought another great example of what happens when modern and classic country merge.
Thomas Rhett performed a snippet of his hit song ‘Get Me Some of That’, while he announced the winners of the CMA ‘Personalities of The Year’ awards. Although his performer was short, Thomas certainly held his audience’s attention the entire time, and showed why he is a rising star to watch.
The Doobie Brothers, Jennifer Nettles, Hillary Scott, & Hunter Hayes:
The Doobie Brothers, Jennifer Nettles, Hillary Scott, & Hunter Hayes were up next with their performance of The Doobie Brothers hit ‘Listen To The Music’. The high energy performance was EXTREMELY fun to watch, and brought musicians from the whole spectrum of country music, to bring a fresh sound to this awesome song. The Doobie Brothers, Jennifer Nettles, and Hillary Scott killed their vocal performances, and Hunter Hayes had an AMAZING guitar solo that the crowd went crazy for. What I loved most about this performance was the fact that it felt less like a calculated award show performance, and more like a bunch of musicians jamming out.
The Doobie Brothers closed the show with their song ‘Takin it To The Streets’, (with some help from Jennifer Nettles, Hillary Scott, Hunter Hayes, & Brad Paisley). The number included an AWESOME keyboard solo, and had a very old school feel and energy that made the performance feel like an AMAZING concert.
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘YouTube Wednesday’ blog post, we are going to discuss an amazing new country singer that you ALL need to keep a close eye on. This talented young musician is an extremely talented writer, guitarist, and vocalist who is quickly on the verge of becoming country music’s next big star. Remember the name Hailey Steele everyone, because you will be hearing this name EVERYWHERE very soon! Hailey already has a very impressive resume, due to her appearances on NBC’s ‘The Voice’ (as a part of a country duo called ‘THE LINE’, she was on Team Christina) and Jay Leno’s ‘The Tonight Show’. She has also has had the honor of sharing the stage with legends such as Willie Nelson and Neil Young. She has also had the honor of being inducted into the South Dakota Country Music Hall of Fame. Hailey is currently signed with BMG Chrysalis Nashville (where she is signed to an exclusive songwriting deal, and has even co-written on fellow ‘The Voice’ alum and country music recording artist RaeLynn’s single ‘Boyfriend’) and is set to release her debut EP on November 18th, 2014. So needless to say, Hailey an artist on the rise please read on so you don’t fall behind.
Hailey uploaded her first original song on YouTube on March 4th, 2012. The song is entitled ‘Electric Blue’ (ELECTRiC BLUE – HAiLEY STEELE) and I think that it is an excellent introduction to just how talented Hailey is. I love how Hailey is instantly able to capture your attention, and leave you under her spell for the duration of the song. This ability really shows just how much of a natural star Hailey is, because not only is she singing while playing the guitar (not an easy task because you have to focus on multiple things at once), but she’s also performing the song in such a way that once the song ends, you instantly want to hear more. The next song that we have to talk about is Hailey’s performance of ‘Boyfriend’ (Hailey Steele – Boyfriend, uploaded on October 6th, 2013) by RaeLynn. I really loved hearing this version of the song, because Hailey and RaeLynn have very different tones and styles, so it is fun to hear this song performed in a fresh way. I loved that Hailey was able to really bring out the sass and attitude in this song, and she definitely makes you just wanna get up and dance. Since ‘Electric Blue’ was a more heartfelt, emotional song, I thought that ‘Boyfriend’ was a fun contrast, and it definitely proves that Hailey is a well rounded artist that can make you cry one minute and then get up and dance the next. The final song that we are going to talk about in this post is my FAVORITE song on Hailey’s YouTube channel, entitled ‘Diamonds’ (Diamonds-Hailey Steele), which she uploaded on January 12th, 2014. I really love this song because it’s fun, catchy, and has a great message that everyone can relate to (basically all of the ingredients to a perfect song in my opinion). I definitely think that this song could be a MAJOR hit, and it makes me excited to see what Hailey will release next. I really love when a songwriter is able to express exactly what they feel through a song, but still make it something that you can jam out to, and Hailey definitely accomplishes this task.
So as y’all can see, I have become a HUGE Hailey Steele fan, and I think once you hear her music, you will be too! It’s not often that an artist has a special something about them that makes you unable to turn away, and Hailey definitely has that quality. I am very excited to see where this talented artist’s career leads her, and all the AWESOME things she is going to be able to accomplish along the way. As Hailey says in her soon to be hit song ‘Diamonds’, “Diamonds take pressure, and patience, and time”. Well it is definitely this diamond’s time to shine!
Stay up to date with Hailey:
Instagram: hailey_steele on Instagram
Facebook: Hailey Steele | Facebook