Zach Bryan, Hailey Whitters Take Home Early ACM Awards Wins

By Billboard on

Ahead of Thursday evening’s (May 11) Academy of Country Music Awards ceremony, two artists are already winners.

On Tuesday evening (May 9), the ACM revealed Hailey Whitters as the winner of the new female artist of the year honor, and Zach Bryan as the winner of the new male artist of the year trophy.

This marks the first ACM wins for both Whitters and Bryan.

Whitters earned a top 30 Billboard Hot Country Songs hit with “Everything She Ain’t,” featured on her 2022 album Raised, cementing her place as both a “rising” and go-to songwriter, having written songs recorded by Little Big Town (“Happy People”), Alan Jackson (“The Older I Get”) and Martina McBride (“Low All Afternoon,” “The Real Thing”). In 2015, Whitters released the project Black Sheep (via Carnival), and, later, inked a label deal with Nicolle Galyon’s Songs & Daughters imprint (Big Loud) in 2020. Whitters also released the projects The Dream and Raised, and will make her debut ACM Awards performance on Thursday evening.

Bryan earned a top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hit earlier this year with “Something in the Orange,” which was also a six-week No. 1 Hot Country Songs hit and topped the Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart. His 2022 album American Heartbreak debuted at No. 1 on the top country albums chart, while his followup EP, Summertime Blues, debut at No. 7. He is launching his headlining Burn Burn Burn tour this month, and just earned a song of the year nomination at the upcoming Americana Honors & Awards for “Something in the Orange.”

The 58th annual Academy of Country Music Awards will be free to stream live on Prime Video on May 11 beginning at 7 p.m. ET from the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.

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