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Jordan Davis, Morgan Wallen & Big Loud Publishing Lead 2024 AIMP Nashville Country Awards Honorees

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Many of Nashville’s top songwriters and music publishers were feted Monday evening (April 1) during the Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP)’s Nashville Country Awards, held at the Ryman Auditorium. The Spotify-sponsored event, which was hosted by Storme Warren, drew a throng of songwriters and industry execs from Nashville’s independent country songwriter and publisher community.

Jordan Davis, who is independently published by Anthem Entertainment, was named artist-writer of the year, while his song “Next Thing You Know,” which he co-wrote with Josh Osborne, Chase McGill and Greylan James, was named song of the year; the song was independently published by Anthem Entertainment.

“This is amazing,” Davis told the crowd in taking the stage to accept his artist-writer of the year honor, adding, “I moved [to Nashville] in 2012 and dreamed of getting in the room to write songs with some of the people that are sitting right here in these front rows and never in a million years would have dreamed that I would have found the community and the family that I have here in Nashville. I’m blessed to get to say I do this for a living.”

Big Loud Publishing took home publisher of the year honors, while Morgan Wallen, who is independently published by Big Loud Publishing, was named songwriter of the year. Wallen’s “98 Braves,” written by Travis Wood, John Byron and Josh Miller was named publisher pick of the year; the song was independently published by Creative Nation Music, Big Loud Publishing, and Concord Music Publishing.

Wallen’s “Last Night,” written by Wallen, John Byron, Ashley Gorley, Charlie Handsome and JKash, was named AIMP most streamed country song of the year; the song was independently published by Big Loud Publishing and Prescription Songs.

The rising songwriter of the year award went to Rocky Block (who is independently published by Big Loud Publishing), who has co-written songs including Cody Johnson’s “Whiskey Bent,” and Wallen’s “Man Made a Bar” and “Cowgirls.”

“I’ve been to so many of these and dreamt of this,” Block said. “I’ve been independently published my whole career,” Block said, thanking Bob DiPiero for being an early champion and also thanking Big Loud. “I’m thankful to work with everyone of you in this room.”

Meanwhile, Mae Estes, who is independently published by Plaid Flag Music and Kobalt Music Publishing, was named rising artist-writer of the year. Estes is known for songs including “Hell You Raised” and “Roses.”

“I worked three jobs at a time in this town for almost six years and finally got a publishing deal to write songs in Music City and y’all changed my whole life,” Estes told the audience shortly before hit yet another milestone that same evening, performing for the first time on the Ryman Auditorium stage.

“The awards are always a magical night with Artist nominees performing Song of the Year-nominated songs,” says Ree Guyer, owner of Wrensong Entertainment, in a statement. “It is always fun seeing our indie publishers come together to celebrate one another in a laid-back, intimate setting.”

As is tradition for the AIMP Nashville Awards, past and present rising artist-writer of the year and artist-writer of the year nominees were on hand to perform. Each song of the year and publisher picks category nominated songs were performed by someone other than the original artist or writer. This year’s performers included Davis, Dylan Scott, Russell Dickerson, Estes, George Birge, Dylan Marlowe and HARDY.

Big Machine Music’s vice president of publishing Tim Hunze was named the 2024 AIMP song champion award honoree, recognizing his contributions to the independent publishing and songwriting community. Hunze offered up advice he received from songwriter Tom Shapiro, saying, “‘If you take care of the creatives and the writers, you’ll always have a job.’ That is the best part of what I get to do, working with the creatives.” He also nodded to earning the song champion award, saying, “Being a song champion is just being passionate and finding something you love. I’ve been doing the same thing since I was a kid; I found a band I liked and I told all my friends and all my buddies.”

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