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Global APRA Music Awards Nashville announced

Story Published Monday 2 March 2020
Tommy Emmanuel

Legendary guitarist Tommy Emmanuel honoured with Distinguished Services Award

Seaforth, Rick Price, Morgan Evans and Phil Barton take home wins

The Global APRA Music Awards completed the second of three around-the-world stops, with awards handed out Sunday evening in Nashville (local time) at Clementine Hall, hosted by O’Shea. The awards were given to Nashville-based Australasian songwriters, composers and music publishers achieving artistic excellence and commercial success. The Nashville awards came on the heels of Los Angeles (26 February) and ahead of London (6 March) events.

Legendary rocker Brian Cadd presented the first award of the night, with Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year Nashville going to Mitchell Thompsonand Thomas Jordan, the Sydney Northern Beaches childhood friends who perform as country-pop duo Seaforth. They released their debut EP Love That on Sony Nashville in 2019 and have been touring it in the States, playing venerable venues including New York’s Webster Hall and the Grand Ole Opry. They return to Australia this month for CMC Rocks and a Sydney headline show.

The Overseas Recognition Award Nashville was presented by two longtime Nashville-via-Australia songwriters, Kylie Sackley and Lindsay Rimes, and awarded to Rick Price. A lot has happened since Rick won the 1992 APRA Song of the Year for ‘Heaven Knows’, with the songwriter-performer relocating to Nashville a decade ago to work primarily as a producer and drawing upon the gospel, soul and country influences in the city.

When Newcastle native Morgan Evans met hitmaker Chris DeStefano at APRA AMCOS’ SongHubs/50 Songs in 5 Days songwriting camp and subsequent SongHubs sessions, it changed his career path. Tonight Chris presented Morgan with the Outstanding International Achievement Award for his global success. Morgan’s ‘Day Drunk’ collaboration with Chris and Lindy Robbins was the 2019 APRA Music Awards Country Work of the Year and cracked US Country Radio Top 40. ‘Kiss Somebody’ was a #1 US Country Aircheck/Mediabase hit and made Morgan country music’s one to watch.

It was a special moment when artist manager Gina Mendello presented the Distinguished Services Award Nashville to world-renowned guitarist and songwriter Tommy Emmanuel, who has been playing live and wowing audiences since his childhood in Australia. With a deep discography and a non-stop touring schedule, Emmanuel’s fingerpicking style is lauded for its virtuosity. He has collaborated with Jason Isbell, Mark Knopfler, Rodney Crowell, among countless others, and is one of just a few Certified Guitar Players in the world, as named by his hero Chet Atkins.

The final award of the night, Songwriter of the Year Nashville, was presented to Phil Barton, who was introduced by his good friend and GRAMMY-winning songwriter and music publisher Liz Rose. The prolific songwriter relocated to Nashville in 2005 and has written hits for Lee Brice (the #1 ‘A Woman Like You’), Sara Evans, David Nail and fellow award winner Morgan Evans. Recently, he’s been writing with the next wave of country stars including American Young, Catherine McGrath and Canadian up-and-comer Kalsey Kulyk.

“It’s wonderful to celebrate the nominees, performers, presenters, and our special honourees with the Nashville community, a community of songwriters,” said APRA Chair Jenny Morris.

“A lot of our members work behind-the-scenes crafting songs day in and day out, playing a vital role in the Nashville music ecosystem, and we’re here to acknowledge all the hard work and artistry you contribute. And we will go home and share the stories of your achievements,” said APRA AMCOS Chief Executive Dean Ormston at the event.

The evening was hosted by husband and wife musical duo Mark and Jay O’Shea and featured an opening performance by Nashville-based Aussie sister trio Dozzi, who performed the Lauren Daigle GRAMMY-winning hit ‘You Say,’ co-written by dual nominee Paul Mabury with Daigle and Jason Ingram. Seaforth closed the evening with a performance of their collaboration with Phil Barton, ‘Love Me Like You’ and their single 'Love That.'

Global APRA Music Awards - Nashville - Winners

Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year

Mitchell Thompson* and Thomas Jordan (pka Seaforth) (Writers)
Warner Chappell Music obo W C M Music Corp* (Publisher)

Overseas Recognition Award

Rick Price (Writer)
Kobalt Music Music Publishing obo LilliPilli IP (Publisher)

Outstanding International Achievement Award

Morgan Evans (Writer)
Warner Chappell Music obo SongsByMe (Publisher)

Songwriter of the Year

Phil Barton (Writer)
Mushroom Music obo Anthem Music Publishing (Publisher)

Distinguished Services Award

Tommy Emmanuel (Writer)
Universal Music Publishing (Publisher)