ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, presented acclaimed country singer, songwriter and performer Chris Stapleton with the ASCAP Vanguard Award at the 54th annual ASCAP Country Music Awards. The awards celebration, which honors the songwriters and publishers of ASCAP’s most performed country songs of 2015, took place at the historic Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville on October 31st.
“Every so often, someone comes along with songwriting so masterful, a voice so powerful and a presence so captivating, that it stops you in your tracks,” says ASCAP President Paul Williams. “Chris Stapleton does just that. By distilling Southern sounds and themes into potent songs, he has brought raw soul back to the country charts, and established himself as one of the most respected and original artists in American music today. We are thrilled to honor him with the ASCAP Vanguard Award.”
The Vanguard Award recognizes the impact of outstanding ASCAP members on musical genres that will help shape the future of American music. Previous recipients include Walk The Moon, St. Vincent, fun., The Civil Wars, Third Day, Band of Horses, Sara Bareilles and more.
Chris Stapleton’s acclaimed album, Traveller, was released in May 2015 on Mercury Records Nashville and debuted at #2 on the Billboard Country Albums chart. With more than 27,000 albums sold, it was the best-selling first week by a debut country artist that year. The album also received immediate and extensive critical acclaim that helped land Stapleton bookings on “Late Show with David Letterman,” “The View,” “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” among others.
Following an historic turn on the 2015 CMA Awards – Stapleton was the first artist to win Album of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year and New Artist of the Year at the same awards – Traveller became the first album to re-enter the Billboard 200 all-genre album chart at #1, where it stayed for two weeks. Stapleton also performed a “show-stealing” (Rolling Stone) duet on the live awards show with superstar, friend and fellow ASCAP member Justin Timberlake, which Entertainment Weekly called “an unapologetic display of abnormal levels of talent.”
Stapleton capped off his record year with four nominations and two wins at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards — Album of the Year (nominee), Best Country Album (winner), Best Country Song (nominee) and Best Country Solo Performance (winner). He is currently nominated for Entertainer of the Year, Single of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year and Music Video of the Year, as well as Musical Event of the Year, alongside his wife, Morgane Stapleton, for their performance of “You Are My Sunshine” from producer Dave Cobb’s acclaimed Southern Family compilation, at the 50th annual CMA Awards, to be held November 2nd in Nashville.
Renowned and respected in Music City, Stapleton has also co-written six #1 hits for some of country music’s biggest stars and has continually worked as an in-demand session musician, providing masterful backup vocals and guitar work to countless pieces of music. ASCAP has featured Stapleton, a longtime member, at many ASCAP events during his career, including the Sundance ASCAP Music Café, the ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO, the ASCAP “We Write the Songs” showcase on Capitol Hill, the ASCAP Country Music Awards and more.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians. Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award Recipients. In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky. She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Hollercast podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more. Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.