Unbreakable Bloodline (Staff photo: Brad McEwen)
ALBANY — Georgia has long been a hotbed of musical talent, much of which has helped shaped popular music throughout the years and brought joy to countless fans and admirers.
That tradition continues to this day and the GA Music Awards is one way that fans can support their favorite up-and-coming artists and help them get the exposure they need to make it to the next level.
Nominees for this year’s GA Music Awards were released recently and proved that six area artists not only have lots of fan support, but are also making an impact on music industry insiders throughout the state.
Albany’s Unbreakable Bloodline, Highway 55, Dog Head, Tony B, Nick Alligood and Leesburg’s Faith Jackson have all been nominated for awards based on fan nominations and musical talent.
According to Omar McCallup, founder of Award Show Nation and Director of the GA Music Awards, each artist was nominated for awards in different categories based on a twofold approach that includes fan support and musical quality as determined by a panel of experts made up of music and program directors and talent judges.
“The music that is nominated has to have two parts,” said McCallup. “It has to sound good and it has to have fans. If an artist is going to make music a career, they have to have quality and they have to have fans.”
McCallup said that the first step in the nomination process is for fans to submit the names of their favorite artists, in a variety of categories, to the GA Music Awards website. Then the Top 10 acts in terms of submissions are selected, and a song of theirs is sent to an expert panel. The panel picks the artists they feel show the most talent and deliver the best quality. Those picks serve as final nominees in each category.
Award winners are chosen by fan voting, and the winners are invited to the GA Music Awards showcase, which this year will be held June 14 at the Buckhead Theater in Atlanta, to receive their awards.
While the prospect of winning an industry award is certainly appealing, just being submitted by their fans is a tremendous honor for many of the the area artists who have made it to the final nominations.
For Jason Lodge, lead vocalist of Dog Head, the nomination came as a huge surprise to the band, which has been slowly gaining a following in the metal community in recent months.
“We were very surprised,” Lodge said. “It’s very cool and very humbling that people took the time to nominate us. In the end, you can’t be a band without people listening to you and liking what they hear. We’re very excited about that.”
For members of Unbreakable Bloodline, earning another nomination after winning a GA Music Award last year was actually one of the band’s goals over the past year. To band members, the nomination meant there was more work to do and more music to deliver to their fans.
“When we won the award last year, we wanted to celebrate immediately afterwards, but before we did we made a commitment to one another that we would work even harder so that we would be able to experience this again,” said vocalist Jay “O-Z” Osborne.
“It being a fan-driven award, it is very humbling to see that we truly do have an incredible fan base that we are proud to call family,” added drummer Chad Basko.
Cody Smith, lead singer of Highway 55, which earned the 2012 and 2013 GA Music Country Band of the Year and 2013 overall Band of the Year awards, echoed that sentiment, saying that it’s the support of the fans that keeps the band going.
“We’re pretty excited about being nominated every year and the fact that our fans are being so loyal and taking their time to vote for us,” Smith said. “It’s great that people care enough to come see us and spend their hard-earned money and give their time to support us.”
Nominations are currently open and fans can cast their votes at gamusicawards.com.
Highway 55 is nominated this year for Best County Band/Group; Nick Alligood is nominated for Best Country Male; Faith Jackson is nominated for Best Country Female; Unbreakable Bloodline is nominated for Best Hip-Hop Group; Dog Head is nominated for Best Metal Group, and Tony B is nominated for Best Hip-Hop Male.