Review: ‘Ailey,’ starring Alvin Ailey

July 31, 2021

by Carla Hay

Alvin Ailey in “Ailey” (Photo courtesy of Neon)

“Ailey”

Directed by Jamila Wignot

Culture Representation: Taking place primarily in New York City, the biographical documentary “Ailey” features a group of white and African American people (and one Asian person) discussing the life and career of pioneering dance troupe founder/choreographer Alvin Ailey, who became one of the first African Americans to launch a world-renowned dance troupe and dance school.

Culture Clash: Ailey, who died of AIDS in 1989 at the age of 58, struggled with the idea of going public about his HIV diagnosis, and he experienced problems throughout his life, due to racism, homophobia and his issues with mental illness.

Culture Audience: Besides the obvious target audience of Alvin Ailey fans, “Ailey” will appeal primarily to people who interested in the art of fusion dance and stories about entrepreneurial artists who succeeded despite obstacles being put in their way.

Alvin Ailey in “Ailey” (Photo by Jack Mitchell)

The documentary “Ailey” is a very traditionally made biography of a very non-traditional artist. Although the movie can be at times be slow-paced and dry, it’s greatly boosted by having modern dance pioneer Alvin Ailey as a very fascinating subject. Ardent fans of Ailey will get further insight into his inner thoughts, thanks to the documentary’s previously unreleased audio recordings that he made as a personal journal. The movie also does a very good job at putting into context how Ailey’s influence can be seen in many of today’s dancers and choreographers.

Directed by Jamila Wignot, “Ailey” had its world premiere at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and its New York premiere at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival. New York City was Ailey’s last hometown, where he found fame as one of the first prominent dancers/choreographers to blend jazz, ballet, theater and Afro-centric culture. His work broke racial barriers in an industry where U.S.-based touring dance troupes were almost exclusively owned and staffed by white people.

Born in the rural town of Rogers, Texas, in 1931, Ailey says in audio recordings that his earliest memories were “being glued to my mother’s hips … while she worked in the fields.” Ailey’s father abandoned the family when Ailey was a baby, so Ailey was raised by his single mother Lula, who was a domestic worker. She supported him in his dream to become a professional dancer.

Ailey’s childhood experiences were shaped by growing up poor in the racially segregated South. In the documentary, he mentions through audio recordings that some of his fondest childhood memories were being at house parties with dancing people and going to the Dew Drop Inn, a famous hotel chain that welcomed people who weren’t allowed in “whites only” hotels and other racially segregated places. Another formative experience in his childhood was being saved from drowning by his good friend Chauncey Green.

By 1942, Ailey and his mother were living in Los Angeles, where she hoped to find better job opportunities in a less racially segregated state. It was in Los Angeles that Ailey first discovered his love of dance and theater, when he became involved in school productions. A life-changing moment happened for him happened at age 15, in 1946, when he saw the Katherine Dunham Dance Company and Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo perform at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Auditorium. It sparked a passion to make dance his career. And that passion never went away, despite all the ups and downs that he encountered.

In the documentary, Ailey has this to say about watching the Katherine Dunham Dance Company for the first time: “I was taken into another realm … And the male dancers were just superb. The jumps, the agility, the sensuality of what they did blew me away … Dance had started to pull at me.”

But his interest in becoming a dancer was considered somewhat dangerous at the time, because ballet dancing was something that boys could be and still are viciously bullied over as something that’s considered “too effeminate.” Carmen de Lavallade, a longtime friend of Ailey’s, comments in the documentary on what she remembers of a young Ailey before he found fame: “He was beautiful! He didn’t dare let anyone know he wanted to be a dancer, because he would be teased or humiliated.”

But at this pivotal moment in Ailey’s life, it just so happened that Lester Horton opened the Lester Horton Dance Theater in Los Angeles in 1946. Don Martin, a longtime dancer and Ailey friend, says in the documentary that their mutual love of dance prompted Ailey to join Horton’s dance school, where Ailey thrived. Horton became an early mentor to Ailey.

The documentary doesn’t go into great detail over Ailey’s experiences as a student at the University of California at Los Angeles or when he briefly lived in San Francisco, where he worked with then-unknown poet Maya Angelou in a nightclub act called Al and Rita. Instead, the “Ailey” documentary skips right to the 1954, when Ailey moved to New York City to pursue being a professional dancer. In 1958, he founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT), which also has an affiliated school.

George Faison, an AAADT dancer/choreographer from 1966 to 1970, comments: “Alvin entertained thoughts and dreams that a black boy could actually dance” in a prominent dance troupe. Ailey shares his thoughts in his personal audio recordings: “It was a universe I could escape into, so that it would allow me to do anything I wanted to do.”

Ailey’s breakthrough work was 1960’s “Revelations,” which was a then-unprecedented modern ballet about uniquely African American experiences steeped in church traditions. The piece was revolutionary not just because it had a majority-black group of dancers and touched on sensitive racial issues but also because it used blues, jazz and gospel instead of traditional classical music. “Revelations” remains Ailey’s most famous performance work.

Mary Barnett, an AAADT rehearsal director from 1975 to 1979, remembers the impact that “Revelations” had on her: “I was moved to tears seeing ‘Revelations’ … I was studying ballet, I was studying dance. This was more of a re-enactment of life.”

Judith Jamsion—an AAADT dancer from 1964 to 1988 and AAADT artistic director from 1989 to 2011—has this to say about what “Revelations” means to her: “What took me away was the prowess and the technique and the fluidity and the excellence in the dance.” Jamison is often credited with being the person who was perhaps the most instrumental in keeping AAADT alive after Ailey’s death.

A turning point for “Revelations” was when the production went on a U.S.-government sponsored tour of Southeast Asia. It’s one thing to be a privately funded dance troupe. But getting the U.S. government’s seal of approval, especially for a tour that could be viewed as a cultural ambassador for American dance, gave AAADT an extra layer of prestige.

However, “Ailey” does not gloss over the some of the racism that Ailey encountered, including tokenism and cultural appropriation. Bill T. Jones, a choreographer who co-founded the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, has this to say about what it’s like to be an African American in an industry that is dominated by white people: “Oftentimes, black creators are used. Everybody used him [Ailey] as, ‘See, this is the progress we’re making. And see, we’re not racist, we have Alvin Ailey.'”

AAADT movement choreographer Rennie Harris (who created 2019’s “Lazarus” for AAADT) comments on Ailey’s mindset in wanting an African American social consciousness to be intrinsic to his work: “You came here to be entertained, but I have to tell my truth.” Harris adds that this way of thinkng influences his own work: “I’m still feeling the same way, as anyone would feel if you’re feeling unwanted by the [dominant] culture.”

Throughout the documentary, Harris and AAADT artistic director Robert Battle can be seen in rehearsals with AAADT dancers to show how Ailey’s legacy currently lives on with other generations of dancers. This back and forth between telling Ailey’s life story and showing present-day AAADT dancers could have been distracting, but it works well for the most part because of the seamless film editing by Annukka Lilja and Cory Jordan Wayne. The documentary has expected archival footage of Ailey interviews and past AAADT performances of Ailey’s work, such as 1969’s “Maskela Language,” 1970’s “The River”; 1971’s “Cry” and “Mary Lou’s Mass”; 1972’s “Love Songs” and 1975’s “Night Creature.”

The “Ailey” documentary includes analysis of some of Ailey’s biggest influences. It’s mentioned that “Cry” was a tribute to hard-working and supportive black women, such as his mother Lula. “Maskela Language” was inspired by the death of Ailey’s early mentor Hampton. Santa Allen, who was an AAADT dancer from 1973 to 1983, comments: “Choreography really was his catharsis.” As for his genre-defying work, Ailey says in archival footage, “I don’t like pinning myself down.”

The documentary has some commentary, but not a lot, on Ailey’s love life. He was openly gay to his close friends, family members and many of colleagues, but he avoided talking about his love life to the media. Ailey was apparently so secretive about his love life that the only serious boyfriend who’s mentioned in the documentary is a man named Abdullah (no last name mentioned), whom Ailey met in Paris and brought to New York City to live with him.

According to what’s said in the documentary, Abdullah left Ailey by climbing out of the apartment’s fire escape. The movie doesn’t mention why they broke up, but Ailey seems to have channeled his heartbreak into his work. Another aspect of Ailey’s personal life that he didn’t easily share with others was his battle with depression and suicidal thoughts. Only people in his inner circle knew about these struggles, according to what some people in the documentary say.

AAADT stage manager Bill Hammond says that by the 1970s, Ailey was a full-blown workaholic. “I think he took on too much,” Hammond comments. Other people interviewed in the “Ailey” documentary include “Lazarus” composer Darrin Ross; Linda Kent, an AAADT dancer from 1968 to 1974; Hope Clark, an AAADT dancer from 1965 to 1966; and Masazumi Chaya, an AAADT dancer from 1972 to 1966 and AAADT associate director from 1991 to 2019.

Ailey’s determination to keep his personal life as private as possible also extended to when he found out that he was HIV-positive. Several people in “Ailey” claimed that even when it was obvious that he was looking very unhealthy, he denied having AIDS to many of his closest friends, out of fear of being shunned. It was not uncommon for many people with AIDS to try to hide that they had the disease, especially back in the 1980s, when it was mistakenly labeled as a “gay disease,” and the U.S. government was slow to respond to this public health crisis.

Because dance requires a certain athleticism, having a physically degenerative disease such as AIDS was not something that Ailey wanted to be part of his legacy. According to Jones, many gay men at the time wanted to edit themselves out of the AIDS narrative. “He was part of the editing,” Jones says of Ailey.

And that shame caused Ailey to isolate himself from many of his loved ones. “He was alone,” adds Jones of Ailey not sharing much of his suffering with several people he knew. (On a side note, Jones is the subject of his own documentary: “Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters,” which was released in the U.S. a week before the “Ailey” documentary.)

But toward the end of Ailey’s life, it was impossible for him to continue to hide the truth, even though he refused to go public with having AIDS. One of the most emotionally moving parts of the documentary is when Jamison describes being with Ailey on his death bed at the moment that he died: “He breathed in, and he never breathed out. We [the people he left behind] are his breath out.”

“Ailey” is an example of documentary that’s a touching reminder that how someone lives is more important than how someone dies. The storytelling style of this documentary doesn’t really break any new ground. However, people who have an appreciation for highly creative artists will find “Ailey” a worthy portrait of someone whose life might have been cut short, but he has an influential legacy that will continue for generations.

Neon released “Ailey” in New York City on July 23, 2021, and in Los Angeles on July 30, 2021, with an expansion to more U.S. cinemas on August 6, 2021.

Review: ‘The Sparks Brothers,’ starring Ron Mael and Russell Mael

July 2, 2021

by Carla Hay

Russell Mael and Ron Mael in “The Sparks Brothers” (Photo by Anna Webber / Focus Features)

“The Sparks Brothers”

Directed by Edgar Wright

Culture Representation: The documentary film “The Sparks Brothers” features a nearly all-white group of people (and one African American) discussing the career and influence of the American experimental rock/pop duo Sparks, including Sparks members Russell Mael and Ron Mael.

Culture Clash: The highs and lows of Sparks’ career included the Mael brothers’ sibling rivalry; relocating to England during a pivotal time in the duo’s career; parting ways with filmmaker Tim Burton on a movie musical that was supposed to be a big comeback for Sparks; and dealing with the fickle nature of the music business.

Culture Audience: Aside from die-hard fans of Sparks, “The Sparks Brothers” will appeal mostly to people who are nostalgic or curious about influential pop/rock musicians who never became superstars.

Russell Mael and Ron Mael in “The Sparks Brothers” (Photo by Jake Polonsky/Focus Features)

“The Sparks Brothers” documentary director Edgar Wright makes it abundantly clear that he’s a massive fan of the pop/rock duo Sparks, so this film is more of a tribute than a well-rounded biography. At 140 minutes long, “The Sparks Brothers” can be an endurance test for people who aren’t die-hard Sparks enthusiasts. And since the documentary only interviews people who are either fans of Sparks or have worked with Sparks, the non-stop praise for Sparks can be a bit repetitive. However, the documentary is a fascinating look at the longevity of Sparks and the brotherly dynamics of Sparks members Ron and Russell Mael.

“The Sparks Brothers,” whose exclusive interview footage was filmed in black and white, is a documentary that makes some attempt to not completely follow the typical film biography format of mixing archival footage with new footage that was filmed exclusively for the documentary. Sparks is known as an experimental and offbeat act that never hit superstar mainstream status. And so, there are moments in the film that are nods to the quirky image of Sparks.

For example, director Wright can sometimes be heard talking to the Mael brothers off-camera in a cheeky manner to make a joke or set up a sight gag. When he asks the Ron and Russell why they decided to do an authorized documentary at this time in their lives, older brother Ron says, “We didn’t want to do a standard documentary full of talking heads.” Russell adds, “It would become too dry.” And then two buckets of water are thrown on the brothers.

It’s a facetious moment, because this documentary is actually full of talking heads—so much so that numerous people’s comments about Sparks take up at least 40% of the movie. Some of the best moments of the documentary, which tells the Sparks story in chronological order, is near the beginning, when it reveals photos and details about the early years of Ron and Russell being musicians.

Ron (who was born in 1945 in Santa Monica, California) and Russell Mael (who was born in 1948 in Culver City, California) are the only children of Meyer and Miriam Mael. Meyer was a commercial painter, graphic designer and caricaturist, who tragically died when Ron was 11 and Russell was 8. Miriam was a librarian. Ron and Russell were raised primarily in Pacific Palisades (an affluent suburb of Los Angeles), and the brothers performed in talent shows when they were school children.

Ron says that these talent shows were the first experiences that he and Russell had in getting a taste of the “addicting” thrill of affecting an audience. People unfamiliar with the Mael brothers’ teen years might be surprised to find out from this documentary that Russell (who’s known for his thin physique) was the quarterback of his high school football team. Russell says that he got the same adrenaline rush from playing in football games that he later got when he performed on stage as an entertainer. The Mael brothers say that the 1955 dramatic film “Blackboard Jungle” was a huge influence on them as children.

Ron and Russell attended the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), where they started to play in rock bands that never really went anywhere beyond the local music scene. Two of those bands were Moonbaker Abbey and the Urban Renewal Projects. The Mael brothers say they first started getting serious about music when they began working with Earle Mankey, a founding member of Halfnelson, the band whose name was later changed to Sparks. Sparks’ 1971 eponymous debut album was originally titled “Halfnelson.” Mankey is one of the people interviewed in the documentary.

At UCLA, Ron and Russell both studied film, which would influence the types of music videos that they made and their tendency to sometimes reinvent themselves with various images and costumes. But throughout their career, one image of the band remained true and constant: Russell as the extroverted lead singer (who was also a heartthrob in Sparks’ heyday) and Ron as the introverted keyboardist/songwriter/producer.

It’s repeated several times in the documentary that Ron had private struggles with being overshadowed by Russell, even though Ron was the one creating the band’s songs. It’s a common situation with musical duos and groups, because the lead singer is usually the one who gets most of the attention. But adding in sibling rivalry makes it a more emotionally complicated issue. Someone can stop working with a sibling, but that sibling will still be a family member.

Russell describes the early years of developing his stage persona as trying to emulate Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger and The Who lead singer Roger Daltrey. “I was off by a few thousand miles,” he quips. The Mael brothers say other musical influences on Sparks were French New Wave bands. Given the brothers’ background in studying film, it’s not surprising that French New Wave in music and film had an effect on them, because there’s a very European style to the Mael brothers’ art.

Becoming a superstar act was never Sparks’ goal, but this documentary makes it clear that Ron and Russell Mael have wanted enough commercial success to be famous and to be wealthy enough to able to self-fund their projects in case no companies or investors were interested. There’s no question that Sparks has a very devoted fan base, but this documentary wants to bestow “legendary” status on Sparks. It’s a description that gives the movie a very fan-worship tone that exaggerates how far Sparks’ influence really went, compared to other non-mainstream arists who influenced a wider variety of people.

“The Sparks Brothers” documentary gives a comprehensive overview of the Sparks album discography, up until 2020, when the movie was completed. There’s a mention at the end of the film about the 2021 movie musical “Annette” (directed by Leos Carax), which features original music by Sparks, as well as the Mael brothers in supporting roles as actors. “Annette” (which stars Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard) is set for release by Amazon Studios in August 2021, thereby making it the second movie of 2021 (after “The Sparks Brothers”) to feature Ron and Russell Mael. “The Sparks Brothers” world premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, and the world premiere of “Annette” is at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival,

“Annette” is the culmination of years of the Mael brothers’ dream to do a movie musical. “The Sparks Brothers” documentary includes their version of what happened when they parted ways with director Tim Burton on a movie musical called “Mai, the Psychic Girl,” based on the 1985-1986 manga series written by Kazuya Kudō and illustrated by Ryoichi Ikegami. The Mael brothers worked on the movie during a time (the late 1980s to early 1990s) when the duo’s career was in a slump, and they say they needed a hit project to keep them financially afloat.

Although the Mael brothers don’t give too many details on what led to Burton’s departure from the project, they make it clear that Burton was the one who walked away, and the Mael brothers were heartbroken over it. (According to numerous reports, Burton chose to instead work with Disney for 1993’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and 1994’s “Ed Wood.”) The Mael brothers invested several years and most of their personal fortune into the “Mai, the Psychic Girl” movie. And once Burton was no longer involved in making the movie, all the other investors backed out. The rights to make the movie eventually went to other people, but so far, attempts to make “Mai, the Psychic Girl” into a movie have not come to fruition.

Another crossroad in Sparks’ career that’s discussed in the documentary is when the Mael brothers decided to relocate to England in 1973, after growing frustrated by their lack of commercial success in the United States. They fired their American band mates to start over in a completely new country. It was in England that Sparks began to blossom artistically and found a bigger fan base than ever before. Sparks’ popularity eventually spread all over Europe (mainly in western Europe), where Sparks had their biggest hits. The Mael Brothers moved back to the Los Angeles area in 1976.

Although Sparks has plenty of fans in other continents, Europe is where Sparks has been glorified the most. Sparks became so associated with England in the 1970s, that many fans who discovered them back then incorrectly assumed that the Mael brothers were natives of England. Sparks’ biggest string of hit songs were in the 1980s, including 1983’s “Cool Places,” from the album “In Outer Space”; 1986’s “Music You Can Dance To,” the title track of Sparks’ 1985 album; and 1989’s “Just Got Back From Heaven,” from the 1988 album “Interior Design.”

“The Sparks Brothers” documentary has plenty to say about the Mael brothers’ music, but very little to say about their personal lives, except for Russell mentioning that he was quite a playboy when he was young. The Go-Go’s co-founder/rhythm guitarist Jane Wiedlin, who’s interviewed in the documentary, says she dated Russell in the early 1980s, but their brief romance was more one-sided on her part. And in the early 1970s, Russell used to date a well-known groupie named Miss Christine, who was part of a short-lived all-female singing group called the GTO’s, whose first and only album was produced by Frank Zappa. Pamela Des Barres, a member of the GTO’s, is interviewed in “The Sparks Brothers” documentary.

There’s no mention if Ron or Russell ever married or if they have children—something they’ve refused to publicly talk about for years. However, it’s clear that even through their ups and downs, the brothers have remained close. The documentary shows that Ron and Russell have a routine of going to their favorite cafe in the Los Angeles area before going back to their home studio to work.

There’s some footage of the brothers creating music in their home studio. The documentary needed more of that type of behind-the-scenes footage and less talking heads giving Sparks testimonials. It’s fair to say that this documentary is overstuffed with people talking about Sparks and doesn’t show enough current footage of what the lives of the Mael brothers are like. The archival footage is good enough, but avid Sparks fans have probably seen a lot of it already.

A constant theme in “The Sparks Brothers” documentary is that Sparks has been very underrated in how much Sparks has influenced musicians in pop and rock music. What the movie ignores—although it’s pretty obvious when you see who’s interviewed in the documentary—is that when fans and other admirers talk about Sparks’ influence, they’re really talking about influence on mainly white people. Pop music nowadays is a lot more diverse than it was in the 20th century, so if Sparks really had as wide of an influence range as this movie claims, then there would be more diversity in the people being interviewed, not just in terms of race but also nationality and age.

With the exception of Icelandic singer Björk (who is not interviewed on camera), the people interviewed in the documentary are British and American people who were born before 1985. They include musicians such as Beck; Duran Duran co-founders John Taylor and Nick Rhodes; Franz Ferdinand lead singer Alex Kapranos; Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea; Todd Rundgren; Faith No More keyboardist Roddy Bottum; Jack Antonoff; Bernard Butler; Erasure members Vince Clarke and Andy Bell; “Weird Al” Yankovic; former Visage drummer Rusty Egan; Electric Prunes singer James Lowe; former Haircut 100 singer Nick Heyward; Martyn Ware, co-founder of pop groups Human League and Heaven 17; DJ Lance Rock; New Order members Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert; and former Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones.

Past and present Sparks associates interviewed include former Sparks drummer Tammy Glover; former Halfnelson tour manager/photographer Larry Dupont, former Halfnelson manager Mike Berns; former Halfnelson/Sparks drummer Harley Feinstein; former Sparks drummer Hilly Michaels; former Sparks manager John Hewlett; former Sparks road Richard Coble; former Sparks drummer Christi Haydon; former Sparks bassist Ian Hampton; former Sparks drummer David Kendrick; former Sparks guitarist Dean Menta; Sparks manager Sue Harris; and Sparks drummer Stevie Nistor.

And several people known for their work in movies, television or stand-up comedy weigh in with their thoughts. They include “The Sparks Brothers” director Wright; actor Mike Myers; actor Jason Schwartzman; actor/comedian Patton Oswalt; TV producers/writers/spouses Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino; actor/comedian Jake Fogelnest; actor/screenwriter Mark Gatiss; comedian April Richardson; actor/comedian Scott Aukerman; and comedian/TV host Jonathan Ross, who jokes that Ron and Russell Mael “don’t really look like a band. They look [institutionalized] people who’ve been let out for a day.”

Media people interviewed include broadcaster/columnist Katie Puck; journalist David Weigel; radio host Michael Silverblatt; and poet Josh Berman. Other admirers who have soundbites in the film are Sparks superfans Madeline Bocchiaro (president of the Sparks Fan Club), Julia Marcus, Vera Hegarty and Ben House. And behind-the-scenes music industry people interviewed include producer Tony Visconti and former Island Records A&R executive Muff Winwood.

If you’re exhausted or annoyed just by reading this list of names people interviewed for this documentary, that’s kind of like how it feels to watch this too-large number of people chiming in with their soundbites about Sparks and sometimes interrupting the flow of the movie. “The Sparks Brothers” director Wright clearly wanted to show as many people as possible who profess their adoration of Sparks, but the “less is more” approach would’ve served this movie better. And it certainly would’ve lessened the movie’s overly long run time.

“The Sparks Brothers” also has a bit of a pretentious tone in how it tries to make it look like people who aren’t fans of Sparks must have something wrong with them. Quite frankly, as talented as Ron and Russell Mael are, their music will never be a lot of people’s cup of tea. In fact, what this movie could’ve used is at least some perspective from people who are music experts but aren’t worshipful fans of Sparks and were never on the Sparks payroll. It would go a long way to explain why Sparks never caught on with a massive, worldwide audience.

Despite the overabundance of fawning over Sparks in this documentary, anyone who appreciates unique artists in music can find something to like about “The Sparks Brothers.” The movie also succeeds in presenting Ron and Russell Mael in their most candid on-camera interview spotlight. And the joy that Sparks has brought to so many people is obvious, so it’s a delight to watch in this movie.

Focus Features released “The Sparks Brothers” in select U.S. cinemas on June 18, 2021.

2021 BET Awards: Megan Thee Stallion is the top winner

June 27, 2021

Megan Thee Stallion (Photo courtesy of ABC)

The following is a press release from BET:

BET honored an incredible and inspiring lineup of artists, entertainers and cultural icons across more than 20 categories at The “BET Aawards” 2021. The iconic show, hosted by Academy Award®-nominated and Golden Globe®-winning actor, filmmaker, and philanthropist Taraji P. Henson, aired live at 8 pm ET/PT on BET on Sunday, June 27, 2021 with a fully vaccinated audience. This year’s extraordinary show highlighted the absolute best in entertainment and culture with stunning performances and appearances by the biggest names across television, film, and music.

“The BET Awards have yet again proven to be culture’s biggest night,” said Connie Orlando, EVP Specials, Music Programming & Music Strategy at BET. “From the amazing talent, extraordinary creativity, and performances, and our incredible live vaccinated audience, the energy of the night was unmatched and delivered some of the most buzzworthy moments of 2021! Throughout any circumstance, whether it be virtual, live, or whatever comes next, BET will continue to elevate the standard of awards shows.”

The “BET Awards,” which has become synonymous with powerful Black artistry and social commentary, continues to spotlight and celebrate the artists and creators of tomorrow, making the ceremony one of the most news-provoking and talked-about broadcasts year after year.

This year’s awards were proclaimed as the “Year of the Black Woman” to celebrate and honor their immense impact on the culture. The ceremony was an unforgettable celebration of Black culture, love, joy, and pride.

The “BET AWARDS” 2021 Show Highlights Include:

Kirk Franklin and Lil Baby opened the show with a spirited performance of their hit song, “We Win” from the Space Jam: A New Legacy Official Soundtrack.

Migos set the stage on fire with their performances of “Straightenin,” and “Type Shit” with Cardi B who gave the audience a mic-drop worthy performance and exclusive pregnancy reveal.

H.E.R. soared with an electrifying rendition of her triumphant anthem, “We Made It,” which began with her drumming while suspended in mid-air and was followed by an unforgettable guitar solo.

Moneybagg Yo took to the stage for lively performances of “Wockesha” and “Time Today.”

DaBaby took the stage with a phenomenal performance of “Ball If I Want To” featuring theatrics including dancers, acrobats, and more.

Darnella Frazier was honored with the Shine a Light award for courageously capturing video of the murder of George Floyd, sparking further awareness of systemic racial inequalities, police brutality and efforts for meaningful change. The Shine A Light Award recognizes exceptional resilience, ingenuity and creativity in the face of adversity.

Megan Thee Stallion delivered a show-stopping performance of her latest hit single, “Thot Sh*t.”

Tyler, the Creator created a literal hurricane on stage during “Lumberjack,” his first-ever BET Awards performance.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters introduced Jazmine Sullivan, as she performed soulful renditions of new singles, “Tragic” and “On It,” from Heaux Tales, which won Album of the Year.

Roddy Ricch performed a swagged out rendition of his newest single, “Late At Night.”

Lil Nas X paid homage to the “Remember the Time” era with an erotic performance of “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name),” performing against an opulent gold Egyptian-themed backdrop, and unapologetically celebrating queer culture.

Bruno Mars and Silk Sonic seronated their way through a fully vaccinated audience with style as they sang a medley from their new album An Evening with Silk Sonic.

City Girls performed “Twerkulator” against a spectacular backdrop.

Queen Latifah was honored with this year’s Lifetime Achievement BET Award, in recognition of her prolific career over the past 30 years, in which she remained one of the most versatile creatives of the time. Following an inspirational tribute from Rapsody & Monie Love, performing “Ladies First,” and Lil Kim & MC Lyte, performing “U.N.I.T.Y.,” she received a standing ovation as she accepted the well-deserved award.

DJ Khaled lit up the stage with a jam-packed performance of his new songs, ”Every Chance I Get” and “I Did It,” with an all-star line-up including Lil BabyLil DurkMegan Thee StallionH.E.R. and DaBaby.

Andra Day’s performance of “Strange Fruit” and “Tigress & Tweed” was spellbinding.

The legendary DMX was remembered with a mesmerizing tribute curated by Swizz Beatz featuring performances from Busta Rhymes, Method Man, Swizz Beatz, Griselda, Lil Buck and Jon, The Loxand a special appearance by Michael K. Williams. The powerful tribute included iconic hits such as “Slipping,” “Where the Hood At?,” “Party Up,” “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” and more.

Tone Stith and Mereba made their debuts on the BET amplified stage.

Host Taraji P. Henson kept audiences entertained throughout the show debuting new alter-egos, including new artist S.H.E.

In addition to all of these must-see moments, the complete list of winners for The “BET Awards” 2021 can be found below:

*=winner

Album of the Year

“After Hours” – The Weeknd
“Blame It on Baby” – DaBaby
“Good News” – Megan Thee Stallion
“Heaux Tales” – Jazmine Sullivan*
“King’s Disease” – Nas
“Ungodly Hour” – Chloe X Halle

Best Collaboration

Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP”*
DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch – “Rockstar”
DJ Khaled featuring Drake – “Popstar”
Jack Harlow featuring DaBaby, Tory Lanez & Lil Wayne – “Whats Poppin” (Remix)
Megan Thee Stallion featuring DaBaby – “Cry Baby”
Pop Smoke featuring Lil Baby & DaBaby – “For the Night”

Best Female R&B / Pop Artist

Beyoncé
H.E.R.*
Jazmine Sullivan
Jhené Aiko
Summer Walker
SZA

Best Male R&B / Pop Artist

6lack
Anderson .Paak
Chris Brown*
Giveon
Tank
The Weeknd

Best New Artist

Coi Leray
Flo Milli
Giveon*
Jack Harlow
Latto
Pooh Shiesty

Best Group

21 Savage & Metro Boomin
Chloe X Halle
Chris Brown & Young Thug
City Girls
Migos
Silk Sonic*

Best Female Hip Hop Artist

Cardi B
Coi Leray
Doja Cat
Megan Thee Stallion*
Latto
Saweetie

Best Male Hip Hop Artist

DaBaby
Drake
J. Cole
Jack Harlow
Lil Baby*
Pop Smoke

Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award

Bebe Winans – “In Jesus Name”
Cece Winans – “Never Lost”
H.E.R. – “Hold Us Together”
Kirk Franklin – “Strong God”*
Marvin Sapp – “Thank You For It All”
Tamela Mann – “Touch From You”

BET Her Award

Alicia Keys featuring Khalid – “So Done”
Brandy featuring Chance the Rapper – “Baby Mama”
Bri Steves – “Anti Queen”
Chloe X Halle – “Baby Girl”
Ciara featuring Ester Dean – “Rooted”
SZA – “Good Days”*

Best International Act

Aya Nakamura (France)
Burna Boy (Nigeria)*
Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania)
Emicida (Brazil)
Headie One (Uk)
Wizkid (Nigeria)
Young T & Bugsey (Uk)
Youssoupha (France)

Viewer’s Choice Award

Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP”*
Chris Brown & Young Thug – “Go Crazy”
DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch – “Rockstar”
DJ Khaled featuring Drake – “Popstar”
Drake featuring Lil Durk – “Laugh Now Cry Later”
Lil Baby – “The Bigger Picture”
Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyoncé – “Savage” (Remix)
Silk Sonic – “Leave the Door Open”

Video of the Year

Cardi B – “Up”
Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP”*
Chloe X Halle – “Do It”
Chris Brown & Young Thug – “Go Crazy”
Drake featuring Lil Durk – “Laugh Now Cry Later”
Silk Sonic – “Leave the Door Open”

Video Director of the Year

Benny Boom
Bruno Mars and Florent Déchard*
Cole Bennett
Colin Tilley
Dave Meyers
Hype Williams

Best Movie

“Coming 2 America”
“Judas and the Black Messiah”*
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
“One Night In Miami”
“Soul”
“The United States Vs. Billie Holiday”

Best Actress

Andra Day*
Angela Bassett
Issa Rae
Jurnee Smollett
Viola Davis
Zendaya

Best Actor

Aldis Hodge
Chadwick Boseman*
Damson Idris
Daniel Kaluuya
Eddie Murphy
Lakeith Stanfield

Youngstars Award

Alex R. Hibbert
Ethan Hutchison
Lonnie Chavis
Marsai Martin*
Michael Epps
Storm Reid

Sportswoman of the Year Award

A’ja Wilson
Candace Parker
Claressa Shields
Naomi Osaka*
Serena Williams
Skylar Diggins-Smith

Sportsman of the Year Award

Kyrie Irving
LeBron James*
Patrick Mahomes
Russell Westbrook
Russell Wilson
Stephen Curry

For the latest The BET AWARDS” 2021 news and updates, please visit BET.com/BETAwards. BET Digital is the ultimate destination for BET Awards content. From the red carpet livestream Powered by Bulldog DM to non-stop video moments and conversation @BETAwards.

Connie Orlando, EVP Specials, Music Programming & Music Strategy at BET will oversee The “BET Awards” 2021 and serve as Executive Producer along with Jesse Collins, CEO of Jesse Collins Entertainment.

Internationally, the show simulcast on BET Africa at 2 am CAT and MTV Brazil at 9 pm BRT on June 27th, followed by international broadcasts on MTV UK on June 28th at 9 pm BST, BET France on June 29 at 8:45 pm CEST. The show will also be available to watch on My5 and Sky On-Demand in the UK beginning June 29th.

ABOUT BET:

BET, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS Inc. (NASDAQ: VIACA, VIAC), is the nation’s leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African American audience. The primary BET channel is in 125 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, sub-Saharan Africa and France. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions including BET+, the preeminent streaming service for the Black audience; BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET HER, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American Woman; BET Music Networks – BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET’s growing festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET around the globe.

ABOUT “BET AWARDS”

The “BET Awards” is one of the most-watched award shows on cable television according to the Nielsen Company. The “BET Awards” franchise remains as the #1 program in cable TV history among African-Americans, and it is BET’s #1 telecast every year. It recognizes the triumphs and successes of artists, entertainers, and athletes in a variety of categories.

ABOUT JESSE COLLINS ENTERTAINMENT

Jesse Collins Entertainment (JCE) is a full-service television and film production company and has played an integral role in producing many of television’s most memorable moments in music entertainment. JCE has a multi-year overall agreement with ViacomCBS Cable Networks. On the theatrical film side, the company also has a first look on JCE’s film development projects which could include Viacom’s film entities such as Paramount Players. The award-winning and critically acclaimed television that JCE has produced includes miniseries—The New Edition Story and The Bobby Brown Story; scripted series—American Soul and Real Husbands of Hollywood; children’s series—Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices; award shows—BET Awards, Black Girls Rock!, BET Honors, UNCF’s An Evening of Stars, BET Hip Hop Awards, ABFF Honors and Soul Train Awards; specials—John Lewis: Celebrating A Hero, Love & Happiness: An Obama Celebration, Change Together: From The March On Washington To Today, Stand Up for Heroes, Dear Mama, Amanda Seales I Be Knowin’, Def Comedy Jam 25 and Leslie Jones: Time Machine; as well as competition/game shows—Sunday Best, Hip Hop Squares, Nashville Squares and Rhythm & Flow. Jesse Collins, founder and CEO of the company, is the executive producer of all programming. He is also a co-executive producer for the iconic Grammy Awards. Most recently, he was executive producer of The 2021 Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show and produced The 2021 Academy Awards. Go to jessecollinsent.com for more information on the company.

Review: ‘Under the Volcano’ (2021), starring The Police, Mark Knopfler, Jimmy Buffett, Nick Rhodes, Verdine White, Chris Kimsey and Giles Martin

May 31, 2021

by Carla Hay

George Martin at AIR Studios Montserrat in “Under the Volcano” (Photo by Martyn Goddard/Universal Pictures Content Group)

“Under the Volcano” (2021)

Directed by Gracie Otto

Culture Representation: In the documentary “Under the Volcano,” a predominantly white group of people (with some black people), who are connected in some way to the now-shuttered AIR Studios Montserrat, discuss this famous recording studio that operated in Montserrat from 1979 to 1989.

Culture Clash: People who recorded albums at AIR Studios Montserrat had various reactions to the laid-back, “isolated from the modern world” atmosphere of Montserrat.

Culture Audience: “Under the Volcano” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in hearing behind-the-scenes stories about the making of some the 1980s’ biggest pop albums at this very unique recording studio.

The Police recording their 1981 “Ghost in the Machine” album at AIR Studios Montserrat in “Under the Volcano.” Pictured from left to right: Stewart Copeland, Sting and Andy Summers. (Photo courtesy of A&M Records/Universal Music Group)

The nostalgic music documentary “Under the Volcano” takes viewers back to a bygone era of recording studios. It’s a comprehensive history of AIR Studios Montserrat, which operated from 1979 to 1989. The recording studio, which was in an isolated part of the Caribbean island Montserrat, hosted some of the biggest names in rock and pop music.

And the documentary is a wistful rememberance of how AIR Studios Montserrat started as a dream music nirvana for celebrated producer George Martin, who founded the studio that was tragically destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Martin died in 2016, at the age of 90, but his widow Jane Martin and their son Giles Martin are interviewed in “Under the Volcano.” The movie had its world premiere at the 2021 South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival.

Directed in a traditional and engaging manner by Gracie Otto, “Under the Volcano” uses the expected format of mixing archival footage with new interviews conducted for the documentary. The documentary has a lot more photographs than video footage showing what it was like to be at AIR Studios Montserrat. And that’s probably because before digital cameras existed, it was a lot more costly for artists to film behind-the-scenes footage. And it was a lot less common than it is now for artists to film themselves at work in the recording studio.

“Under the Volcano” has a very good representation of many of the famous artists who recorded albums at AIR Studios Montserrat. (AIR is an acronym for Associated Independent Recording.) Some of interviewees include all three former members of The Police; former Dire Straits members Mark Knopfler and Guy Fletcher; Jimmy Buffett; Duran Duran keyboardist Nick Rhodes; former Ultravox frontman Midge Ure; Deep Purple members Tony Iommi and Roger Glover; Earth Wind & Fire bassist Verdine White; musician Ray Cooper; and America singer Gerry Buckley.

However, some of the biggest AIR Studios Montserrat alumni and their perspectives are noticeably absent from the movie—chiefly, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Elton John and the Rolling Stones. Viewers of “Under the Volcano” will have to settle for people talking about these superstars in the documentary, instead of hearing these legendary artists’ first-hand accounts of their experiences at AIR Studios Montserrat. For example, stories about John’s recording sessions at the studio are primarily told by two musicians from his band: drummer Nigel Olsson and guitarist Davey Johnstone.

Not having these superstar artists in the documentary doesn’t lower the overall quality of the movie, but there are times when the documentary feels a little incomplete without these points of view. The “Under the Volcano” filmmakers undoubtedly made their best efforts to includes these artists in the documentary. But, for whatever reasons, these legends weren’t available to be interviewed.

Fortunately, “Under the Volcano” included other important perspectives besides those of the recording artists. Several people who worked behind the scenes with the artists at AIR Studio Montserrat are also interviewed. They include music producers Chris Kimsey, Chris Thomas, Neil Dorfsman and Ian Little, as well as sound balance engineer Michael Paul Stavrou.

Some of the former longtime AIR Studios Montserrat employees are also interviewed, such as chief technical engineer/general manager Malcolm Atkin; managing director Yve Robinson; managing director Dave Harries; chef George “Tappy” Morgan; housekeeper Minetta Allen Francis; and studio managers Steve Jackson, Lloyd Oliver and Desmond Riley. And for the perspectives of people in the local Montserrat music industry, the documentary includes commentary from the late musician Justin “Hero” Cassell (who died in 2010) and radio DJ Rose Willock.

George Martin (who is best known for being the producer of the Beatles) came up with the idea to have a recording studio in a remote island location after he fell in love with Montserrat and wanted to do something radically different with his career. By 1979, he had been closely associated with famous London recording studios Abbey Road Studios (formerly known as EMI Recording Studios) and AIR Studios London, a recording facility that George Martin founded in 1965. And he wanted a change of scenery that was more laid-back than what professional musicians were used to experiencing at big-city recording studios.

According to George’s son Giles Martin, “I think my father was tired of the confines of a very rigid company structure … And he wanted a place that was more artist-friendly. Abbey Road obviously created great music, but the fridge was locked at night. They [people working late at night at Abbey Road] had to break in to get milk for their cups of tea. Even the loo [Britlish slang for toilet] roll had [the name] Abbey Road on it, so you wouldn’t steal it. It was like a very proper English factory.”

It’s mentioned in the documentary that George Martin originally thought his dream recording studio in the Caribbean would be on a large boat. But he quickly scrapped that idea when he found out how noisy the boat engines would be and would thereby ruin the any audio recordings. He decided on a remote location in Montserrat that had an element of danger to it because the recording studo was situated right in the shadow of a volcano.

The idea was that the recording studio would also have its own living quarters—like a recording studio resort—so the people working on the albums didn’t have far to go to eat, sleep and party. Furthermore, Jane Martin says, “George was looking for something that wasn’t in the middle of London … And his plan was that there would be a lack of hangers-on. It would just be [the artists] and their families.”

Giles Martin says of his father George: “He was a mad visionary, in a lot of ways. I think he liked the idea of pushing boundaries. So, if you think about what he did with the Beatles in the ’60s, he pushed the boundaries in the recording studio.”

Here’s how some of the musicians who recorded at AIR Studios Montserrat describe the atmosphere:

Dire Straits leader Knopfler says, “Going to Montserrat was like going into a dream. It’s always different. Reality is always different from what you think it would be … It didn’t have the sophistication that you’d feel straight away if you went to Antigua … It was far more innocent, far more quiet.”

The Police frontman Sting comments, “I love the idea of wilderness on the edge of civilization. I think the volcano itself is a presiding spirit over the island. It definitely gives you the sense that you’re living on the edge of something seismic … There’s definitely a mystique about the island. “Ultravox founder Ure says, “You felt as though you were in a time warp. This little island had a heart that you could feel.”

Air Studios Montserrat’s former managing director Robinson says of Montserrat: “They used to call it the hidden gem of the Caribbean and the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean. Montserrat was colonized by the Irish. And that’s why the island was so different, because it’s really a friendly place. It’s got a magic about it.”

Four years after AIR Studios Montserrat opened in 1979, Montserrat experienced another musical claim to fame when local musician Arrow had an international hit with the 1983 soca song “Hot Hot Hot,” which was later covered by several artists (including Buster Poindexter’s 1987 version) and has since become a staple song at wedding receptions and other parties. Although the most famous artists who recorded at AIR Studios Montserrat performed pop and rock music, many of the arists were influenced by soca and the laid-back atmosphere of the culture in Montserrat.

The Police recorded their 1981 album “Ghost in the Machine” and their 1983 best-selling blockbuster “Synchronicity” at AIR Studios Montserrat. “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,” the biggest hit single from “Ghost in the Machine,” has a Caribbean rhythm, and the song became the first Top 5 hit single in the U.S. for the Police. The music video for “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” was filmed entirely in Montserrat, including footage of the band in the AIR recording studio.

Dire Straits’ Knopfler says that the band’s biggest hit album, 1985’s “Brothers in Arms,” has two songs in particular that were directly influenced by the Montserrat vibe: “So Far Away” and “Walk of Life.” John Silcott, a local Montserrat technician who worked at AIR Studios Montserrat at the time, says he’s the Johnny who’s namechecked in “Walk of Life.” (Stay until the end credits of “Under the Volcano” for a cute moment of Silcott dancing to “Walk of Life.”) It’s also mentioned that “Brothers in Arms” (which includes Dire Straits’ biggest hit single “Money for Nothing”) was one of the first albums digitally recorded in its entirety, specifically for the CD format, which was new at the time.

“Under the Volcano” is geared for an audience that’s not too concerned about hearing a lot of technical recording studio jargon. Therefore, the documentary doesn’t have much talk about the studio equipment used at AIR Studios Montserrat. However, producer Neil Dorfsman comments, “Part of AIR’s fame was these three incredible-sounding Neve consoles—and they had one at AIR Montserrat.” According to a 2019 Globe and Mail article, this Neve console still works.

Other notable albums recorded partially or entirely at AIR Studios Montserrat include Elton John’s “Jump Up!” (1982); “Too Low for Zero” (1983) and “Breaking Hearts” (1984); Earth Wind & Fire’s “Faces” (1980); Duran Duran’s “Seven and the Ragged Tiger” (1983); and the Rolling Stones’ “Steel Wheels” (1989). Not surprisingly, many of the hit songs from some these albums are featured in “Under the Volcano,” such as John’s “I’m Still Standing” from “Two Low for Zero” and “Sad Songs Say So Much” from “Breaking Hearts,” as well as The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” from the “Synchronicity” album, the biggest hit song and album recorded at AIR Studios Montserrat.

The Police drummer Stewart Copeland and guitarist Andy Summers remember that the recording of “Ghost in the Machine” and “Synchronicity” was at times uncomfortable because Copeland and lead singer Sting famously had personality clashes with each other. Copeland says that he had to record his drum parts for “Ghost in the Machine” in a separate room that was not close to the main recording studio, so that isolation felt strange to him and he never got used to it.

McCartney sought refuge at AIR Studios Montserrat a few weeks after the December 1980 murder of former Beatles member John Lennon. A grieving McCartney ended up recording parts of his 1982 album “Tug of War” album there, as well as parts of his 1983 album “Pipes of Peace.” McCartney and Wonder’s chart-topping 1982 duet “Ebony and Ivory” (which was on the “Tug of War” album) was also recorded at AIR Studios Montserrat.

The documentary includes a story of a raucously fun, impromptu jam session that Wonder played for some very lucky people at a local pub. Some audio of that performance is included in the documentary. The sound quality isn’t the greatest, but it’s easy to hear how electrifiying and special that atmosphere must have been.

It’s also mentioned that many other musicians (such as McCartney, Dire Straits and Buffett, to name a few) often did private jam sessions at Montserrat, where local people would sometimes be invited. As a longtime radio DJ in the Montserrat, Willock says that these famous musicians felt like they could let loose in this relatively remote area, because the locals weren’t as star-struck by famous musicians as much as the locals were star-struck by famous athletes.

Flamboyant piano man John is fondly remembered in the documentary as one of the most beloved artists at AIR Studios Montserrat because he treated the staff so well and liked to cheer people up. Former studio employee Riley calls John “very generous,” and says that it wasn’t unusual for John to pay for an “open bar for everyone.” Riley adds, “When guys are down, he brings them up.”

Of course, being a rock star in the 1980s was synonymous with heavy partying. The documentary doesn’t reveal any stories that are scandalous or salacious, although it’s hinted that the recording studio’s staff had to be accommodating to whatever party whims their studio’s clients wanted. And because this is a laudatory documentary about the recording studio, there are no #MeToo or gender discrimination stories about this very male-dominated environment.

Sure, the filmmakers could have asked the people who were interviewed for tabloid-like stories, but it’s highly unlikely that the people who were at the recording studio back then would do an on-camera “tell all” for a documentary. It’s something that people would more likely talk about for a book or feature article. Instead, the documentary has people raving about things like the delicious meals prepared for them by AIR recording studio chef Morgan, who says, “That was the best job I ever had in my entire life.”

The closest thing to an epic partying story that’s told in “Under the Volcano” is that John’s song “I’m Still Standing” was inspired by him being surrounded by other people in the recording studio who had passed out from too much partying. John looked around, laughed, and said the immortal words, “Well, I’m still standing.” His lyricist songwriting partner Bernie Taupin decided to use that line as a jump-off point to finish the song’s lyrics.

Earth, Wind & Fire’s White remembers how welcoming the local people were in Montserrat. He says that women dropped their fruit-cutting machetes and applauded when the band’s instrument cases showed up at the airport. “We hadn’t even gotten there yet! And it was beautiful.” He adds, “For us, the biggest thing was just the whole experience of going there.”

And speaking of weapons with blades being thrown, producer Kimsey laughs when he tells a story of how Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards didn’t take too kindly to music manager Peter Mensch (who was a consultant on the Rolling Stones’ “Steel Wheels” tour) suggesting how the band should do a musical arrangement of the song “Mixed Emotions.” In reaction to Mensch’s suggestion, Richards threw a knife at Mensch. Needless to say, the Rolling Stones didn’t take Mensch’s advice on how to write and record the song.

Buffett, who has made a career out of the “tropical party” lifestyle, remembers what it was like to for him and his fellow American band members to experience some culture shock at the pubs in Montserrat when they first started getting to know the area. “There was a bit of a colonial aspect of things that did not fare well with the American band,” Buffett comments.

Buffett says that one of the things that irritated him and his band was the Montserrat pub custom of ordering drinks, one at a time, by writing down an order on a paper. After being told by AIR Studios Montserrat manager Denny Bridges that it was just the way things were done, Buffett remembers saying in response, “Well, why don’t I just buy the whole fucking bar?”

Despite these inconveniences, Buffett says he has overall good memories of spending time in Montserrat, where he states, “I lived on my boat, off and on there, for 20 years.” Buffett recorded his 1979 album “Volcano” at AIR Studios Montserrat. The album’s title was inspired by the volcano located near the studio.

Buffett comments on recording in Montserrat: “It was a lovely working environment because you didn’t leave, I would say, the reign of creativity. You were constantly involved in the creation of the community, as opposed to being in Nashville. To me, there are two ways to go into the studio: You can go and look for perfection, or you can capture the magic.”

Because tranquil Montserrat was not a big tourist attraction, visiting musicians often had to adjust to living without some of their usual creature comforts. Some musicians used it as an opportunity to spend more time outdoors for athletic activities. Sting has happy memories about being taught windsurfing by a local named Danny Sweeney, whom Sting calls “a very brilliant man … The people who taught me things are my heroes.”

Not all of the musicians were comfortable being in Montserrat for a long period of time. Duran Duran’s Rhodes admits he got bored with being on the island, in contrast to Duran Duran lead singer Simon LeBon, who loved spending time swimming and sailing in the ocean. Rhodes comments that after a while, he was ready to leave Montserrat when Duran Duran was recording part of the band’s album “Seven and the Ragged Tiger.”

The album’s first two singles (“Union of the Snake” and “New Moon on Monday”) were recorded at AIR Studios Montserrat. Rhodes believes that the band made the right decision to continue recording the album elsewhere that was better suited for the dance-oriented pop/rock music that Duran Duran was making at the time. “I’m not sure we were in the right head space to make the kind of record that might have been a little more chilled,” says Rhodes of recording in Montserrat. “We wanted to make something full of energy.”

Rhodes also says that Montserrat wasn’t ideal for anyone who missed the hustle and bustle of a big city. There were also safety issues of having a recording studio in a relatively isolated area. Rhodes comments, “It was really brave of them [to build the studio there], because if something went really wrong, the closest port of call was Miami.”

And there was always the possible threat of a volcano eruption, which did indeed happen in 1995, causing massive destruction to Montserrat, six years after AIR Studios closed down on the island because of Hurricane Hugo. Elton John drummer Olsson comments on his AIR Studios Montserrat experiences, “I remember thinking a few times: ‘What if the volcano goes off?'” Earth, Wind & Fire’s White quips: “I’m from Chicago. We don’t do volcanos.”

Today, AIR Studios Montserrat is a broken-down shell of its former self, and it’s off-limits to the public. The documentary includes footage of what the former recording studio looks like now: a series of run-down and empty rooms, with some parts of the building reduced to rubble. The damage caused by Hurricane Hugo and the volcano eruption were enough to make the location of AIR Studios Montserrat completely inhabitable, even if the structure was rebuilt.

Cooper says, “When the volcano went off, that was a pinnacle point of change—a point when nothing was ever going to be quite the same again in the way that we recorded, in the way, in the way that music was dealt with— those magical moments were going to be no longer.”

However, the music, memories and legacy of AIR Studios Montserrat live on in many ways. “Under the Volcano” is a solid tribute to this influential hub of creativity. And the movie will bring a lot of joy to anyone who’s a fan of rock and pop music from the 1980s.

UPDATE: Universal Pictures Content Group will release “Under the Volcano” on digital and VOD on August 17, 2021.

2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards: The Weeknd is the top winner

May 27, 2021

iHEARTRADIO MUSIC AWARDS Backplate 2021

The following is a press release from iHeartRadio:

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Weeknd won the most awards (five), including Song of the Year for “Blinding Lights.”

The 2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards brought the biggest names in entertainment together from the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles to celebrate all things music, live on FOX, iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide and on the iHeartRadio App, on Thursday, May 27. Hosted by Usher, the fan-fueled iHeartRadio Music Awards featured performances and incredible collaborations including The Weeknd with Special Guest Ariana Grande, Bruno Mars & Anderson .Paak (Silk Sonic), Dan + Shay, Doja Cat, Usher and more.

The 2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards honored the legendary Elton John with the 2021 iHeartRadio Icon Award, which was presented by Chris Martin and Lil Nas X. The award presentation also featured a special tribute performance from Brandi Carlile, Demi Lovato and H.E.R., honoring Elton John’s global impact on pop culture, longevity and continued relevance as a touring and radio force with a loyal fan base worldwide.

In addition, the show featured special appearances from Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa, Roddy Ricch, twenty one pilots, Megan Thee Stallion, LL Cool J, Nelly, Machine Gun Kelly, French Montana, Lil Jon, Robin Thicke, Joel McHale, Oliver Stark, Ryan Guzman, Gabby Barrett, Ava Max, Raphael Saadiq, AJR and more.

The official hashtag of the evening, #iHeartAwards2021, trended #1 on Twitter worldwide and in the U.S. 

The 2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards is available now through June 17 with On Demand, FOX NOW and Hulu. The award show is available to watch On Demand for customers of AT&T TV, Cox, DIRECTV, DISH, Spectrum, Sling TV, Verizon FiOS, XFINITY, YouTube TV and many more. Fans also can stream episodes on FOX NOW and Hulu.

Additional highlights included: 

  • The Weeknd with special guest Ariana Grande opened the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards with the first-ever performance together of their #1 hit “Save Your Tears” – their energy and vocals were unmatched as they serenaded a live audience.
  • Host of the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards, Usher hosted and jammed with other artists including LL Cool J, Elton John, Megan Thee Stallion, French Montana, twenty one pilots in“Club Ush” – a nightclub built on the side of The Dolby Theatre stage. During the show he also performed a medley of his hits, “Confessions,” “Love In This Club,” “U Don’t Have To Call,” “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love,” and “Scream,” before Lil Jon surprised the crowd by pulling up in a 1972 Impala to join Usher on stage for a performance of “Yeah.”
  • Winner of Best Duo/Group of the Year, Dan + Shay reunited with their full band for the first time to perform, “Glad You Exist.”
  • The chemistry ignited by Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak (Silk Sonic) around a candle-lit piano in “Club Ush” set the tone for an epic performance of “Leave The Door Open,” delivering all the feels.
  • Chris Martin from Coldplay and Lil Nas X presented Elton John with the 2021 iHeartRadio Icon Award. Demi Lovato, Brandi Carlile and H.E.R. performed a vibrant medley tribute of Elton’s biggest songs including “Bennie and The Jets,” “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” and “I’m Still Standing,” in honor of his 50-year career.
  • The biggest breakout artist of the year and winner of Best New Pop Artist, Doja Cat, put together a stunning visual performance of her biggest hits including “Say So,” “Streets” and “Kiss Me More.”

The following is the complete list of winners and nominees for the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards:

*=winner

Song of the Year:

  • “Blinding Lights” – The Weeknd*
  • “Circles” – Post Malone
  • “Don’t Start Now” – Dua Lipa
  • “ROCKSTAR” – DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch
  • “Watermelon Sugar” – Harry Styles

Female Artist of the Year:  

  • Ariana Grande
  • Billie Eilish
  • Dua Lipa*
  • Megan Thee Stallion
  • Taylor Swift

Male Artist of the Year: 

  • Harry Styles
  • Justin Bieber
  • Post Malone
  • Roddy Ricch
  • The Weeknd*

Best Duo/Group of the Year: 

  • BTS
  • Dan + Shay*
  • Jonas Brothers
  • Maroon 5
  • twenty one pilots

Best Collaboration:

  • “Go Crazy” – Chris Brown & Young Thug
  • “Holy” – Justin Bieber featuring Chance the Rapper
  • “I Hope” – Gabby Barrett featuring Charlie Puth
  • “Mood” – 24kGoldn featuring iann dior
  • “Savage” (Remix) – Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyoncé*

Best New Pop Artist: 

  • 24kGoldn
  • blackbear
  • Doja Cat*
  • JP Saxe
  • Pop Smoke

Pop Album of the Year:

  • folklore – Taylor Swift*

Alternative Rock Song of the Year:

  • “Bang!” – AJR
  • “Bloody Valentine” – Machine Gun Kelly
  • “everything i wanted” – Billie Eilish
  • “Level Of Concern” – twenty one pilots*
  • “Monsters” – All Time Low featuring blackbear

Alternative Rock Artist of the Year:

  • AJR
  • All Time Low
  • Billie Eilish
  • Cage the Elephant
  • twenty one pilots*

Best New Rock/Alternative Rock Artist:

  • Ashe
  • Dayglow
  • Powfu*
  • Royal & The Serpent
  • Wallows

Alternative Rock Album of the Year:

  • Tickets to My Downfall – Machine Gun Kelly*

Rock Song of the Year:

  • “Death By Rock And Roll” – The Pretty Reckless
  • “Patience” – Chris Cornell
  • “Shame Shame” – Foo Fighters*
  • “Shot In The Dark” – AC/DC
  • “Under The Graveyard” – Ozzy Osbourne

Rock Artist of the Year:

  • AC/DC
  • Five Finger Death Punch
  • Ozzy Osbourne
  • Shinedown
  • The Pretty Reckless*

Rock Album of the Year:

  • Power Up – AC/DC*

Country Song of the Year:

  • “Even Though I’m Leaving” – Luke Combs
  • “I Hope” – Gabby Barrett
  • “Nobody But You” – Blake Shelton with Gwen Stefani
  • “One Margarita” – Luke Bryan
  • “The Bones” – Maren Morris*

Country Artist of the Year:

  • Blake Shelton
  • Luke Bryan
  • Luke Combs*
  • Maren Morris
  • Thomas Rhett

Best New Country Artist:

  • Ashley McBryde
  • Gabby Barrett*
  • HARDY
  • Ingrid Andress
  • Jameson Rodgers

Country Album of the Year:

  • What You See Ain’t Always What You Get – Luke Combs*

Dance Song of the Year:

  • “Head & Heart” – Joel Corry x MNEK
  • “ily (i love you baby)” – Surf Mesa featuring Emilee
  • “Lasting Lover” – Sigala & James Arthur
  • “Rain On Me” – Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande
  • “Roses” (Imanbek Remix) – SAINt JHN*

Dance Artist of the Year: 

  • Anabel Englund
  • Diplo
  • Marshmello*
  • Surf Mesa
  • Tiësto

Dance Album of the Year:

  • Diplo Presents Thomas Wesley, Chapter 1: Snake Oil – Diplo*

Hip-Hop Song of the Year: 

  • “High Fashion” – Roddy Ricch featuring Mustard
  • “Life Is Good” – Future featuring Drake
  • “ROCKSTAR” – DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch             
  • “Savage” (Remix) – Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyoncé
  • “The Box” – Roddy Ricch*

Hip-Hop Artist of the Year: 

  • DaBaby
  • Lil Baby
  • Megan Thee Stallion
  • Pop Smoke
  • Roddy Ricch*

Best New Hip-Hop Artist:

  • Jack Harlow
  • Moneybagg Yo
  • Pop Smoke
  • Rod Wave
  • Roddy Ricch*

Hip-Hop Album of the Year:

  • My Turn – Lil Baby*

R&B Song of the Year: 

  • “B.S.” – Jhené Aiko featuring H.E.R.    
  • “Go Crazy” – Chris Brown & Young Thug*
  • “Heat” Chris Brown featuring Gunna
  • “Playing Games” – Summer Walker
  • “Slide” – H.E.R. featuring YG

R&B Artist of the Year: 

  • Chris Brown
  • H.E.R.*
  • Jhené Aiko
  • Snoh Aalegra
  • Summer Walker

Best New R&B Artist

  • Chloe x Halle  
  • Lonr.
  • Mahalia
  • Skip Marley
  • Snoh Aalegra*

R&B Album of the Year:

  • Chilombo – Jhene Aiko*

Latin Pop/Reggaeton Song of the Year:  

  • “Caramelo” – Ozuna
  • “Dákiti” – Bad Bunny & Jhay Cortez
  • “Hawái” (Remix) – Maluma & The Weeknd
  • “RITMO (Bad Boys For Life)” – Black Eyed Peas & J Balvin
  • “Tusa” – KAROL G & Nicki Minaj*

Latin Pop/Reggaeton Artist of the Year: 

  • Bad Bunny 
  • J Balvin*
  • KAROL G
  • Maluma
  • Ozuna

Best New Latin Artist: 

  • Chesca
  • Jay Wheeler
  • Natanael Cano
  • Neto Bernal
  • Rauw Alejandro*

Latin Pop/Reggaeton Album of the Year:

  • YHLQMDLG – Bad Bunny*

Regional Mexican Song of the Year:

  • “Palabra De Hombre” – El Fantasma
  • “Se Me Olvidó” – Christian Nodal*
  • “Sólo Tú” – Calibre 50
  • “Te Volvería A Elegir” – Calibre 50
  • “Yo Ya No Vuelvo Contigo” – Lenin Ramírez featuring Grupo Firme  

Regional Mexican Artist of the Year:  

  • Banda Los Sebastianes
  • Calibre 50
  • Christian Nodal*
  • Edwin Luna y La Trakalosa de Monterrey
  • Gerardo Ortíz

Regional Mexican Album of the Year:

  • AYAYAY! – Christian Nodal*

Producer of the Year: 

  • Andrew Watt
  • Dr Luke
  • Frank Dukes
  • Louis Bell
  • Max Martin*

Songwriter of the Year:

  • Ali Tamposi
  • Amy Allen
  • Ashley Gorley*
  • Dan Nigro
  • Finneas

Best Lyrics: *Socially Voted Category

  • “Adore You” – Harry Styles*
  • “Before You Go” – Lewis Capaldi
  • “Blinding Lights” – The Weeknd
  • “cardigan” – Taylor Swift
  • “Don’t Start Now” – Dua Lipa
  • “everything i wanted” – Billie Eilish
  • “I Hope” – Gabby Barrett featuring Charlie Puth
  • “If The World Was Ending” – JP Saxe featuring Julia Michaels
  • “Intentions” – Justin Bieber featuring Quavo
  • “Life Is Good” – Future featuring Drake

Best Cover Song: *Socially Voted Category

  • “Adore You” (Harry Styles) – Lizzo cover
  • “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” (Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons) – Shawn Mendes cover
  • “Fix You” (Coldplay) – Sam Smith cover
  • “Heart Of Glass” (Blondie) – Miley Cyrus cover
  • “Juice” (Lizzo) – Harry Styles cover*

Best Fan Army: *Socially Voted Category

  • #Agnation – Agnez Mo
  • #Arianators – Ariana Grande
  • #Beliebers – Justin Bieber
  • #BLINK – BLACKPINK
  • #BTSARMY – BTS*
  • #Harries – Harry Styles
  • #Limelights – Why Don’t We
  • #Louies – Louis Tomlinson
  • #MendesArmy – Shawn Mendes
  • #NCTzens – NCT 127
  • #Selenators – Selena Gomez
  • #Swifties – Taylor Swift

Best Music Video: *Socially Voted Category

  • “Blinding Lights” – The Weeknd
  • “Don’t Start Now” – Dua Lipa
  • “Dynamite” – BTS*
  • “Hawái” – Maluma
  • “How You Like That” – BLACKPINK
  • “Life Is Good” – Future featuring Drake
  • “Rain On Me” – Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande
  • “WAP” – Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion
  • “Watermelon Sugar” – Harry Styles
  • “Yummy” – Justin Bieber

Social Star Award: *Socially Voted Category

  • Dixie D’Amelio
  • Jaden Hossler
  • LILHUDDY
  • Nessa Barrett
  • Olivia Rodrigo*
  • Tate McRae

Favorite Music Video Choreography: *Socially Voted Category

  • BTS – Son Sung Deuk*
  • “34+35” (Ariana Grande) – Scott & Brian Nicholson
  • “Do It” (Chloe x Halle) – Kendra Bracy & Ashanti Ledon
  • “Honey Boo” (CNCO & Natti Natasha) – Kyle Hanagami
  • “Physical” (Dua Lipa) – Charm La’Donna
  • “Rain On Me” (Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande) – Richy Jackson
  • “Say So” (Doja Cat) –    Cortland Brown
  • WAP” (Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion) – JaQuel Knight
  • “Bop” (DaBaby) – Coach Cherry & DaniLeigh

TikTok Bop of the Year (New Category): *Socially Voted Category 

  • “Blinding Lights” – The Weeknd*
  • “Lottery (Renegade)” – K CAMP
  • “Savage” – Megan Thee Stallion
  • “Savage Love” (Laxed-Siren Beat) – Jawsh 685, Jason Derulo
  • “Say So” – Doja Cat
  • “WAP” – Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion

Label of the Year:

  • Republic Records*

Titanium Song of the Year:

  • “Blinding Lights” – The Weeknd*

Titanium Artist of the Year:

  • The Weeknd*

2021 BET Awards: Megan Thee Stallion, DaBaby are the top nominees

May 27, 2021

Megan Thee Stallion (Photo by Marcelo Cantu)

The following is a press release from BET:

BET announced the “BET AWARDS” 2021 nominees with Megan Thee Stallion and DaBaby leading the pack with seven nominations, respectively. This year’s nominees reflect an abundance of creative expression and Black excellence across music, television, film, and sports. The “BET AWARDS” 2021 will air LIVE, Sunday, June 27 on BET at 8 pm ET/ PT.

“We are back and excited to bring culture’s biggest night, the 2021 ‘BET Awards,’ safely back to Los Angeles to celebrate this year’s incredible roster of nominees,” said Connie Orlando, EVP Specials, Music Programming & Music Strategy. “We broke ground as one of the first official award shows to move forward during the global pandemic and we are ready to take our pioneer status to the next level with the return of an audience to celebrate the best and brightest creative minds in the entertainment industry.”

Megan Thee Stallion, who left her mark in last year’s telecast with her Mad Max inspired performance for “Girls in The Hood” and “Savage,” claims one of the top spots securing seven nominations for ‘Best Female Hip Hop Artist,’ ‘Video of the Year,’ for WAP, ‘Album of the Year,’ for Good News, ‘Viewer’s Choice Award (x2),’ and ‘Best Collaboration,’ for her features with DaBaby (Cry Baby) and Cardi B (WAP). After his searing and powerful ‘Rockstar’ performance at last year’s “BET Awards,” DaBaby claims the other top spot securing seven nods, including ‘Best Male Hip Hop Artist,’ ‘Album of the Year,’ for Blame it on Baby, ‘Viewer’s Choice Award,’ and four nods for ‘Best Collaboration’ for his features alongside Roddy Ricch (Rockstar), Megan Thee Stallion (Cry Baby), Pop Smoke & Lil Baby (For The Night), and Jack Harlow Tory Lanez & Lil Wayne (Whats Poppin- Remix).

Cardi B and Drake garnered the second most nods with five nominations each. Cardi B’s nods include ‘Best Female Hip Hop Artist,’ ‘Best Collaboration,’ ‘Video of the Year,’ twice for WAP and UP. Drake’s nods include ‘Best Collaboration,’ ‘Best Male Hip Hop Artist,’ ‘Video of the Year,’ for Laugh Now Cry Later featuring Lil Durk and ‘Viewer’s Choice Award’. Anderson .Paak, Bruno Mars, Chloe X Halle, and Chris Brown are the third-highest with four nominations each and are all up for the coveted ‘Video of the Year’ award.

Culture’s biggest night, the “BET AWARDS,” continues its reign in its twenty-first year as the ultimate platform to showcase the best, brightest, and most beautiful aspects of the Black experience – celebrating Black music’s present and future, and elevating the culture and being a driving force for social change.

Following last year’s groundbreaking virtual awards show, the “BET AWARDS” returns this year with a live show audience. Beginning today, vaccinated individuals can register here for consideration to be part of the “BET AWARDS” 2021 live show audience. BET will work closely with Los Angeles County to support community vaccination efforts and ensure adherence to COVID-19 protocols.

Due to these safety parameters, press access to the show will be limited and “BET AWARDS” will not be issuing a credential form. Media will be invited directly to cover any in person opportunities, including the red carpet, with additional remote/virtual press opportunities to be announced at a later date.

BET recognizes artists, entertainers, and athletes across 21 categories with The “BET Awards” 2021 nominations (‘Viewer’s Choice Award: Best New International Act’ will be released at a later date). The nominations are selected by BET’s Voting Academy, which is composed of fans and an esteemed group of entertainment professionals in the fields of television, film, music, social media, digital marketing, sports journalism, public relations, and creative arts.

Internationally, the show will simulcast on BET Africa at 2 am CAT and MTV Brazil at 9 pm BRT on June 27, followed by international broadcasts on MTV UK on June 28 at 9 pm BST, BET France on June 29 at 8:45pm CEST. The show will also be available to watch on My5 and Sky On-Demand in the UK beginning June 29.

The complete list of nominees for The “BET AWARDS” 2021 are:

Album of the Year

“After Hours” – The Weeknd
“Blame It on Baby” – DaBaby
“Good News” – Megan Thee Stallion
“Heaux Tales” – Jazmine Sullivan
“King’s Disease” – Nas
“Ungodly Hour” – Chloe X Halle

Best Collaboration

Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP”
DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch – “Rockstar”
DJ Khaled featuring Drake – “Popstar”
Jack Harlow featuring DaBaby, Tory Lanez & Lil Wayne – “Whats Poppin” (Remix)
Megan Thee Stallion featuring DaBaby – “Cry Baby”
Pop Smoke featuring Lil Baby & DaBaby – “For the Night”

Best Female R&B / Pop Artist

Beyoncé
H.E.R.
Jazmine Sullivan
Jhené Aiko
Summer Walker
SZA

Best Male R&B / Pop Artist

6lack
Anderson .Paak
Chris Brown
Giveon
Tank
The Weeknd

Best New Artist

Coi Leray
Flo Milli
Giveon
Jack Harlow
Latto
Pooh Shiesty

Best Group

21 Savage & Metro Boomin
Chloe X Halle
Chris Brown & Young Thug
City Girls
Migos
Silk Sonic

Best Female Hip Hop Artist

Cardi B
Coi Leray
Doja Cat
Megan Thee Stallion
Latto
Saweetie

Best Male Hip Hop Artist

DaBaby
Drake
J. Cole
Jack Harlow
Lil Baby
Pop Smoke

Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award

Bebe Winans – “In Jesus Name”
Cece Winans – “Never Lost”
H.E.R. – “Hold Us Together”
Kirk Franklin – “Strong God”
Marvin Sapp – “Thank You For It All”
Tamela Mann – “Touch From You”

BET Her Award

Alicia Keys featuring Khalid – “So Done”
Brandy featuring Chance the Rapper – “Baby Mama”
Bri Steves – “Anti Queen”
Chloe X Halle – “Baby Girl”
Ciara featuring Ester Dean – “Rooted”
SZA – “Good Days”

Best International Act

Aya Nakamura (France)
Burna Boy (Nigeria)
Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania)
Emicida (Brazil)
Headie One (Uk)
Wizkid (Nigeria)
Young T & Bugsey (Uk)
Youssoupha (France)

Viewer’s Choice Award

Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP”
Chris Brown & Young Thug – “Go Crazy”
DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch – “Rockstar”
DJ Khaled featuring Drake – “Popstar”
Drake featuring Lil Durk – “Laugh Now Cry Later”
Lil Baby – “The Bigger Picture”
Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyoncé – “Savage” (Remix)
Silk Sonic – “Leave the Door Open”

Video of the Year

Cardi B – “Up”
Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP”
Chloe X Halle – “Do It”
Chris Brown & Young Thug – “Go Crazy”
Drake featuring Lil Durk – “Laugh Now Cry Later”
Silk Sonic – “Leave the Door Open”

Video Director of the Year

Benny Boom
Bruno Mars and Florent Déchard
Cole Bennett
Colin Tilley
Dave Meyers
Hype Williams

Best Movie

“Coming 2 America”
“Judas and the Black Messiah”
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
“One Night In Miami”
“Soul”
“The United States Vs. Billie Holiday”

Best Actress

Andra Day
Angela Bassett
Issa Rae
Jurnee Smollett
Viola Davis
Zendaya

Best Actor

Aldis Hodge
Chadwick Boseman
Damson Idris
Daniel Kaluuya
Eddie Murphy
Lakeith Stanfield

Youngstars Award

Alex R. Hibbert
Ethan Hutchison
Lonnie Chavis
Marsai Martin
Michael Epps
Storm Reid

Sportswoman of the Year Award

A’ja Wilson
Candace Parker
Claressa Shields
Naomi Osaka
Serena Williams
Skylar Diggins-Smith

Sportsman of the Year Award

Kyrie Irving
Lebron James
Patrick Mahomes
Russell Westbrook
Russell Wilson
Stephen Curry

Connie Orlando, EVP of Specials, Music Programming & Music Strategy at BET and Jesse Collins, CEO of Jesse Collins Entertainment serve as Executive Producers for the “BET Awards” 2021 broadcast special.

Voting for the “BET AWARDS” 2021 ‘Viewer’s Choice Award’ begins on June 7th. For the latest “BET AWARDS” 2021 news and updates, including details on audience selection and eligibility, please visit BET.com/Awards.

About BET:

BET, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS Inc. (NASDAQ: VIACA, VIAC), is the nation’s leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African American audience. The primary BET channel is in 125 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, sub-Saharan Africa and France. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions including BET+, the preeminent streaming service for the Black audience; BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET HER, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American Woman; BET Music Networks – BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET’s growing festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET around the globe.

About “BET Awards”:

The “BET Awards” is one of the most-watched award shows on cable television according to the Nielsen Company. The “BET Awards” franchise remains as the #1 program in cable TV history among African-Americans, and it is BET’s #1 telecast every year. It recognizes the triumphs and successes of artists, entertainers, and athletes in a variety of categories.

About Jesse Collins Entertainment:

Jesse Collins Entertainment (JCE) is a full-service television and film production company and has played an integral role in producing many of television’s most memorable moments in music entertainment. JCE has a multi-year overall agreement with ViacomCBS Cable Networks. On the theatrical film side, the company also has a first look on JCE’s film development projects which could include Viacom’s film entities such as Paramount Players. The award-winning and critically acclaimed television that JCE has produced includes miniseries – The New Edition Story and The Bobby Brown Story; scripted series – American Soul and Real Husbands of Hollywood; children’s series – Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices; award shows – BET Awards, Black Girls Rock!, BET Honors, UNCF’s An Evening of Stars, BET Hip Hop Awards, ABFF Honors and Soul Train Awards; specials – John Lewis: Celebrating A Hero, Love & Happiness: An Obama Celebration, Change Together: From The March On Washington To Today, Stand Up for Heroes, Dear Mama, Amanda Seales I Be Knowin’, Def Comedy Jam 25 and Leslie Jones: Time Machine; as well as competition/game shows – Sunday Best, Hip Hop Squares, Nashville Squares and Rhythm & Flow. Jesse Collins, founder and CEO of the company, is the executive producer of all programming. He is also a co-executive producer for the iconic Grammy Awards. Most recently, he was executive producer of The 2021 Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show and produced The 2021 Academy Awards. Go to jessecollinsent.com for more information on the company.

2021 Billboard Music Awards: The Weeknd is the top winner

May 23, 2021

The Weeknd at the 2021 Billboard Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on May 23, 2021. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

The following is a press release from Dick Clark Productions and NBC:

Dick Clark Productions and NBC announced the winners of the “2021 Billboard Music Awards” in an electrifying broadcast special, aired live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Host Nick Jonas was joined by today’s Billboard chart-topping artists for exhilarating performances, moving moments, and historic wins. Top finalist The Weeknd took home the most trophies of the night with 10 – including Top Artist and Top Hot 100 Artist – bringing his career total to 19. With this, he becomes the number five most decorated BBMA winner of all time behind Drake, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, and Garth Brooks. 

It was a big night for new winners as artists including AJR, DaBaby, Doja Cat, Gabby Barrett, Karol G, and Megan Thee Stallion all walked away with trophies for the very first time.  No strangers to this show, BTS took home four awards, winning Top Social Artist for the fifth consecutive year.

  • Drake held on to his title for most Billboard Music Award wins of all time, and received the Artist of the Decade Award. The superstar was joined on stage by his son Adonis, mother Sandi Graham, father Dennis Graham, and his closest friends to celebrate the honor.
  • ICON Award recipient P!NK more than earned the prestigious title, performing an unforgettable, moving, aerial routine with her daughter Willow, and a medley of her hit songs. Longtime friend Jon Bon Jovi presented P!NK with the honor. She graciously accepted the award, thanking fans and encouraging everyone to “dream big because what if it comes true.” She also gave a special shoutout to Willow, saying she “nailed it!”
  • Houston-based rapper, philanthropist, and social activist Trae Tha Truth became the second recipient of the annual Billboard Change Maker Award. In an effort to support the incredible work Trae Tha Truth does through his Angel By Nature non-profit, the BBMAs and NBCUniversal partnered with him to offer the first-ever official award show non-fungible token (NFT). Fans, as well as the general public, are able to purchase various Trae Tha Truth Change Maker Award NFTs via Bitski for a limited time, and the proceeds from all NFT sales are donated to Angel by Nature. More information can be found at bitski.com/bbmas. Trae Tha Truth was presented the prestigious honor by fellow Houstonian Tina Knowles-Lawson.
  • DJ Khaled, H.E.R. & Migos kicked off the show with the world premiere performance of their incredible new single “We Going Crazy,” and the crowds sure were as they danced along to what is destined to be one of the hottest songs of the summer.
  • Doja Cat & SZA delivered an out-of-this-world world television debut of their hit single “Kiss Me More” with a futuristic set.
  • Duo twenty one pilots took over the stage for a high-energy performance of their popular new song “Shy Away.”  They were enveloped by a life-size sculpture of unofficial band mascot, and fan favorite, Trash the Dragon.
  • Former First Lady Michelle Obama joined the BBMAs via a pre-recorded message to introduce a special performance from Alicia Keys celebrating the 20th anniversary of her debut album, Songs In A Minor with an ode to her hometown New York and a medley of hits on four different pianos.  The multitalented musician performed excerpts of some of her top hits from the past twenty years including “Fallin’,” “A Woman’s Worth,” and “Piano & I.”
  • AJR made their awards show debut with an electric performance of their hits “Bang!” and “Way Less Sad.”  The trio of brothers were flanked by a full band of musicians who had the plaza vibrating with excitement.
  • To celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Sounds of Blackness’ hit song, “Optimistic”, songwriters and producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis presented an epic and moving performance of the legendary track    featuring Ann Nesby from Paisley Park in Minneapolis. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the inspirational tune which not only climbed the Billboard R&B charts, but continues to serve as an anthem of  inspiration.
  • Colombian singer-songwriter Karol G took the stage for a performance of her hit songs “Bichota” and “El Makinon” surrounded by a powerful group of female dancers.
  • Presenter Swizz Beatz delivered a moving tribute to those from the hip hop community lost over the past year including rapper and producer Shock G, Bad Boy rapper Black Rob, Prince Markie Dee of the Fat Boys, and Ecstasy of Whodini. He added a special message to his friend DMX, who, following Tupac, was the second rapper to have two number one albums in one year.
  • The Army went wild when BTS performed the world television debut of their new single “Butter,” which was filled with their signature dance moves and sharp outfits.
  • Rock group Glass Animals marked their first US award show performance delighting audiences with their rhythmically captivating song “Heat Waves.”
  • Top finalist and top winner, The Weeknd gave an unforgettable performance of “Save Your Tears,” swapping backup dancers for backup automobiles, delivering a mesmerizing synchronized routine around the performer.
  • British pop-rock sensations Duran Duran took the BBMA stage for the very first time, with a remote performance from London featuring Blur’s Graham Coxon on guitar. It was a standout moment for lifelong fans and new ones alike, as the band covered hits from the span of their four decade career.
  • Host Nick Jonas joined brothers Kevin and Joe and special guest Marshmello to close out the night, and brought the house down with a medley of “Remember This,” “What A Man Gotta Do,” “Sucker,” “Only Human,” and “Leave Before You Love Me,” accompanied by a spectacular fireworks display and exciting  pyrotechnic show.

The evening’s star-studded presenter lineup included Cynthia Erivo, Chelsea Handler, Dixie D’Amelio, Gabrielle Union, Henry Golding, Kathryn Hahn, Kelsea Ballerini, Lena Waithe, Leslie Odom Jr., Lil Rel Howery, Padma Lakshmi, and Renée Elise Goldsberry.

The following is a the complete list of nominees and winners of the 2021 Billboard Music Awards:

*=winner

THE “2021 BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS” FINALISTS:

FINALISTS BY CATEGORY

ARTIST AWARDS

Top Artist
Drake
Juice WRLD
Pop Smoke
Taylor Swift
The Weeknd*

Top New Artist
Gabby Barrett
Doja Cat
Jack Harlow
Pop Smoke*
Rod Wave

Top Male Artist
Drake
Juice WRLD
Lil Baby
Pop Smoke
The Weeknd*

Top Female Artist
Billie Eilish
Ariana Grande
Dua Lipa
Megan Thee Stallion
Taylor Swift*

Top Duo/Group
AC/DC
AJR
BTS*
Dan + Shay
Maroon 5

Top Billboard 200 Artist
Drake
Juice WRLD
Pop Smoke
Post Malone
Taylor Swift*

Top Hot 100 Artist
DaBaby
Drake*
Dua Lipa
Pop Smoke
The Weeknd

Top Streaming Songs Artist
DaBaby
Drake
Lil Baby
Pop Smoke
The Weeknd*

Top Song Sales Artist
Justin Bieber
BTS*
Megan Thee Stallion
Morgan Wallen
The Weeknd

Top Radio Songs Artist
Justin Bieber
Lewis Capaldi
Dua Lipa
Harry Styles
The Weeknd*

Top Social Artist (Fan Voted)
BLACKPINK
BTS*
Ariana Grande
SB19
Seventeen

Top R&B Artist
Jhené Aiko
Justin Bieber
Chris Brown
Doja Cat
The Weeknd*

Top R&B Male Artist
Justin Bieber
Chris Brown
The Weeknd*

Top R&B Female Artist
Jhené Aiko
Doja Cat*
SZA

Top Rap Artist
DaBaby
Drake
Juice WRLD
Lil Baby
Pop Smoke*

Top Rap Male Artist
Juice WRLD
Lil Baby
Pop Smoke*

Top Rap Female Artist
Cardi B
Megan Thee Stallion*
Saweetie

Top Country Artist
Gabby Barrett
Kane Brown
Luke Combs
Chris Stapleton
Morgan Wallen*

Top Country Male Artist
Luke Combs
Chris Stapleton
Morgan Wallen*

Top Country Female Artist
Gabby Barrett*
Maren Morris
Carrie Underwood

Top Country Duo/Group
Dan + Shay
Florida Georgia Line*
Maddie & Tae

Top Rock Artist
AC/DC
AJR
Five Finger Death Punch
Machine Gun Kelly*
twenty one pilots

Top Latin Artist
Anuel AA
Bad Bunny*
J Balvin
Maluma
Ozuna

Top Latin Male Artist
Bad Bunny*
J Balvin
Ozuna

Top Latin Female Artist
Becky G
Karol G*
Rosalía

Top Latin Duo/Group
Banda MS de Sergio Lizárraga
Eslabón Armado*
Los Dos Carnales

Top Dance/Electronic Artist
The Chainsmokers
Kygo
Lady Gaga*
Marshmello
Surf Mesa

Top Christian Artist
Casting Crowns
Elevation Worship*
for KING & COUNTRY
Carrie Underwood
Zach Williams

Top Gospel Artist
Kirk Franklin
Koryn Hawthorne
Tasha Cobbs Leonard
Maverick City Music
Kanye West*


ALBUM AWARDS

Top Billboard 200 Album
Juice WRLD “Legends Never Die”
Lil Baby “My Turn”
Pop Smoke “Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon”*
Taylor Swift “folklore”
The Weeknd “After Hours”

Top R&B Album
Jhené Aiko “Chilombo”
Chris Brown & Young Thug “Slime & B”
Doja Cat “Hot Pink”
Kehlani “It Was Good Until It Wasn’t”
The Weeknd “After Hours”*

Top Rap Album
DaBaby “BLAME IT ON BABY”
Juice WRLD “Legends Never Die”
Lil Baby “My Turn”
Lil Uzi Vert “Eternal Atake”
Pop Smoke “Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon”*

Top Country Album
Gabby Barrett “Goldmine”
Sam Hunt “SOUTHSIDE”
Chris Stapleton “Starting Over”
Carrie Underwood “My Gift”
Morgan Wallen “Dangerous: The Double Album”*

Top Rock Album
AC/DC “Power Up”
Miley Cyrus “Plastic Hearts”
Glass Animals “Dreamland”
Machine Gun Kelly “Tickets to My Downfall”*
Bruce Springsteen “Letter to You”

Top Latin Album
Anuel AA “Emmanuel”
Bad Bunny “El Último Tour Del Mundo”
Bad Bunny “Las que no iban a salir”
Bad Bunny “YHLQMDLG”*
J Balvin “Colores”

Top Dance/Electronic Album
DJ Snake “Carte Blanche”
Gryffin “Gravity”
Kygo “Golden Hour”
Lady Gaga “Chromatica”*
Kylie Minogue “Disco”

Top Christian Album
Bethel Music “Peace”
Elevation Worship “Grave Into Gardens”
Carrie Underwood “My Gift”*
We The Kingdom “Holy Water”
Zach Williams “Rescue Story”

Top Gospel Album
Koryn Hawthorne “I AM”
Tasha Cobbs Leonard “Royalty: Live at the Ryman”
Maverick City Music “Maverick City Vol. 3 Part 1”*
Maverick City Music “Maverick City Vol. 3 Part 2”
Kierra Sheard “Kierra”

SONG AWARDS

Top Hot 100 Song Presented by Rockstar
24kGoldn ft. iann dior “Mood”
Gabby Barrett ft. Charlie Puth “I Hope”
Chris Brown & Young Thug “Go Crazy”
DaBaby ft. Roddy Ricch “ROCKSTAR”
The Weeknd “Blinding Lights”*

Top Streaming Song
Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion “WAP”
DaBaby ft. Roddy Ricch “ROCKSTAR”*
Future ft. Drake “Life Is Good”
Jack Harlow ft. DaBaby, Tory Lanez, & Lil Wayne “WHATS POPPIN”
The Weeknd “Blinding Lights”

Top Selling Song
Gabby Barrett ft. Charlie Puth “I Hope”
BTS “Dynamite”*
Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion “WAP”
Megan Thee Stallion “Savage”
The Weeknd “Blinding Lights”

Top Radio Song
Gabby Barrett ft. Charlie Puth “I Hope”
Chris Brown & Young Thug “Go Crazy”
Dua Lipa “Don’t Start Now”
Harry Styles “Adore You”
The Weeknd “Blinding Lights”*

Top Collaboration (Fan Voted)
24kGoldn ft. iann dior “Mood”
Gabby Barrett ft. Charlie Puth “I Hope”*
Chris Brown & Young Thug “Go Crazy”
DaBaby ft. Roddy Ricch “ROCKSTAR”
Jack Harlow ft. DaBaby, Tory Lanez, & Lil Wayne “WHATS POPPIN”

Top R&B Song
Jhené Aiko ft. H.E.R. “B.S.”
Justin Bieber ft. Quavo “Intentions”
Chris Brown & Young Thug “Go Crazy”
Doja Cat “Say So”
The Weeknd “Blinding Lights”*

Top Rap Song
24kGoldn ft. iann dior “Mood”
Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion “WAP”
DaBaby ft. Roddy Ricch “ROCKSTAR”*
Jack Harlow ft. DaBaby, Tory Lanez, & Lil Wayne “WHATS POPPIN”
Megan Thee Stallion “Savage”

Top Country Song
Jason Aldean “Got What I Got”
Gabby Barrett “I Hope”*
Lee Brice “One of Them Girls”
*Morgan Wallen “Chasin’ You”
*Morgan Wallen “More Than My Hometown”

Top Rock Song
AJR “Bang!”*
All Time Low ft. blackbear “Monsters”
Glass Animals “Heat Waves”
Machine Gun Kelly ft. blackbear “my ex’s best friend”
twenty one pilots “Level of Concern”

Top Latin Song
Bad Bunny “Yo Perreo Sola”
Bad Bunny & Jhay Cortez “Dákiti”*
Black Eyed Peas & J Balvin “RITMO (Bad Boys For Life)”
Maluma & The Weeknd “Hawái”
Ozuna x Karol G x Myke Towers “Caramelo”

Top Dance/Electronic Song
Lady Gaga “Stupid Love”
Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande “Rain on Me”
SAINt JHN “Roses (Imanbek Remix)”*
Surf Mesa ft. Emilee “ily (i love you baby)”
Topic & A7S “Breaking Me”

Top Christian Song
Elevation Worship ft. Brandon Lake “Graves Into Gardens”*
for KING & COUNTRY, Kirk Franklin & Tori Kelly “TOGETHER”
Kari Jobe, Cody Carnes, & Elevation Worship “The Blessing (Live)”
Tauren Wells ft. Jenn Johnson “Famous For (I Believe)”
Zach Williams & Dolly Parton “There Was Jesus”

Top Gospel Song
Koryn Hawthorne “Speak To Me”
Jonathan McReynolds & Mali Music “Movin’ On”
Marvin Sapp “Thank You For It All”
Tye Tribbett “We Gon’ Be Alright”
Kanye West ft. Travis Scott “Wash Us In The Blood”*

2021 Billboard Music Awards: The Weeknd is the top nominee, Nick Jonas is the host

April 30, 2021

(Photo courtesy of NBC)

The following is a combination of press releases from Dick Clark Productions and NBC:

Dick Clark Productions and NBC announced the finalists for the “2021 Billboard Music Awards” (BBMA), which honor the year’s most successful artists in 51 categories across all genres of music. The annual live broadcast showcases spectacular performances, unexpected collaborations, buzzworthy pop culture moments that keeps fans talking all year, and the prestigious ICON Award, which honors record-breaking artists and their impact on music. The BBMAs will broadcast live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, May 23 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on NBC. Multi-platinum recording artist, actor and current “Voice” coach Nick Jonas is set to host the “2021 Billboard Music Awards” (BBMA).

“The List Live” Finalist Announcement:

  • Finalists were revealed during the exclusive live stream “The List Live,” hosted by Access Hollywood’s Zuri Hall and comedian LaLa Milan, and aired on BBMAs, Billboard, E!, and NBC social media pages earlier this morning.
  • Some of the biggest names in music, pop culture, and fashion stopped by to announce this year’s finalists.
  • Presenters included: Anitta, FINNEAS, Luis Fonsi, Rob Gronkowski, Paris Hilton, Leslie Jordan, Tate McRae, and Jay Pharoah. Watch the replay HERE.

2021 BBMA Finalist Highlights:

  • The Weeknd leads the pack as a finalist in 16 categories, including Top Artist, Top Male Artist, Top Hot 100 Artist, Top Streaming Songs Artist, and Top Song Sales Artist. His 2020 album After Hours received multiple nods, including Top Billboard 200 Album and Top R&B Album, with the hit single “Blinding Lights” recognized in five categories.
  • DaBaby is the second-top finalist (11), including recognition for the Top Hot 100 Artist, Top Rap Artist, and Top Rap Album categories. He is also a multi-finalist in the Top Streaming Song category for “Rockstar” and “Whats Poppin,” and could take home his first BBMA trophy.
  • Late rappers Pop Smoke and Juice WRLD received multiple honors, marking the first time in a decade that two of the top ten finalists received posthumous recognition. Pop Smoke is a finalist in 10 categories, including Top Billboard 200 Album for his posthumously released debut album Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon; while Juice WRLD is a finalist in seven categories, including Top Rap Album for Legends Never Die.
  • “I Hope” singer Gabby Barrett is a first-time finalist and achieved nods in nine categories, including Top New Artist, becoming the female artist with the most nods this year.
  • Megan Thee Stallion is the female artist with the second-most nods this year with seven, including Top Female Artist and Top Rap Female Artist. She could receive her first ever BBMA at this year’s show.

This year’s awards are based on the chart period of March 21, 2020 through April 3, 2021. “Billboard Music Awards” finalists and winners are based on key fan interactions with music, including album and digital song sales, streaming, radio airplay, and social engagement, tracked by Billboard and its data partners, including MRC Data. Fan-voted categories include Top Social Artist and Top Collaboration.

For more than 30 years, the BBMAs has celebrated music’s greatest achievements, honoring the hottest names in music today. Unique among music awards shows, finalists are determined by performance on the Billboard Charts. Since 1940, the Billboard Charts have been the go-to guide for ranking the popularity of artists, songs and albums, and are the ultimate measure of success in music.

The “2021 Billboard Music Awards” is produced by dick clark productions. Barry Adelman and Robert Deaton are executive producers.

For the latest news on the Billboard Music Awards (BBMAs) visit billboardmusicawards.com and www.billboard.com/bbma. For exclusive content and more, be sure to follow the BBMAs on social media (TwitterFacebookInstagramSnapchatTikTokYouTube) and join the conversation by using the official hashtag for the show, #BBMAs.

About Dick Clark Productions:
Dick Clark Productions (DCP) is the world’s largest producer and proprietor of televised live event entertainment programming with the “Academy of Country Music Awards,” “American Music Awards,” “Billboard Music Awards,” “Golden Globe Awards,” “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” and the “Streamy Awards.” Weekly television programming includes “So You Think You Can Dance” from 19 Entertainment and dcp. dcp also owns one of the world’s most extensive and unique entertainment archive libraries with more than 60 years of award-winning shows, historic programs, specials, performances and legendary programming. dcp is part of MRC Live & Alternative, a division of diversified global entertainment company MRC. For additional information, visit www.mrcentertainment.com.

THE “2021 BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS” FINALISTS:

FINALISTS BY CATEGORY

ARTIST AWARDS

Top Artist
Drake
Juice WRLD
Pop Smoke
Taylor Swift
The Weeknd

Top New Artist
Gabby Barrett
Doja Cat
Jack Harlow
Pop Smoke
Rod Wave

Top Male Artist
Drake
Juice WRLD
Lil Baby
Pop Smoke
The Weeknd

Top Female Artist
Billie Eilish
Ariana Grande
Dua Lipa
Megan Thee Stallion
Taylor Swift

Top Duo/Group
AC/DC
AJR
BTS
Dan + Shay
Maroon 5

Top Billboard 200 Artist
Drake
Juice WRLD
Pop Smoke
Post Malone
Taylor Swift

Top Hot 100 Artist
DaBaby
Drake
Dua Lipa
Pop Smoke
The Weeknd

Top Streaming Songs Artist
DaBaby
Drake
Lil Baby
Pop Smoke
The Weeknd

Top Song Sales Artist
Justin Bieber
BTS
Megan Thee Stallion
*Morgan Wallen
The Weeknd

Top Radio Songs Artist
Justin Bieber
Lewis Capaldi
Dua Lipa
Harry Styles
The Weeknd

Top Social Artist (Fan Voted)
BLACKPINK
BTS
Ariana Grande
SB19
Seventeen

Top R&B Artist
Jhené Aiko
Justin Bieber
Chris Brown
Doja Cat
The Weeknd

Top R&B Male Artist
Justin Bieber
Chris Brown
The Weeknd

Top R&B Female Artist
Jhené Aiko
Doja Cat
SZA

Top Rap Artist
DaBaby
Drake
Juice WRLD
Lil Baby
Pop Smoke

Top Rap Male Artist
Juice WRLD
Lil Baby
Pop Smoke

Top Rap Female Artist
Cardi B
Megan Thee Stallion
Saweetie

Top Country Artist
Gabby Barrett
Kane Brown
Luke Combs
Chris Stapleton
*Morgan Wallen

Top Country Male Artist
Luke Combs
Chris Stapleton
*Morgan Wallen

Top Country Female Artist
Gabby Barrett
Maren Morris
Carrie Underwood

Top Country Duo/Group
Dan + Shay
Florida Georgia Line
Maddie & Tae

Top Rock Artist
AC/DC
AJR
Five Finger Death Punch
Machine Gun Kelly
twenty one pilots

Top Latin Artist
Anuel AA
Bad Bunny
J Balvin
Maluma
Ozuna

Top Latin Male Artist
Bad Bunny
J Balvin
Ozuna

Top Latin Female Artist
Becky G
Karol G
Rosalía

Top Latin Duo/Group
Banda MS de Sergio Lizárraga
Eslabón Armado
Los Dos Carnales

Top Dance/Electronic Artist
The Chainsmokers
Kygo
Lady Gaga
Marshmello
Surf Mesa

Top Christian Artist
Casting Crowns
Elevation Worship
for KING & COUNTRY
Carrie Underwood
Zach Williams

Top Gospel Artist
Kirk Franklin
Koryn Hawthorne
Tasha Cobbs Leonard
Maverick City Music
Kanye West


ALBUM AWARDS

Top Billboard 200 Album
Juice WRLD “Legends Never Die”
Lil Baby “My Turn”
Pop Smoke “Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon”
Taylor Swift “folklore”
The Weeknd “After Hours”

Top R&B Album
Jhené Aiko “Chilombo”
Chris Brown & Young Thug “Slime & B”
Doja Cat “Hot Pink”
Kehlani “It Was Good Until It Wasn’t”
The Weeknd “After Hours”

Top Rap Album
DaBaby “BLAME IT ON BABY”
Juice WRLD “Legends Never Die”
Lil Baby “My Turn”
Lil Uzi Vert “Eternal Atake”
Pop Smoke “Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon”

Top Country Album
Gabby Barrett “Goldmine”
Sam Hunt “SOUTHSIDE”
Chris Stapleton “Starting Over”
Carrie Underwood “My Gift”
*Morgan Wallen “Dangerous: The Double Album”

Top Rock Album
AC/DC “Power Up”
Miley Cyrus “Plastic Hearts”
Glass Animals “Dreamland”
Machine Gun Kelly “Tickets to My Downfall”
Bruce Springsteen “Letter to You”

Top Latin Album
Anuel AA “Emmanuel”
Bad Bunny “El Último Tour Del Mundo”
Bad Bunny “Las que no iban a salir”
Bad Bunny “YHLQMDLG”
J Balvin “Colores”

Top Dance/Electronic Album
DJ Snake “Carte Blanche”
Gryffin “Gravity”
Kygo “Golden Hour”
Lady Gaga “Chromatica”
Kylie Minogue “Disco”

Top Christian Album
Bethel Music “Peace”
Elevation Worship “Grave Into Gardens”
Carrie Underwood “My Gift”
We The Kingdom “Holy Water”
Zach Williams “Rescue Story”

Top Gospel Album
Koryn Hawthorne “I AM”
Tasha Cobbs Leonard “Royalty: Live at the Ryman”
Maverick City Music “Maverick City Vol. 3 Part 1”
Maverick City Music “Maverick City Vol. 3 Part 2”
Kierra Sheard “Kierra”

SONG AWARDS

Top Hot 100 Song Presented by Rockstar
24kGoldn ft. iann dior “Mood”
Gabby Barrett ft. Charlie Puth “I Hope”
Chris Brown & Young Thug “Go Crazy”
DaBaby ft. Roddy Ricch “ROCKSTAR”
The Weeknd “Blinding Lights”

Top Streaming Song
Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion “WAP”
DaBaby ft. Roddy Ricch “ROCKSTAR”
Future ft. Drake “Life Is Good”
Jack Harlow ft. DaBaby, Tory Lanez, & Lil Wayne “WHATS POPPIN”
The Weeknd “Blinding Lights”

Top Selling Song
Gabby Barrett ft. Charlie Puth “I Hope”
BTS “Dynamite”
Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion “WAP”
Megan Thee Stallion “Savage”
The Weeknd “Blinding Lights”

Top Radio Song
Gabby Barrett ft. Charlie Puth “I Hope”
Chris Brown & Young Thug “Go Crazy”
Dua Lipa “Don’t Start Now”
Harry Styles “Adore You”
The Weeknd “Blinding Lights”

Top Collaboration (Fan Voted)
24kGoldn ft. iann dior “Mood”
Gabby Barrett ft. Charlie Puth “I Hope”
Chris Brown & Young Thug “Go Crazy”
DaBaby ft. Roddy Ricch “ROCKSTAR”
Jack Harlow ft. DaBaby, Tory Lanez, & Lil Wayne “WHATS POPPIN”

Top R&B Song
Jhené Aiko ft. H.E.R. “B.S.”
Justin Bieber ft. Quavo “Intentions”
Chris Brown & Young Thug “Go Crazy”
Doja Cat “Say So”
The Weeknd “Blinding Lights”

Top Rap Song
24kGoldn ft. iann dior “Mood”
Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion “WAP”
DaBaby ft. Roddy Ricch “ROCKSTAR”
Jack Harlow ft. DaBaby, Tory Lanez, & Lil Wayne “WHATS POPPIN”
Megan Thee Stallion “Savage”

Top Country Song
Jason Aldean “Got What I Got”
Gabby Barrett “I Hope”
Lee Brice “One of Them Girls”
*Morgan Wallen “Chasin’ You”
*Morgan Wallen “More Than My Hometown”

Top Rock Song
AJR “Bang!”
All Time Low ft. blackbear “Monsters”
Glass Animals “Heat Waves”
Machine Gun Kelly ft. blackbear “my ex’s best friend”
twenty one pilots “Level of Concern”

Top Latin Song
Bad Bunny “Yo Perreo Sola”
Bad Bunny & Jhay Cortez “Dákiti”
Black Eyed Peas & J Balvin “RITMO (Bad Boys For Life)”
Maluma & The Weeknd “Hawái”
Ozuna x Karol G x Myke Towers “Caramelo”

Top Dance/Electronic Song
Lady Gaga “Stupid Love”
Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande “Rain on Me”
SAINt JHN “Roses (Imanbek Remix)”
Surf Mesa ft. Emilee “ily (i love you baby)”
Topic & A7S “Breaking Me”

Top Christian Song
Elevation Worship ft. Brandon Lake “Graves Into Gardens”
for KING & COUNTRY, Kirk Franklin & Tori Kelly “TOGETHER”
Kari Jobe, Cody Carnes, & Elevation Worship “The Blessing (Live)”
Tauren Wells ft. Jenn Johnson “Famous For (I Believe)”
Zach Williams & Dolly Parton “There Was Jesus”

Top Gospel Song
Koryn Hawthorne “Speak To Me”
Jonathan McReynolds & Mali Music “Movin’ On”
Marvin Sapp “Thank You For It All”
Tye Tribbett “We Gon’ Be Alright”
Kanye West ft. Travis Scott “Wash Us In The Blood”

FINALISTS IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER (BY FIRST NAME):

24kGoldn (3): Top Hot 100 Song Presented by Rockstar; Top Collaboration (Fan Voted); Top Rap Song
A7S (1): Top Dance/Electronic Song
AC/DC (3): Top Duo/Group; Top Rock Artist; Top Rock Album
AJR (3): Top Duo/Group; Top Rock Artist; Top Rock Song
All Time Low (1): Top Rock Song
Anuel AA (2): Top Latin Artist; Top Latin Album
Ariana Grande (3): Top Female Artist; Top Social Artist (Fan Voted); Top Dance/Electronic Song
Bad Bunny (7): Top Latin Artist; Top Latin Male Artist; Top Latin Album (x3); Top Latin Song (x2)
Banda MS de Sergio Lizárraga (1): Top Latin Duo/Group
Becky G (1): Top Latin Female Artist
Bethel Music (1): Top Christian Album
Billie Eilish (1): Top Female Artist
Black Eyed Peas (1): Top Latin Song
blackbear (2): Top Rock Song (x2)
BLACKPINK (1): Top Social Artist (Fan Voted)
Brandon Lake (1): Top Christian Song
Bruce Springsteen (1): Top Rock Album
BTS (4): Top Duo/Group; Top Song Sales Artist; Top Social Artist (Fan Voted); Top Selling Song
Cardi B (4): Top Rap Female Artist; Top Streaming Song; Top Selling Song; Top Rap Song
Carrie Underwood (4): Top Country Female Artist; Top Country Album; Top Christian Album; Top Christian Artist
Casting Crowns (1): Top Christian Artist
Charlie Puth (4): Top Hot 100 Song Presented by Rockstar; Top Selling Song; Top Radio Song; Top Collaboration (Fan Voted)
Chris Brown (7): Top R&B Artist; Top R&B Male Artist; Top R&B Album; Top Hot 100 Song Presented by Rockstar; Top Radio Song; Top Collaboration (Fan Voted); Top R&B Song
Chris Stapleton (3): Top Country Artist; Top Country Male Artist; Top Country Album
Cody Carnes (1): Top Christian Song
DaBaby (11): Top Hot 100 Artist; Top Streaming Songs Artist; Top Rap Artist; Top Rap Album; Top Hot 100 Song Presented by Rockstar; Top Streaming Song (x2); Top Collaboration (Fan Voted) (x2); Top Rap Song; Top R&B Song
Dan + Shay (2): Top Duo/Group; Top Country Duo/Group
DJ Snake (1): Top Dance/Electronic Album        
Doja Cat (5): Top New Artist; Top R&B Artist; Top R&B Female Artist; Top R&B Album; Top R&B Song
Dolly Parton (1): Top Christian Song
Drake (7): Top Radio Song; Top Male Artist; Top Billboard 200 Artist; Top Hot 100 Artist; Top Streaming Songs Artist; Top Rap Artist; Top Streaming Song
Dua Lipa (4): Top Female Artist; Top Hot 100 Artist; Top Radio Songs Artist; Top Radio Song
Elevation Worship (4): Top Christian Artist; Top Christian Album; Top Christian Song (x2)
Emilee (1): Top Dance/Electronic Song
Eslabón Armado (1): Top Latin Duo/Group
Five Finger Death Punch (1): Top Rock Artist
Florida Georgia Line (1): Top Country Duo/Group
for KING & COUNTRY (2): Top Christian Artist; Top Christian Song
Future (1): Top Streaming Song
Gabby Barrett (9): Top New Artist; Top Country Artist; Top Country Female Artist; Top Country Album; Top Hot 100 Song Presented by Rockstar; Top Selling Song; Top Radio Song; Top Collaboration (Fan Voted); Top Country Song
Glass Animals (2): Top Rock Album; Top Rock Song
Gryffin (1): Top Dance/Electronic Album
H.E.R. (1): Top R&B Song
Harry Styles (2): Top Radio Songs Artist; Top Radio Song
iann dior (3): Top Hot 100 Song Presented by Rockstar; Top Collaboration (Fan Voted); Top Rap Song
J Balvin (4): Top Latin Artist; Top Latin Male Artist; Top Latin Album; Top Latin Song
Jack Harlow (4): Top New Artist; Top Streaming Song; Top Collaboration (Fan Voted); Top Rap Song
Jason Aldean (1): Top Country Song
Jenn Johnson (1): Top Christian Song
Jhay Cortez (1): Top Latin Song
Jhené Aiko (4): Top R&B Artist; Top R&B Female Artist; Top R&B Album; Top R&B Song
Jonathan McReynolds (1): Top Gospel Song
Juice WRLD (7): Top Artist; Top Male Artist; Top Billboard 200 Artist; Top Rap Artist; Top Rap Male Artist; Top Billboard 200 Album; Top Rap Album
Justin Bieber (5): Top Song Sales Artist; Top Radio Songs Artist; Top R&B Artist; Top R&B Male Artist; Top R&B Song
Kane Brown (1): Top Country Artist
Kanye West (2): Top Gospel Artist; Top Gospel Song
Kari Jobe (1): Top Christian Song
Karol G (2): Top Latin Female Artist; Top Latin Song
Kehlani (1): Top R&B Album
Kierra Sheard (1): Top Gospel Album
Kirk Franklin (1): Top Gospel Artist
Koryn Hawthorne (3): Top Gospel Artist; Top Gospel Album; Top Gospel Song
Kygo (2): Top Dance/Electronic Artist; Top Dance/Electronic Album
Kylie Minogue (1): Top Dance/Electronic Album
Lady Gaga (4): Top Dance/Electronic Artist; Top Dance/Electronic Album; Top Dance/Electronic Song (x2)
Lee Brice (1): Top Country Song
Lewis Capaldi (1): Top Radio Songs Artist
Lil Baby (6): Top Male Artist; Top Streaming Songs Artist; Top Rap Artist; Top Rap Male Artist; Top Billboard 200 Album; Top Rap Album
Lil Uzi Vert (1): Top Rap Album
Lil Wayne (3): Top Streaming Song; Top Collaboration (Fan Voted); Top Rap Song
Los Dos Carnales (1): Top Latin Duo/Group
Luke Combs (2): Top Country Artist; Top Country Male Artist
Machine Gun Kelly (3): Top Rock Artist; Top Rock Album; Top Rock Song
Maddie & Tae (1): Top Country Duo/Group
Mali Music (1): Top Gospel Song
Maluma (2): Top Latin Artist; Top Latin Song
Maren Morris (1): Top Country Female Artist
Maroon 5 (1): Top Duo/Group
Marshmello (1): Top Dance/Electronic Artist
Marvin Sapp (1): Top Gospel Song
Maverick City Music (3): Top Gospel Artist; Top Gospel Album (x2)
Megan Thee Stallion (7): Top Female Artist; Top Song Sales Artist; Top Rap Female Artist; Top Streaming Song; Top Selling Song; Top Rap Song (x2)
Miley Cyrus (1): Top Rock Album
*Morgan Wallen (6): Top Song Sales Artist; Top Country Artist; Top Country Male Artist; Top Country Album; Top Country Song (x2)
Myke Towers (1): Top Latin Song
Ozuna (3): Top Latin Artist; Top Latin Male Artist; Top Latin Song
Pop Smoke (10): Top Artist; Top New Artist; Top Male Artist; Top Billboard 200 Artist; Top Hot 100 Artist; Top Streaming Songs Artist; Top Rap Artist; Top Rap Male Artist; Top Billboard 200 Album; Top Rap Album
Post Malone (1): Top Billboard 200 Artist
Quavo (1): Top R&B Song
Rod Wave (1): Top New Artist
Roddy Ricch (4): Top Hot 100 Song Presented by Rockstar; Top Streaming Song; Top Collaboration (Fan Voted); Top Rap Song
Rosalía (1): Top Latin Female Artist
SAINt JHN (1): Top Dance/Electronic Song
Sam Hunt (1): Top Country Album
Saweetie (1): Top Rap Female Artist
SB19 (1): Top Social Artist (Fan Voted)
Seventeen (1): Top Social Artist (Fan Voted)
Surf Mesa (2): Top Dance/Electronic Artist; Top Dance/Electronic Song
SZA (1): Top R&B Female Artist
Tasha Cobbs Leonard (2): Top Gospel Artist; Top Gospel Album
Tauren Wells (1): Top Christian Song
Taylor Swift (4): Top Artist; Top Female Artist; Top Billboard 200 Artist; Top Billboard 200 Album
The Chainsmokers (1): Top Dance/Electronic Artist
The Weeknd (16): Top Artist; Top Male Artist; Top Hot 100 Artist; Top Streaming Songs Artist; Top Song Sales Artist; Top Radio Songs Artist; Top R&B Artist; Top R&B Male Artist; Top Billboard 200 Album; Top R&B Album; Top Hot 100 Song Presented by Rockstar; Top Streaming Song; Top Selling Song; Top Radio Song; Top R&B Song; Top Latin Song
Topic (1): Top Dance/Electronic Song
Tori Kelly (1): Top Christian Song
Tory Lanez (3): Top Streaming Song; Top Collaboration (Fan Voted); Top Rap Song
Travis Scott (1): Top Gospel Song
twenty one pilots (2): Top Rock Artist; Top Rock Song
Tye Tribbett (1): Top Gospel Song
We The Kingdom (1): Top Christian Album
Young Thug (4): Top Hot 100 Song Presented by Rockstar; Top Radio Song; Top Collaboration (Fan Voted); Top R&B Song
Zach Williams (3): Top Christian Artist; Top Christian Album; Top Christian Song

FINALISTS BY NUMERICAL ORDER:

The Weeknd (16): Top Artist; Top Male Artist; Top Hot 100 Artist; Top Streaming Songs Artist; Top Song Sales Artist; Top Radio Songs Artist; Top R&B Artist; Top R&B Male Artist; Top Billboard 200 Album; Top R&B Album; Top Hot 100 Song Presented by Rockstar; Top Streaming Song; Top Selling Song; Top Radio Song; Top R&B Song; Top Latin Song
DaBaby (11): Top Hot 100 Artist; Top Streaming Songs Artist; Top Rap Artist; Top Rap Album; Top Hot 100 Song Presented by Rockstar; Top Streaming Song (x2); Top Collaboration (Fan Voted) (x2); Top Rap Song; Top R&B Song
Pop Smoke (10): Top Artist; Top New Artist; Top Male Artist; Top Billboard 200 Artist; Top Hot 100 Artist; Top Streaming Songs Artist; Top Rap Artist; Top Rap Male Artist; Top Billboard 200 Album; Top Rap Album
Gabby Barrett (9): Top New Artist; Top Country Artist; Top Country Female Artist; Top Country Album; Top Hot 100 Song Presented by Rockstar; Top Selling Song; Top Radio Song; Top Collaboration (Fan Voted); Top Country Song
Bad Bunny (7): Top Latin Artist; Top Latin Male Artist; Top Latin Album (x3); Top Latin Song (x2)
Chris Brown (7): Top R&B Artist; Top R&B Male Artist; Top R&B Album; Top Hot 100 Song Presented by Rockstar; Top Radio Song; Top Collaboration (Fan Voted); Top R&B Song
Drake (7): Top Radio Song; Top Male Artist; Top Billboard 200 Artist; Top Hot 100 Artist; Top Streaming Songs Artist; Top Rap Artist; Top Streaming Song
Juice WRLD (7): Top Artist; Top Male Artist; Top Billboard 200 Artist; Top Rap Artist; Top Rap Male Artist; Top Billboard 200 Album; Top Rap Album
Megan Thee Stallion (7): Top Female Artist; Top Song Sales Artist; Top Rap Female Artist; Top Streaming Song; Top Selling Song; Top Rap Song (x2)
Lil Baby (6): Top Male Artist; Top Streaming Songs Artist; Top Rap Artist; Top Rap Male Artist; Top Billboard 200 Album; Top Rap Album
*Morgan Wallen (6): Top Song Sales Artist; Top Country Artist; Top Country Male Artist; Top Country Album; Top Country Song (x2)
Doja Cat (5): Top New Artist; Top R&B Artist; Top R&B Female Artist; Top R&B Album; Top R&B Song
Justin Bieber (5): Top Song Sales Artist; Top Radio Songs Artist; Top R&B Artist; Top R&B Male Artist; Top R&B Song
BTS (4): Top Duo/Group; Top Song Sales Artist; Top Social Artist (Fan Voted); Top Selling Song
Cardi B (4): Top Rap Female Artist; Top Streaming Song; Top Selling Song; Top Rap Song
Carrie Underwood (4): Top Country Female Artist; Top Country Album; Top Christian Album; Top Christian Artist
Charlie Puth (4): Top Hot 100 Song Presented by Rockstar; Top Selling Song; Top Radio Song; Top Collaboration (Fan Voted)
Dua Lipa (4): Top Female Artist; Top Hot 100 Artist; Top Radio Songs Artist; Top Radio Song
Elevation Worship (4): Top Christian Artist; Top Christian Album; Top Christian Song (x2)
J Balvin (4): Top Latin Artist; Top Latin Male Artist; Top Latin Album; Top Latin Song
Jack Harlow (4): Top New Artist; Top Streaming Song; Top Collaboration (Fan Voted); Top Rap Song
Jhené Aiko (4): Top R&B Artist; Top R&B Female Artist; Top R&B Album; Top R&B Song
Lady Gaga (4): Top Dance/Electronic Artist; Top Dance/Electronic Album; Top Dance/Electronic Song (x2)
Roddy Ricch (4): Top Hot 100 Song Presented by Rockstar; Top Streaming Song; Top Collaboration (Fan Voted); Top Rap Song
Taylor Swift (4): Top Artist; Top Female Artist; Top Billboard 200 Artist; Top Billboard 200 Album
Young Thug (4): Top Hot 100 Song Presented by Rockstar; Top Radio Song; Top Collaboration (Fan Voted); Top R&B Song
24kGoldn (3): Top Hot 100 Song Presented by Rockstar; Top Collaboration (Fan Voted); Top Rap Song
AC/DC (3): Top Duo/Group; Top Rock Artist; Top Rock Album
AJR (3): Top Duo/Group; Top Rock Artist; Top Rock Song
Ariana Grande (3): Top Female Artist; Top Social Artist (Fan Voted); Top Dance/Electronic Song
Chris Stapleton (3): Top Country Artist; Top Country Male Artist; Top Country Album
iann dior (3): Top Hot 100 Song Presented by Rockstar; Top Collaboration (Fan Voted); Top Rap Song
Koryn Hawthorne (3): Top Gospel Artist; Top Gospel Album; Top Gospel Song
Lil Wayne (3): Top Streaming Song; Top Collaboration (Fan Voted); Top Rap Song
Machine Gun Kelly (3): Top Rock Artist; Top Rock Album; Top Rock Song
Maverick City Music (3): Top Gospel Artist; Top Gospel Album (x2)
Ozuna (3): Top Latin Artist; Top Latin Male Artist; Top Latin Song
Tory Lanez (3): Top Streaming Song; Top Collaboration (Fan Voted); Top Rap Song
Zach Williams (3): Top Christian Artist; Top Christian Album; Top Christian Song
Anuel AA (2): Top Latin Artist; Top Latin Album
blackbear (2): Top Rock Song (x2)
Dan + Shay (2): Top Duo/Group; Top Country Duo/Group
for KING & COUNTRY (2): Top Christian Artist; Top Christian Song
Glass Animals (2): Top Rock Album; Top Rock Song
Harry Styles (2): Top Radio Songs Artist; Top Radio Song
Kanye West (2): Top Gospel Artist; Top Gospel Song
Karol G (2): Top Latin Female Artist; Top Latin Song
Kygo (2): Top Dance/Electronic Artist; Top Dance/Electronic Album
Luke Combs (2): Top Country Artist; Top Country Male Artist
Maluma (2): Top Latin Artist; Top Latin Song
Surf Mesa (2): Top Dance/Electronic Artist; Top Dance/Electronic Song
Tasha Cobbs Leonard (2): Top Gospel Artist; Top Gospel Album
twenty one pilots (2): Top Rock Artist; Top Rock Song
A7S (1): Top Dance/Electronic Song
All Time Low (1): Top Rock Song
Banda MS de Sergio Lizárraga (1): Top Latin Duo/Group
Becky G (1): Top Latin Female Artist
Bethel Music (1): Top Christian Album
Billie Eilish (1): Top Female Artist
Black Eyed Peas (1): Top Latin Song
BLACKPINK (1): Top Social Artist (Fan Voted)
Brandon Lake (1): Top Christian Song
Bruce Springsteen (1): Top Rock Album
Casting Crowns (1): Top Christian Artist
Cody Carnes (1): Top Christian Song
DJ Snake (1): Top Dance/Electronic Album        
Dolly Parton (1): Top Christian Song
Emilee (1): Top Dance/Electronic Song
Eslabón Armado (1): Top Latin Duo/Group
Five Finger Death Punch (1): Top Rock Artist
Florida Georgia Line (1): Top Country Duo/Group
Future (1): Top Streaming Song
Gryffin (1): Top Dance/Electronic Album
H.E.R. (1): Top R&B Song
Jason Aldean (1): Top Country Song
Jenn Johnson (1): Top Christian Song
Jhay Cortez (1): Top Latin Song
Jonathan McReynolds (1): Top Gospel Song
Kane Brown (1): Top Country Artist
Kari Jobe (1): Top Christian Song
Kehlani (1): Top R&B Album
Kierra Sheard (1): Top Gospel Album
Kirk Franklin (1): Top Gospel Artist
Kylie Minogue (1): Top Dance/Electronic Album
Lee Brice (1): Top Country Song
Lewis Capaldi (1): Top Radio Songs Artist
Lil Uzi Vert (1): Top Rap Album
Los Dos Carnales (1): Top Latin Duo/Group
Maddie & Tae (1): Top Country Duo/Group
Mali Music (1): Top Gospel Song
Maren Morris (1): Top Country Female Artist
Maroon 5 (1): Top Duo/Group
Marshmello (1): Top Dance/Electronic Artist
Marvin Sapp (1): Top Gospel Song
Miley Cyrus (1): Top Rock Album
Myke Towers (1): Top Latin Song
Post Malone (1): Top Billboard 200 Artist
Quavo (1): Top R&B Song
Rod Wave (1): Top New Artist
Rosalía (1): Top Latin Female Artist
SAINt JHN (1): Top Dance/Electronic Song
Sam Hunt (1): Top Country Album
Saweetie (1): Top Rap Female Artist
SB19 (1): Top Social Artist (Fan Voted)
Seventeen (1): Top Social Artist (Fan Voted)
SZA (1): Top R&B Female Artist
Tauren Wells (1): Top Christian Song
The Chainsmokers (1): Top Dance/Electronic Artist
Topic (1): Top Dance/Electronic Song
Tori Kelly (1): Top Christian Song
Travis Scott (1): Top Gospel Song
Tye Tribbett (1): Top Gospel Song
We The Kingdom (1): Top Christian Album                                


*Statement on behalf of dick clark productions

Unique among awards shows, Billboard Music Awards (BBMA) finalists are determined by performance on the Billboard Charts, and are not chosen by a voting committee or membership organization. BBMA finalists and winners are based on key fan interactions with music (including album and digital song sales, streaming, radio airplay, social engagement), tracked by Billboard and its data partners, including MRC Data. 

With our content reaching millions of viewers, dcp and MRC have the privilege and responsibility to effect change by creating a more inclusive dialogue in our productions and across the industry. 

Morgan Wallen is a finalist this year based on charting. As his recent conduct does not align with our core values, we will not be including him on the show in any capacity (performing, presenting, accepting).

It is heartening and encouraging to hear that Morgan is taking steps in his anti-racist journey and starting to do some meaningful work. We plan to evaluate his progress and will consider his participation in future shows.

Billboard.com – Morgan Wallen Is a Billboard Music Awards Finalist But Won’t Be Included on the Show
###



2021 BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS FINALIST STATISTICS

 • 2021 FINALIST FAST FACTS
• ALL-TIME RECORD HOLDERS BY CATEGORY
• TOP BBMA WINNERS OF ALL TIME (1990–2020)


2021 FINALIST FAST FACTS“THE WEEKND LEADS AS FINALIST IN 16 CATEGORIES, THE MOST OF ANY ARTIST THIS YEAR”

  • In addition to receiving the most nods (16), singer/songwriter The Weeknd is also a finalist in more categories than any other artist this year, including Top Artist, Top Male Artist and Top Hot 100 Artist.

“AS A FINALIST IN SEVEN CATEGORIES THIS YEAR, DRAKE COULD BREAK HIS OWN RECORD FOR MOST WINS OF ALL TIME (27)”

  • After achieving 12 wins in 2019, including the coveted Top Artist category, rap superstar Drake could break his own record for most wins of all time, keeping his title and staying ahead of Taylor Swift (23), Justin Bieber (21) and Garth Brooks (20).

“TAYLOR SWIFT COULD TIE WITH DRAKE FOR MOST WINS OF ALL TIME (27) SHOULD SHE WIN IN ALL HER CATEGORIES”

  • Taylor Swift is a finalist in 4 categories this year, including Top Artist, Top Female Artist and Top Billboard 200 Artist. If she takes home awards in all of her categories, she would tie with Drake in the #1 spot for most wins of all time.

“IF THE WEEKND OR JUSTIN BIEBER SWEEP IN ALL OF THEIR CATEGORIES, THEY COULD SURPASS TAYLOR SWIFT AND TAKE THE #2 SPOT FOR MOST WINS OF ALL TIME”

  • The Weeknd, 2019 BBMA winner for Top R&B Artist, could beat Taylor Swift’s record and take the #2 spot for most wins of all time if he takes home the trophies in all his categories this year. Drake still holds the record for most wins of all time (27).

“FOR THE FIRST TIME IN A DECADE, TWO OF THE TOP 10 FINALISTS RECEIVED POSTHUMOUS HONORS – POP SMOKE (10) AND JUICE WRLD (7)”

  • Rappers Pop Smoke and Juice WRLD, who both passed away in 2020, received multiple honors this year. Pop Smoke is a finalist in 10 categories, including Top Billboard 200 Album for his posthumously released debut album “Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon,” while Juice WRLD is a finalist in 7 categories, including Top Rap Album for “Legends Never Die.”

“THE WEEKND COULD BREAK DRAKE’S RECORD FOR MOST WINS IN A SINGLE NIGHT”

  • The Weeknd leads the list this year as a finalist in 16 categories. He has the chance to surpass or tie Drake’s 2017 record (13) for the artist with the most wins in a single night.

“GABBY BARRETT IS A FIRST-TIME FINALIST AND THE FEMALE ARTIST WITH THE MOST NODS THIS YEAR (9)”

  • The “I Hope” singer is a first-time BBMA finalist and contender in 9 categories, including Top New Artist, becoming the female artist with the most nods this year.

“DABABY, MEGAN THEE STALLION, LIL BABY, DOJA CAT and DUA LIPA COULD ALL WIN THEIR FIRST-EVER BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARD”

  • DaBaby is the second-top finalist this year (11), including nods in the Top Hot 100 Artist, Top Rap Artist and Top Rap Album categories. He is also a multi-finalist in the Top Streaming Song category for “ROCKSTAR” and “WHATS POPPIN.”
  • Megan Thee Stallion is the female artist with the second-most nods this year (7), including Top Female Artist and Top Rap Female Artist. She could receive her first ever BBMA at this year’s show.
  • Lil Baby is a contender in 6 categories this year, including Top Male Artist, Top Rap Artist and Top Rap Album.
  • Doja Cat – The “Say So” singer is a finalist in 5 categories this year including Top New Artist, and could finally take home her first BBMA trophy. 
  • Dua Lipa could ‘levitate’ her way to her first-ever BBMA trophy this year should she win in any of the 4 categories she’s competing in: Top Female Artist; Top Hot 100 Artist; Top Radio Songs Artist; Top Radio Song.

“BAD BUNNY IS THE FIRST LATIN ARTIST TO BECOME A FINALIST THREE TIMES IN THE SAME CATEGORY”

  • Puerto Rican superstar Bad Bunny is a finalist in seven categories this year. He received three honors in the same category (Top Latin Album) for “El Último Tour Del Mundo,” “Las que no iban a salir” and “YHLQMDLG.”

“BTS COULD WIN THEIR 5TH CONSECUTIVE AWARD IN THE TOP SOCIAL ARTIST CATEGORY”

  • BTS previously won in this category in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. The K-Pop group could achieve their 5th win should they take home the award this year. Justin Bieber currently holds the record for most wins in this category (2011-2016).

ALL-TIME RECORD HOLDERS BY CATEGORY:

TOP ARTIST
50 CentAdele, Drake, Garth BrooksDestiny’s ChildTaylor Swift and Usher are tied for the most wins in this category with 2 wins. Both Drake and Taylor Swift are finalists in this category again this year, giving them both the chance to have the most wins in this category should either of them take home the trophy.

TOP MALE ARTIST
Justin Bieber and Drake are tied for most wins (2) in this category after Drake took home his second trophy in 2019. He is a finalist again this year, giving him the chance to surpass Bieber.

TOP FEMALE ARTIST
Taylor Swift leads with 3 wins in this category. Taylor is up for the award again this year and will become the most decorated Top Female Artist with 4 wins in this category should she take home the trophy. Ariana Grande took home her first Top Female Artist trophy in 2019 and is a finalist again this year, along with Billie Eilish, who took home the trophy in 2020. If either of them win, they would tie with Adele with 2 awards in this category.

TOP DUO OR GROUP
One Direction holds the record for most wins in this category (3), followed by Imagine Dragons (2). BTS won this category for the first time in 2019 and they are finalists again this year. They would tie with Imagine Dragons with 2 wins for Top Duo or Group should they win. Dan + Shay, Maroon 5, AC/DC and AJR are also finalists this year and could be first-time winners in this category should any take home the trophy. 

TOP R&B ARTIST
R. Kelly has the most wins (4) for Top R&B Artist. He won the category in 1994, 1996, 1999 and 2001. Usher follows with 3 wins in 1998, 2004 and most recently in 2011. This year, Jhené Aiko, Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, Doja Cat and The Weeknd are finalists in this category.

TOP RAP ARTIST
Drake took home this award in 2016, 2017, and leads for most wins in this category with 3, after his 2019 win. Eminem and protégé 50 Cent are tied in this category with 2 wins each. Eminem won Top Rap Artist in 2011 and 2014, while 50 Cent won the award twice, years before his mentor, in 2003 and 2005. This year, Drake is up for the award again and could take home his 4th trophy in this category should he win. It could be the first win in this category for finalists DaBaby, Juice WRLD, Lil Baby and Pop Smoke.

TOP COUNTRY ARTIST
Garth Brooks has won this award three times in 1991, 1993 and 1998. Luke Combs became a first time Top Country Artist winner after taking home the trophy in 2019, and then again in 2020. He is a finalist again this year, giving him the chance to tie with Brooks for most wins in this category.

TOP ROCK ARTIST
twenty one pilots and Imagine Dragons were tied for the most wins with 2 each, but the latter became the record holder for most wins in this category after their 2019 win. This year, twenty one pilots have the chance to tie again should they win. AC/DC, AJR, Five Finger Death Punch and Machine Gun Kelly are also up for the award this year.

TOP LATIN ARTIST
Ozuna and Romeo Santos are currently tied with 2 wins each. Romeo Santos previously won Top Latin Artist back-to-back in 2015 and 2016. Ozuna took home the award for Top Latin Artist in 2018 and again in 2019. He is a finalist again this year, after having lost to Bad Bunny in 2020, and could claim the record for most wins in this category should he win.

TOP CHRISTIAN ARTIST
LaurenDaigle is currently the Top Christian Artist with the most wins of all time with 3 in this category after taking home the trophy in 2020. Up for the award this year are Casting Crowns, Elevation Worship, for KING & COUNTRY, Carrie Underwood and Zach Williams.

TOP GOSPEL ARTIST
Kirk Franklin and Tasha Cobbs Leonard are tied with 2 wins each in this category. Franklin won in 2016 and 2017, while Cobbs Leonard won in 2018 and 2019. Kanye West became a first time winner in this category in 2020. Franklin, Cobbs Leonard and West are all finalists again this year, giving West the chance to tie for most wins of all time. They are up against Koryn Hawthorne and Maverick City Music.

TOP DANCE/ELECTRONIC ARTIST
The Chainsmokers held on to their record for most wins in this category. The duo took home their fourth award and broke their own record after their 2020 win. They are finalists again this year and could win a fifth trophy. Other finalists in this category are Kygo, Lady Gaga, Marshmello and Surf Mesa.


TOP BBMA WINNERS OF ALL TIME (1990–2020):

1. Drake – 27 wins total; Top Rap Artist (2016); Top Artist (2017); Top Billboard 200 Artist (2017); Top Billboard 200 Album (2017); Top Rap Artist (2017); Top Male Artist (2017); Top Rap Album (2017); Top Hot 100 Artist (2017); Top Song Sales Artist (2017); Top Streaming Songs Artist (2017); Top Rap Tour (2017); Top Streaming Song [Audio] (2017); Top R&B Song (2017), Top R&B Collaboration (2017); Top Billboard 200 Artist (2018), Top Artist (2019), Top Male Artist (2019), Top Billboard 200 Artist (2019), Top Hot 100 Artist (2019), Top Streaming Songs Artist (2019), Top Song Sales Artist (2019), Top Radio Songs Artist (2019), Top Rap Artist (2019), Top Rap Male Artist (2019), Top Billboard 200 Album (2019), Top Rap Album (2019), Top Streaming Song (Video) (2019)

2. Taylor Swift – 23 wins total; Top Billboard 200 Artist (2011); Top Country Artist (2011); Top Country Album (2011); Woman of the Year (2012); Top Artist (2013); Top Female Artist (2013); Top Billboard 200 Artist (2013); Top Digital Songs Artist (2013); Top Country Artist (2013); Top Billboard 200 Album (2013); Top Country Album (2013); Top Country Song (2013); Top Artist (2015); Top Female Artist (2015); Top Billboard 200 Artist (2015); Top Hot 100 Artist (2015); Top Digital Songs Artist (2015); Top Billboard 200 Album (2015); Top Streaming Song [Video] (2015); Billboard Chart Achievement Award (2015); Top Touring Artist (2016); Top Female Artist (2018); Top Selling Album (2018)

3. Justin Bieber – 21 wins total; Top New Artist (2011); Top Social Artist (2011); Top Streaming Artist (2011); Top Digital Artist (2011); Top Pop Album (2011); Top Streaming Song, [Video] (2011); Billboard.com Fan Favorite Award (2011); Top Social Artist (2012); Milestone Award (2013); Top Male Artist (2013); Top Social Artist (2013); Top Social Artist (2014); Top Social Artist (2015); Top Male Artist (2016); Top Social Media Artist (2016); Top Hot 100 Song (2018); Top Streaming Song [Video] (2018); Top Selling Song (2018); Top Collaboration (2018); Top Latin Song (2018); Top Country Song (2020)

4. Garth Brooks – 20 wins total; #1 Albums Artist (1991); #1 Country Album (1991); #1 Country Singles Artists (1991); #1 Country Artist (1991); #1 Country Albums Artist (1991); # 1 Pop Artist (1992); #1 Country Artist (1993); #1 Pop Artist (1993); #1 Country Singles Artist (1993); #1 Country Albums Artist (1993); Country Album of the Year (1995); Artist Achievement Award (1997); Country Artist of the Year (1998); Country Album of the Year (1998); Male Album of the Year (1998); Male Albums Artist of the Year (1998); Country Singles Artist of the Year (1998); Country Albums Artist of the Year (1998); Male Artist of the Decade (1999); ICON Award (2020)

5. Adele – 18 wins total; Top Billboard 200 Album (2012); Top Pop Album (2012); Top Artist (2012); Top Female Artist (2012); Top Billboard 200 Artist (2012); Top Hot 100 Artist (2012); Top Digital Songs Artist (2012); Top Radio Songs Artist (2012); Top Digital Media Artist (2012); Top Pop Artist (2012); Top Streaming Song [Audio] (2012); Top Alternative Song (2012); Top Pop Album (2013); Top Artist (2016); Top Female Artist (2016); Top Billboard 200 Artist (2016); Top Billboard 200 Album (2016); Top Selling Song (2016)

Usher – 18 wins total; Artist of the Year (1998); R&B Artist of the Year (1998); Hot 100 Singles Artist of the Year (1998); Artist of the Year (2004); R&B/Hip-Hop Artist of the Year (2004); Hot 100 Artist of the Year (2004); Hot 100 Single of the Year (2004); Mainstream Top 40 Artist of the Year (2004); Mainstream Top 40 Single of the Year (2004); Billboard 200 Album of the Year (2004); R&B/Hip-Hop Album of the Year (2004); R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Artist of the Year (2004); Billboard 200 Artist of the Year (2004); Hot 100 Airplay Single of the Year (2004); Rap Song of the Year (2005); Top R&B Artist (2011); Top R&B Song (2011); Top R&B Album (2011)

6. Whitney Houston – 16 wins total; #1 R&B Singles Artist (1991); #1 R&B Albums Artist (1991); #1 R&B Artist (1991); #1 R&B Album (1991); #1 Hot 100 Singles Artist (1993); #1 Hot 100 Single (1993); Single With Most Weeks at #1 (1993); #1 R&B Single (1993); #1 R&B Singles Artist (1993); #1 R&B Album (1993); #1 World Artist (1993); #1 World Single (1993); #1 Album (1993); #1 Soundtrack Album (1993); #1 Album With Most Weeks at No. 1 (1993); Billboard Millennium Award (2012)

7. Mariah Carey – 15 wins total; #1 Hot 100 Singles Artist (1991); #1 Album (1991); #1 Adult Contemporary Artist (1991); #1 Pop Artist (1991); #1 Female Artist (1994); Special Hot 100 Singles Award – Most Weeks at No. 1 on The Billboard Hot 100 (1996); Hot 100 Singles Artist of the Year (1996); Special Billboard Hot 100 Award for the most No.1s ever by a female artist (1998); Female Artist of the Decade (1999); Hot 100 Song of the Year (2005); Hot 100 Airplay of the Year (2005); Female R&B/Hip-Hop Artist of the Year (2005); Female Billboard 200 Album Artist of the Year (2005); Rhythmic Top 40 Title of the Year (2005), ICON Award (2019)

8. Beyoncé – 13 wins total; Hot 100 Female Artist of the Year (2003); New R&B Artist of the Year (2003); New Female Artist of the Year (2003); Special Hot 100 Award for Most Weeks at No. 1 (2003); Billboard Millennium Award (2011); Top R&B Album (2012); Top Female Artist (2017); Top Touring Artist (2017); Top R&B Artist (2017); Top R&B Tour (2017); Top R&B Album (2017), Top R&B Tour (2019), Top Rap Tour (2019)

9. R. Kelly – 12 wins total; #1 R&B Artist (1994); R&B Artist of the Year (1996); R&B Artist of the Year (1999); R&B/Hip-Hop Artist of the Year (2001); R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Artist of the Year (2001); R&B/Hip-Hop Album of the Year (2001); R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Artist of the Year (2001); R&B/Hip-Hop Single of the Year (2001); Hot 100 Producer of the Year (2003); R&B Producer of the Year (2003); Hot 100 Songwriter of the Year (2003); R&B Songwriter of the Year (2003)

Rihanna – 12 wins total; Female Artist of the Year (2006); Female Hot 100 Artist of the Year (2006); Pop 100 Artist of the Year (2006); Top Female Artist (2011); Top Radio Songs Artist (2011); Top Rap Song (2011); Top Streaming Artist (2012); Top Radio Songs Artist (2013); Top R&B Artist (2013); Top R&B Album (2013); Top R&B Song (2013); Billboard Chart Achievement Award (2016)

10. Janet Jackson – 11 wins total; #1 Hot 100 Singles Artist (1990); #1 R&B Artist (1990); #1 R&B Singles Artist (1990); #1 R&B Albums Artist (1990); #1 Dance Club Play Artist (1990); #1 Hot Dance 12-inch Singles Sales Artist (1990); #1 R&B Album (1990); #1 Pop Album (1990); Artist Achievement Award (1995); Artist Achievement Award (2001); ICON Award (2018)

Carrie Underwood – 11 wins total; Country Single Sales Artist of the Year (2005), Top-Selling Country Single of the Year (2005), Top-Selling Hot 100 Song of the Year (2005), Album of the Year (2006), Country Album of the Year (2006), Female Billboard 200 Albums Artist of the Year (2006), Female Country Artist of the Year (2006), New Country Artist of the Year (2006), Milestone Award (2014), Top Christian Song (2015), Top Country Female Artist (2019)

11. 50 Cent – 10 wins total; Artist of the Year (2003); R&B Artist of the Year (2003); Rap Artist of the Year (2003); Ringtone of the Year (2004); Album of the Year (2005); Artist of the Year (2005); Hot 100 Artist of the Year (2005); R&B/Hip-Hop Artist of the Year (2005), Rap Artist of the Year (2005); Ringtone of the Year (2005);

Destiny’s Child – 10 wins total; Artist of the Year (2000); Duo/Group of the Year (2000); Hot 100 Singles Artist of the Year (2000); Hot 100 Singles Duo or Group of the Year (2000); Artist of the Year (2001); Artist of the Year – Duo/Group (2001); Hot 100 Singles Artist of the Year (2001); Soundtrack Single of the Year (2001); Artist Achievement Award (2004); R&B/Hip-Hop Group of the Year (2005)

Eminem – 10 wins total; Album of the Year (2002); R&B/Hip-Hop Album of the Year (2002); Top Artist (2011); Top Billboard 200 Album (2011); Top Male Artist (2011); Top Rap Album (2011); Top Rap Artist (2011); Top Rap Song (2011); Top Rap Album (2014); Top Rap Artist (2014)

Mary J. Blige – 10 wins total; R&B Album of the Year (1995); Female R&B/Hip-Hop Artist of the Year (2006); Hot 100 Airplay Song of the Year (2006); R&B Albums Artist of the Year (2006); R&B/Hip-Hop Album of the Year (2006); R&B/Hip-Hop Artist of the Year (2006); R&B/Hip-Hop Song Airplay of the Year (2006); R&B/Hip-Hop Song of the Year (2006); R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Artist of the Year (2006); Videoclip of the Year (2006)

May 4, 2021 UPDATE: P!nk will receive the distinguished ICON Award at the “2021 Billboard Music Awards” (BBMAs). The three-time BBMA winner, who joins only nine other artists to ever receive the honor, will also take the stage for a spectacular performance.

May 11, 2011 UPDATE: Drake will receive the prestigious Artist of the Decade Award at the “2021 Billboard Music Awards” (BBMAs). 

Review: ‘Long Live Rock…Celebrate the Chaos,’ starring Rob Zombie, Ice-T, Duff McKagan, Lars Ulrich, Tom Morello and Lzzy Hale

April 24, 2021

by Carla Hay

Fever 333 singer Jason Aalon Butler in “Long Live Rock…Celebrate the Chaos” (Photo by Jordan Wrenner/Abramorama)

“Long Live Rock…Celebrate the Chaos”

Directed by Jonathan McHugh

Culture Representation: The documentary “Long Live Rock…Celebrate the Chaos” features a predominantly white, mostly American group of people (with some African Americans and a few Asians and Latinos) who are musicians, fans and industry people discussing the impact of hard rock/heavy metal music in their lives and in other people’s lives.

Culture Clash: Hard rock/heavy metal often has a reputation for violence at concerts and in song lyrics, while musicians in the genre who aren’t white males face discrimination barriers. 

Culture Audience: “Long Live Rock…Celebrate the Chaos” will appeal primarily to people interested in watching a documentary that gives a broad but not-very-revealing overview of hard rock/heavy metal fandom in the United States.

Rock fans at a concert in “Long Live Rock…Celebrate the Chaos” (Photo by Jordan Wrenner/Abramorama)

There have been many documentaries that have tried to capture the essence of hard rock/heavy metal culture, but few have truly succeeded. “Long Live Rock…Celebrate the Chaos” is like a rambling ad campaign for hard rock/heavy metal’s die-hard fandom. The documentary doesn’t reveal anything new, the editing is horribly unfocused, and the movie often comes across as a long infomercial for rock concert festivals.

And there are parts of the documentary where the sound mixing is so amateurish, it’s embarrassing. For example, the sound levels are sometimes mismatched and uneven in the same interview. You know it’s bad when a music documentary can’t even get the sound right.

Directed by Jonathan McHugh, “Long Live Rock…Celebrate the Chaos” gives a lot of screen time to fans who are devoted to seeing their favorite artists in concert and meeting up with other fans at big rock festivals. There are entire segments of the movie about concert rituals such as crowd surfing, mosh pits and the wall of death. It’s mentioned that a wall of death can be security personnel’s biggest nightmare because it simulates a war battle with large numbers of people on one side charging into large groups of people on the other side.

But it begs the question: Why is a documentary that’s meant for hard rock/heavy metal fans spending so much time on basic things that they already know about these concerts? The segments on crowd surfing, mosh pits and the wall of death all look like they were filmed as instructional videos for people training to work in concert security, not for people who are in the audiences at these concerts. If you think it’s fascinating that some concert promoters hire college football players for audience security at rock concerts, then “Long Live Rock” is your kind of movie. The documentary has an entire segment on that too, with Urbana University head football coach Tyler Haines introducing his team members who do concert security, and showing how they interact with the crowds at concerts.

And there’s a lot of contradictory statements in the documentary. Although several people in the movie talk about friendly and welcoming communities at these concerts, they also acknowledge there’s disturbing violence at these shows. The general consensus is that people who choose to participate in a mosh pit and a wall of death should expect to get bloodied and some other type of physical injury. Crowd surfing can also be hazardous, especially for women, who are more at risk than men of being sexually groped and assaulted while crowd surfing.

But then in the documentary, concertgoers and artists pipe in with comments that even if people get physically hurt at these concerts, there are always other people who will help anyone who gets injured. Here’s an idea: How about just not hurting each other in the first place?

Although most people who go to hard rock/heavy metal concerts have a great time and don’t get physically injured, the movie has a bizarre and borderline irresponsible tone of glossing over the serious injuries that do occur. The violence is described as all in “good fun” and people just letting off steam when they go to these concerts. But maybe trying to justify and endorse this violence should be no surprise from a documentary whose subtitle is “Celebrate the Chaos.”

One of the best things about the documentary is the concert festival footage that effectively captures the positive aspects of the shows, such as the adrenaline and excitement of safely being in the audience of a big music festival. Some of the artists also talk about the rush that they get from being on stage, but it’s the type of commentary that artists have said countless times. This is not a movie about bands struggling in tiny clubs. The live concert experiences presented in the documentary are mostly about the spectacle of being at a festival that can attract at least 10,000 people per show.

As such, all of the artists interviewed in the documentary are those who are at the career level of performing at major festivals. The artists in the movie span a few generations, but most are artists who first hit it big in the 1980s, 1990s or early 2000s. They include Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich; Rob Zombie; Rage Against the Machine/Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello; Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell; Guns N’Roses bassist Duff McKagan, Body Count vocalist Ice-T; Zakk Wylde; Korn singer Jonathan Davis; Stone Temple Pilots members Robert DeLeo and Eric Kretz; Slipknot singer Corey Taylor; Avenged Sevenfold singer M. Shadows; Godsmack singer Sully Erna; Shinedown singer Brent Smith; Papa Roach singer Jacoby Shaddix; Myles Kennedy; Skillet spouses John Cooper and Korey Cooper; Live singer Ed Kowalczyk; Sevendust singer Lajon Witherspoon; Mastodon singer/drummer Brann Dailor; Steel Panther members Stix Zadinia and Michael Starr; and The Offspring members Dexter Holland and Noodles.

Younger musicians (those who released their first albums in the mid-to-late 2000s and 2010s) are also interviewed in the documentary. They include Machine Gun Kelly; Greta Van Fleet twins Josh Kiszka and Jake Kiszka; Halestorm members Lzzy Hale and Arejay Hale; Dorothy singer Dorothy Martin; Radkey; Beartooth singer Caleb Shomo; In This Moment singer Maria Brink; Fever 333 guitarist Stephen Harrison; The Pretty Reckless singer Taylor Momsen; Fire From the Gods singer AJ Channer; and Black Veil Brides singer Andy Biersack.

In addition, other people from the music industry weigh in with their comments. They include concert promoter Gary Spivack (one of the documentary’s producers), Spotify global head of rock Allison Hagendorf, record company executive Jason Flom, manager/producer Andy Gould, Halestorm manager Bill McGathy, artist manager Rick Sales, concert security staffer Seyth Boardman, artist manager/addiction counselor Jeff Jampol and MusiCares senior director Harold Owens. Media people who are interviewed include radio personalities Eddie Trunk, Matt Pinfield, Bob Lefsetz, Dr. Drew Pinsky and Jose Mangin.

Republican politician John Kasich, the former Ohio governor and congressman who was a candidate in the 2000 and 2016 U.S. presidential elections, is one of the people interviewed. However, his time on screen is reduced to one soundbite. He comments, “Whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat, a liberal, or a conservative, when the music catches you, we’re all one.”

The documentary has no explanation for what Kasich is doing in this movie. Is he really a hard rock/heavy metal fan? And if so, who are his favorite artists? How does he feel about laws that affect the music industry? The documentary never bothers to ask and answer these questions. It’s an example of how this movie has substandard filmmaking. “Long Live Rock” helmer McHugh makes his feature-film directorial debut with this movie. Maybe a more experienced feature-film director would have done a better job.

There’s even an interview with a psychotherapist named Kevin Stolper, whose specialty is in treating adolescents. Stolper explains how hard rock/heavy metal appeals to people who want to have a youthful, party mentality. Hard rock/heavy metal fans, who often describe themselves as misfits when they were in school, find the fandom appealing because it’s a community where they feel like they belong.

Metallica drummer Ulrich describes heavy metal fandom this way: “All the disenfranchised feel like they belong to something that’s much bigger than themselves.” In fact, many of the comments in “Long Live Rock” are about how hard rock/heavy metal fandom is about this strong sense of community. The words “tribe,” “tribalism,” “community” and “finding your people” come up a lot when people in the documentary describe the main reasons why they love the music and going to concerts.

And many of the interviewees mention that even though hard rock/heavy metal isn’t as popular as it was in the 1980s, there’s an adoring appreciation for the music that gets handed down through generations. The die-hard fans admirably don’t care if the music is trendy or not. “I don’t listen to reviews. Anyone who says rock is dead is ‘out’ for me,” Guns N’Roses bassist McKagan comments, as he flicks his hand in a “tossing out” motion.

The stereotypical image of a hard rock/heavy metal fan is of a white male stoner, but the fandom is a lot more diverse than people might think. SiriusXM host Trunk comments: “I never liked the clichés and stereotypes that came with this music. People think you can pick out who is or isn’t into this music by how they look. Doctors, lawyers, brain surgeons love this music. The music is way wider-reaching than people give it credit for.”

The documentary includes segments about gender and racial diversity in hard rock/heavy metal. The general consensus is that although a male majority still exists in hard rock/heavy metal, the numbers of females who are musicians and fans have increased over the years, compared to how it was in the 20th century. New Year’s Day lead singer Ash Costello comments on female participation in the hard rock/heavy metal scene: “Females have always been there. Now, it’s more of an equality than a separation.”

However, the documentary completely ignores any #MeToo stories in hard rock/heavy metal. It’s as if the filmmakers don’t want to acknowledge hard rock/heavy metal’s reputation for glorifying toxic masculinity. If you were to believe this documentary, sexual abuse and sexual harassment don’t exist in hard rock/heavy metal. The closest that someone comes to describing gender discrimination is when Halestorm lead singer Lzzy Hale mentions that sometimes she meets people while on tour who assume that she’s a band member’s girlfriend instead of a member of the band.

Black people and other people of color are still very much a minority in hard rock/heavy metal. And although no one denies that racism exists, black artists such as Ice-T believe that most hard rock/metal fans don’t care what color an artist is if that artist has talent. However, he adds that there are still misconceptions some people might have about his heavy metal band Body Count, because the band members are black.

Ice-T says in the documentary: “When we got in trouble for [Body Count’s 1992 song] ‘Cop Killer,’ they called it a rap record, That was a racist way of saying it because they didn’t want to call it rock. Maybe [‘Cop Killer’] was a protest record.”

Fever 333 guitarist Harrison mentions that it isn’t just the subset of white racists who have a problem with black people being hard rock/heavy metal fans. He says that some black people have a hard time understanding why any black person would be a fan of hard rock/heavy metal. But on the plus side, Harrison thinks that most music fans have this belief about hard rock/heavy metal: “It isn’t a white thing. It’s for everyone.”

That belief might be true for most music fans. But, for whatever reason, the filmmakers of “Long Live Rock” only chose to feature white American fans in the documentary’s interview segments on people who love to go to hard rock/heavy metal concerts. The main diversity that they have is in their jobs. The documentary gives no mention of the loyal hard rock/heavy metal fandom that exists outside of North America, particularly in Europe, Japan and South America, where certain hard rock/heavy metal artists can headline shows at arenas and stadiums.

The interviewed fans include medical billing manager Andrea Rickord, a married mother of two children who were about 7 to 9 years old when she was interviewed for this documentary. Rickord (who’s from Springfield, Ohio) describes what going to concerts means to her: “It’s definitely like therapy.” And when she goes to a big festival, she calls it her “mom trip” that she enjoys for herself, because her kids and husband don’t have the same passion for hard rock/heavy metal that she does.

Ex-con Josh Guikey, his nurse wife Jami Guikey, and corrections officer Scott Prince (who met and befriended former burglar Josh Guikey when Josh was sent to prison) also talk about the therapeutic benefits of hard rock/heavy metal. Dental technician Sarah J. Kazan and dentist Dr. Gytis R. Udrys, who are a couple and co-workers, say that part of their initial attraction to each other was their mutual love of the same music. Dr. Udrys says he also likes going to hard rock/heavy metal concerts because he can let loose and not have the straight-laced image that’s required for his dentist job.

Justin “G” Griffin (an architect) and his wife Tiffany Griffin (an elementary school teacher) discuss his passion for building an online community for hard rock/heavy metal fans, going all the way back to the days when MySpace was the top social media platform. Tiffany says that she knew that she and Justin would be a good match for each other when he said that he had to listen to Metallica’s 1991 self-titled album (also known as “The Black Album”) every night before he went to sleep. One of their first dates was a Shinedown concert.

“Long Live Rock” gives a lot of screen time to the fans who consider themselves to be expert crowd surfers. They include crowd-surfing married couple Etienne Sabate and Michelle Sabate, who are shown going into a festival crowd while encased in giant plastic bubbles. Abby McCormick, a mother of two who lives in Georgia, is probably the most memorable fan in the documentary because she likes to crowd surf in her wheelchair. The documentary has plenty of clips showing her doing that.

McCormick lost her one of her legs in a motorcycle accident that killed her fiancé. She has a prosthetic leg, and she also likes to be in mosh pits at concerts. McCormick has a lively personality and she’s hilarious when she tells some of her stories, such has an experience she had when her prosthetic leg got ripped off while she was crowd surfing at a concert. The leg was eventually returned to her, with an unopened bottle of beer placed inside the leg. She also proudly says of crowd surfing in a wheelchair: “I’ve never been dropped.”

Although these fan anecdotes can be entertaining, “Long Live Rock” has such atrocious editing, that the fan segments sometimes abruptly appear in random moments throughout the film, resulting in clumsy tonal shifts. For example, toward the end of the documentary, the tone gets dark and depressing when it covers the topic of rock stars with alcoholism and drug addiction. The documentary then segues into discussing mental-health issues and the untimely, tragic deaths of Soundgarden/Audioslave singer Chris Cornell and Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington, who died just two months apart in 2017. (Both of their deaths were ruled as suicides.) But then, after all this talk of addiction and death, the documentary cheerfully goes back to the crowd-surfing married couple to show them in their plastic bubbles. It’s an awkward editing transition, to say the least.

And the fan segments sometimes have unnecessary footage that shouldn’t have been in the documentary. For example, the documentary shows a fan named Jessie Shrewsburry, who is a rehab trauma nurse, going fishing in a creek because she says fishing, just like going to concerts, helps her reduce stress. Dr. Udrys is shown piloting a small plane in another scene. It’s meant to show that these fans have additional hobbies, but it’s an example of how the documentary has a tendency to lose focus by going in these off-topic tangents.

“Long Live Rock” should have had more behind-the-scenes stories from the musicians instead of mostly fluffy soundbites from them. Most of the artist interviews are reduced to short quips that don’t say anything new that they haven’t already talked about in other interviews over the years. For a documentary about hard rock/heavy metal fandom, it’s lacking in unique fan interaction stories from the artists’ perspectives.

For example, Rob Zombie says in the documentary, “I’ll be at something like Comic-Con. And the actors will be like, ‘Oh my God, this is insane with all these fans and having so much interaction!’ And I’m like, ‘This is every fucking day on the tour.”’

Zombie has said this before many times in other interviews, so this documentary should have had more insight into how Zombie interacts with fans or how he prepares for a show, to explain why the interaction is so “insane” on tour. Several people in the documentary praise how he blends horror movie concepts with his music. But that’s not news to anyone who knows anything about Zombie.

The closest that “Long Live Rock” comes to showing what it’s like to be a rock band on tour is when Skillet spouses John Cooper and Korey Cooper show the inside of their tour bus and talk about how their son and daughter go on tour with them. There’s also a brief segment with Halestorm doing a meet-and-greet session with fans at a music store, where Halestorm superfans Dave Rumohr and Lizzy Gravelle gush about how much they love the band and how lead singer Lzzy Hale inspires them.

Although “Long Live Rock” has interviews with some of the biggest stars in hard rock and heavy metal, there’s a shortage of perspectives from artists who are not from U.S.-based bands. How could there be a documentary about heavy metal without anything from the bands of the highly influential New Wave of British Heavy Metal? (Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Def Leppard, for example.) It’s a glaring omission.

X Japan lead singer Yoshiki is the only musician interviewed in the documentary who’s from a band that’s not based in the United States. Five Finger Death Punch co-founder Zoltan Bathory, who is originally from Hungary, is also interviewed, but Five Finger Death Punch is primarily an American band, based in Las Vegas. Metallica drummer Ulrich is originally from Denmark, but he’s also in a U.S.-based band consisting primarily of Americans.

And this movie almost completely ignores the impact that non-American musicians have had on hard rock/heavy metal. A few people mention Black Sabbath’s influence, but that’s about it. No one mentions Led Zeppelin, the first superstar hard rock band to sell out arenas around the world. No one mentions AC/DC, Rush or Scorpions, who were breakthrough hard rock bands for Australia, Canada and Germany, respectively.

Maybe this documentary’s American bias is because “Long Live Rock” producer Spivack works for American concert promotion company Danny Wimmer Presents, which produces U.S. hard rock/heavy metal festivals that include Louder Than Life, Epicenter and Sonic Temple. But the simple fact is that you can’t do a credible documentary about hard rock/heavy metal fandom by not including fans and more musicians from other countries.

As the popularity of hard rock/metal declined after its peak in the 1980s, many bands were able to sustain themselves because of their fandom outside of the United States. The band joke “We’re big in Japan” is rooted in hard rock/heavy metal bands’ real-life experiences of making a huge chunk of their income outside the United States. And whenever hard rock/heavy metal artists talk about which places in the world are their favorites to perform, there will be mention of places in and outside the U.S.

Although well-intentioned, “Long Live Rock” missed an opportunity to be a revealing documentary that shows how artists’ interactions with fans are the necessary fuel that keeps the fire of hard rock/heavy metal burning at a time when this genre of music has been declared “dead” but is still very much alive. And by “artist interactions,” that doesn’t just mean showing the artists saying a few words on stage to the audience. People can see concert footage for free on the Internet.

There’s a whole other level of promotion and marketing that a lot of these artists have to do, especially when they’re not played on mainstream commercial radio. The Internet and social media are barely mentioned in this movie. “Long Live Rock” had a documentary concept that needed to go beyond what’s seen on stage and give more personal and interesting stories about artist experiences with fans while on tour, not just in the U.S. but also in other parts of the world.

The filmmakers had the right idea to include the perspectives of fans, but this idea was executed sloppily. There’s tailgate concert footage in other films that’s more interesting than a lot of the fan footage that’s in “Long Live Rock.” (See the 1986 documentary “Heavy Metal Parking Lot.”) Unfortunately, what viewers get in “Long Live Rock” is a jumbled mishmash of an electronic press kit for concert festivals, rehashed comments from artists, and fan interviews that talk more about crowd surfing and moshing than what they saw on stage.

Abramorama released “Long Live Rock…Celebrate the Chaos” in U.S. virtual cinemas on March 12, 2021. Amazon Prime Video’s Coda Collection (a spinoff subscription available to Amazon Prime members at an additional cost) will premiere the movie on May 1, 2021. The movie’s VOD premiere date is June 1, 2021.

2021 ACM Awards: Maren Morris is the top winner

April 18, 2021

Maren Morris at the 56th Annual ACM Awards in Nashville (Photo by Brent Harrington/CBS)

The following is a press release from the Academy of Country Music:

Winners have been announced for the 56th Academy of Country Music Awards. Keith Urban and Mickey Guyton hosted the show featuring three iconic Country Music venues: the Grand Ole Opry House, Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium and The Bluebird Cafe, as well as performances at legendary locations across the city including the Station Inn, Bridge Building and on Broadway. The 56th ACM Awards was broadcast live on CBS and is available on demand on Paramount+.

The Academy’s highest honor, Entertainer of the Year, was awarded to Luke Bryan making this his tenth win overall and third for Entertainer of the Year. This year’s 56th ACM Awards featured an all-star lineup of collaborations and memorable performances featuring 25 performances, 31 artists, and 31 hit songs. 

Show performance highlights included: 
●      Kicking off the show, Miranda Lambert and Elle King rolled up to the Grand Ole Opry House in style, wearing fringe-laced black leather motorcycle jackets and taking over the stage with the world television premiere of their party anthem, “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home).”

●      Chris Young and Kane Brown rocked the Ryman stage with their hometown anthem “Famous Friends.” 

●      Thomas Rhett performed “Country Again” and followed up with the premiere of “What’s Your Country Song.”

●      Chris Stapleton performed “Maggie’s Song” and was joined on The Bluebird Cafe stage by Miranda Lambert.

●      Married artists, Maren Morris and Ryan Hurd sang, “Chasing After You,” for their first duet together and Hurd’s television award show performance debut.


●      Lady A rocked Nashville’s Bridge Building with their song “Like a Lady,” and Ashley McBryde performed “Martha Divine.

●      Jimmie Allen was surprised by Brad Paisley for a duet of “Freedom Was a Highway,” while New Female Artist of the Year Gabby Barrett performed her single “The Good Ones” from the intimate Bluebird Cafe.

●      Dierks Bentley and duo The War and Treaty performed U2’s poignant classic “Pride (In The Name of Love)” at The Station Inn.

●      Introduced by the legendary Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood performed a medley from her new album of gospel hymns, “My Savior,” starting with “Amazing Grace” and featuring a duet with CeCe Winans to sing “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” and “The Old Rugged Cross.” To finish the set, they were joined by the Belmont University Choir for “How Great Thou Art.”

●      Eric Church gave an energetic performance of his song “Bunch Of Nothing” at the Ryman. 

●      Dan + Shay debuted their latest release “Glad You Exist” from the Bluebird Cafe with a smooth acoustic ballad performance.

●      Backed by a socially-distanced string orchestra, Luke Combs gave a passionate performance of “Forever After All” from the Grand Ole Opry House.

●      Most nominated and awarded ACM Artist, Miranda Lambert also performed and played along with her guitar to “In His Arms” with Jack Ingram and Jon Randall.

●      Kenny Chesney returned to the ACM Awards stage for the world television premiere of “Knowing You.”

●      The Academy also paid tribute to the lives lost in the Country community during the past year.

●      Alan Jackson performed two back-to-back hits, a special mashup of “Drive (For Daddy Gene)” and “You’ll Always Be My Baby.”

●      Blake Shelton celebrated the 20th anniversary of his first single “Austin,” and followed up with a performance of his latest single “Minimum Wage.”

●      Following their double win with Single of the Year Award and Music Event of the Year, Carly Pearce and Lee Brice performed their collaborated song “I Hope You’re Happy Now.”

●      56th ACM Awards host, Mickey Guyton gave a soulful performance of “Hold On” from the Grand Ole Opry House.

●      Following his fellow host, 56th ACM Awards host, Keith Urban lit up the Grand Ole Opry House stage with a high energy set “Tumbleweed.” 

●      Kelsea Ballerini and Kenny Chesney gave a touching performance of “half of my hometown” to honor their shared hometown of Knoxville, TN.

●      Little Big Town gave a dynamic, sleek drumline performance on Broadway of “Wine, Beer, Whiskey.”

●      After performing, “I’m Not For Everyone,” at the Ryman, Brothers Osborne closed out the show with a heart thumping performance of “Dead Man’s Curve.”

Winner Highlights of the 56th Academy of Country Music Awards:


●      Maren Morris won Female Artist of the Year and Song of the Year for “The Bones.” Morris now has six ACM Award career wins, making this her second Female Artist of the Year  win and a first category win for Song of the Year, awarding her both artist and songwriter credits. Jimmy Robbins and Laura Veltz each received songwriter credits.

●      Thomas Rhett won Male Artist of the Year, marking his third win, eighth win overall.

●      Chris Stapleton won Album of the Year, with an additional win for producer for “Starting Over.” Stapleton has had twelve ACM wins overall.

●      Old Dominion won Group of the Year, making this their fourth consecutive win.

●      Dan + Shay won Duo of the Year, making this their third consecutive win, fifth win overall. 

●      Previously announced, Jimmie Allen won New Male Artist of the Year marking his first ACM Award win and the first Black artist to win within the category. 

●      Gabby Barrett won New Female Artist of the Year. This marks Barrett’s first ACM Award win. 

●      Carly Pearce and Lee Brice won Single of the Year for “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” already winning Music Event of the Year for their collaboration this past week. This marks Pearce’s first time wins in two separate categories, and Brice’s third win for Single of the Year making this his seventh overall ACM Award win. 

●      Kane Brown won his first ACM Award in Video of the Year category for “Worldwide Beautiful.” Brown is the first Black solo artist to win Video of the Year. 

●      The late producer busbee was awarded posthumously with Single of the Year and Music Event of the Year.

Tonight’s presenters included Ingrid Andress, Blanco Brown, Amy Grant, Leslie Jordan, Martina McBride, Dolly Parton, Darius Rucker and Clay Walker.

During the live telecast, ACM Lifting Lives® the charitable arm of the Academy of Country Music® featured special bumpers which included the National Museum of African American Music during Black History Month to learn more about Country Music’s roots, check out the moment here. Jimmie Allen, Chrissy Metz, Kip Moore and Tenille Townes sat down with Ashley Eicher to discuss how the ACM Lifting Lives COVID-19 Response Fund has and continues to support music industry professionals who have been financially impacted by the pandemic, watch here. ACM, Ad Council and COVID Collaborative along with Eric Church, Ashley McBryde, Darius Rucker were featured in a COVID-19 vaccine PSA as part of the national campaign, “It’s Up to You,” to emphasize the important role education about COVID-19 vaccinations plays in returning to live music here. Additionally, Dolly Parton was also featured in a vaccine PSA hereOfficial 56th ACM Awards Playlist: Stream for a Cause initiative to benefit the ACM Lifting Lives COVID-19 Response Fund is available on Amazon Music, Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify, Tidal and YouTube Music.

Studio Recording Awards and Songwriter of the Year will be announced at this year’s ACM Honors, more information to be announced in coming weeks.  

For a complete list of past and present wins and nominations, please visit ACMcountry.com and search the ACM Awards Database located on the Homepage. To watch performances, visit ACMcountry.com. Official 56th ACM Awards sponsors include 1000 Stories® Bourbon Barrel-Aged Wine, Ford, Security Benefit and T-Mobile. Getty Images is the official photographer for the Academy of Country Music Awards and photos can be accessed at GettyImages.com.

The health and safety of the artists, fans, industry, staff and partners involved in the ACM Awards is the number one priority. All guidelines set forth by national, state and local health officials will be closely followed and implemented during the production along with additional safety measures to be instated by Dick Clark Productions and the Academy of Country Music.

For more information, visit ACMcountry.com. You can also like Academy of Country Music on Facebook, follow on Twitter at @ACMawards, follow on Instagram at @ACMawards and sign up for the free ACM A-List for more immediate updates.

About the Academy of Country Music Awards

The 56th Academy of Country Music Awards is dedicated to honoring and showcasing the biggest names and emerging talent in the Country Music industry. The show was produced for television by Dick Clark Productions was broadcast live on Sunday, April 18, 2021 (8:00-11:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT) on the CBS Television Network, and was available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+. R.A. Clark, Barry Adelman and Linda Gierahn are executive producers. Damon Whiteside is executive producer for the Academy of Country Music.

Following is the full list of winners in the 12 categories voted on by Academy members:

*=winner

MAIN AWARDS

ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR
Luke Bryan*
Eric Church
Luke Combs
Thomas Rhett
Chris Stapleton

FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Kelsea Ballerini
Miranda Lambert
Ashley McBryde
Maren Morris*
Carly Pearce

MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Dierks Bentley
Eric Church
Luke Combs
Thomas Rhett*
Chris Stapleton

DUO OF THE YEAR
Brooks & Dunn
Brothers Osborne
Dan + Shay*
Florida Georgia Line
Maddie & Tae

GROUP OF THE YEAR
Lady A
Little Big Town
Old Dominion*
The Cadillac Three
The Highwomen

NEW FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Ingrid Andress
Tenille Arts
Gabby Barrett*
Mickey Guyton
Caylee Hammack

NEW MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Jimmie Allen*
Travis Denning
HARDY
Cody Johnson
Parker McCollum

ALBUM OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company–Label(s)]

Born Here Live Here Die Here – Luke Bryan
Producers: Jeff Stevens, Jody Stevens
Record Label: Capitol Records Nashville

Mixtape Vol. 1 – Kane Brown
Producers: Andrew Goldstein, Charlie Handsome, Dann Huff, Lindsay Rimes
Record Label: RCA Nashville

Never Will – Ashley McBryde
Producer: Jay Joyce
Record Label: Warner Music Nashville

Skeletons – Brothers Osborne
Producer: Jay Joyce
Record Label: EMI Records Nashville

Starting Over – Chris Stapleton*
Producers: Chris Stapleton, Dave Cobb
Record Label: Mercury Nashville

SINGLE OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company–Label(s)]

Bluebird – Miranda Lambert
Producer: Jay Joyce
Record Label: Vanner Records/RCA Records Nashville

I Hope – Gabby Barrett
Producers: Ross Copperman, Zach Kale
Record Label: Warner Music Nashville

I Hope You’re Happy Now – Carly Pearce & Lee Brice*
Producers: busbee
Record Label: Big Machine Records / Curb Records

More Hearts Than Mine – Ingrid Andress
Producers: Ingrid Andress, Sam Ellis
Record Label: Warner Music Nashville

The Bones – Maren Morris
Producer: Greg Kurstin
Record Label: Columbia Nashville

SONG OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Songwriter(s)/Publisher(s)/Artist(s)]

Bluebird – Miranda Lambert
Songwriter(s): Luke Dick, Miranda Lambert, Natalie Hemby
Publishers: Emileson Songs; Little Louder Songs; Pink Dog Publishing; Songs of Universal, INC; Sony ATV Tree Publishing; Wrucke for You Publishing

One Night Standards – Ashley McBryde
Songwriter(s): Ashley McBryde, Nicolette Hayford, Shane McAnally
Publishers: Canned Biscuit Songs; Smackworks Music; Smack Blue, LLC; Smackstreet Music; Tempo Investments; Warner Geo Met Ric Music; Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp

Some People Do – Old Dominion
Songwriter(s): Jesse Frasure, Matt Ramsey, Thomas Rhett, Shane McAnally
Publishers: Carrot Seed Songs; EMI Blackwood Music INC; Smackville Music; Songs of ROC Nation; Teremitry Rhythm House Music; Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp; Smack Hits; Tempo Investments; Warner Gro Met Ric Music

Starting Over – Chris Stapleton
Songwriter(s): Chris Stapleton, Mike Henderson
Publishers: I Wrote These Songs; Straight Six Music; WC Music Corp

The Bones – Maren Morris*
Songwriter(s): Jimmy Robbins, Maren Morris, Laura Veltz
Publishers: Big Machine Music, LLC; Extraordinary Alien Publishing; International Dog Music; Oh Denise Publishing; Round Hill Songs; Warner-Tamerlane
Publishing Corp.

VIDEO OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Producer(s)/Director(s)/Artist(s)]

Better Than We Found It – Maren Morris
Director: Gabrielle Woodland
Producers: Sarah Kunin, Jennifer Pepke

Bluebird – Miranda Lambert
Director: Trey Fanjoy
Producer: Heather Levenstone

Gone – Dierks Bentley
Directors: Wes Edwards, Ed Pryor, Travis Nicholson, Running Bear and Sam Siske, with animation by Skylar Wilson
Producer: David Garcia

Hallelujah – Carrie Underwood and John Legend
Director: Randee St. Nicholas
Producer: Greg Wells

Worldwide Beautiful – Kane Brown*
Director: Alex Alvga
Producer: Christen Pinkston

MUSIC EVENT OF THE YEAR (Tie Within Category Increased Nominees) [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company–Label(s)]

Be A Light – Thomas Rhett featuring Reba McEntire, Hillary Scott, Chris Tomlin, Keith Urban
Producer: Dann Huff
Record Label: The Valory Music Co.

Does To Me – Luke Combs featuring Eric Church
Producer: Scott Moffatt
Record Label: River House Artists/Columbia Nashville

I Hope You’re Happy Now – Carly Pearce & Lee Brice*
Producer: busbee
Record Label: Big Machine Records / Curb Records

Nobody But You – Blake Shelton featuring Gwen Stefani
Producer: Scott Hendricks
Record Label: Warner Music Nashville

One Beer – HARDY featuring Lauren Alaina & Devin Dawson
Producers: Derek Wells, Joey Moi
Record Label: Big Loud Records

One Too Many – Keith Urban, P!nk
Producers: Cutfather, Dan McCarroll, Keith Urban, PhD
Record Label: Capitol Records Nashville