(Straight From Nashville is a weekly column written by CMT.com managing editor Calvin Gilbert.)
Congratulations are in order for Sam Hunt, Thomas Rhett and Cole Swindell, this year’s final nominees for the Academy of Country Music’s new artist of the year. It’s an impressive achievement and one that could pave the way to future success and maybe even superstar status.
— CMT (@CMT) February 18, 2015
In thinking about new artists, in general, it’s an interesting proposition to try to predict where their career paths will take them. Some are absolutely committed to creating great music, and others are more interested in becoming celebrities.
When newcomers are starting out, they’re accessible to fans and media and anxious to do anything they can to gain attention. As their career builds, that accessibility tends to diminish as they attempt to balance their professional and personal lives. It’s totally understandable. After all, there’s only 24 hours in any day.
I’m not picking on Wilson, and I don’t have any inside information on what happened. In situations like these, it’s seldom any one specific thing but rather a perfect storm of issues and circumstances.
“Redneck Woman” might be considered a novelty record in the broadest sense, but Wilson had some great album tracks and possessed what many artists are lacking – a well-defined personality. In short, she was – and is – the real deal. Given her talent and the factors that were in play with a quintuple-platinum album, she deserved better than she got.
Even in ideal scenarios, everything can still fall apart. How many artists got their big record deal and automatically assumed all their problems were solved?
With the possible exception of Garth Brooks, country artists have never been known for their business acumen. He’s always surrounded himself with a network of business professionals, but he’s the kind of guy who asks questions and wants to know everything that’s going on in his career.
New artists might be reminded that Brooks’ attention to detail is why he still has a career.