The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (NaSHOF) has announced the 12 nominees for the class of 2021, and this year’s nominees in the Artist/Songwriter category include Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, Shania Twain and Phil Vassar.
This year’s ceremony, set for Nov. 1 in Nashville, will induct one of these artists into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, alongside two of this year’s nominated songwriters. Those nominated writers include Rhett Akins, Buddy Cannon, Larry Cordle, Carl Jackson, Mary Ann Kennedy, David Malloy, Frank J. Myers and Tia Sillers.
This year’s event will honor not only the 2021 class of inductees, but also the Class of 2020’s inductees, which includes Steve Earle, Bobbie Gentry, Kent Blazy, Brett James and Spooner Oldham.
“We were forced to postpone our 50th Anniversary celebration last year, so this will be our ‘50/51’ party—celebrating two years and two classes in a special double-sized event,” says Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Executive Director Mark Ford. “We congratulate all of this year’s nominees and look forward to next month, when we will announce those who will be inducted as members of the Class of 2021.”
Keith earned his first No. 1 with a song he penned by himself: “Should’ve Been a Cowboy.” As an artist, he has placed 45 self-penned Top 20 songs on the Billboard charts, including 16 No. 1 songs and 17 more in the Top 10. Among those hits are “You Ain’t Much Fun,” “How Do You Like Me Now?!,” “You Shouldn’t Kiss Me Like This,” “Beer For My Horses,” “I Love This Bar,” “American Soldier,” “A Little Too Late,” and “God Love Her.” In 2015, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York.
After graduating from Nashville’s Belmont University, Paisley signed a publishing deal and had some of his songs recorded by Tracy Byrd and David Ball, among others. He would go on to sign a recording contract with Arista Nashville. As an artist, he has placed 33 self-penned Top 20 songs on the Billboard charts, including 15 No. 1s and 14 more in the Top 10. Among his hits are “He Didn’t Have To Be,” “Alcohol,” “I’m Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin’ Song),” “Celebrity,” “Ticks,” “Letter To Me,” “Then,” “This Is Country Music,” “Water,” and his duet with Carrie Underwood “Remind Me.”
Twain released her debut album in 1993, and since then, has placed 22 self-penned Top 20 songs on the Billboard charts, including seven No. 1 songs and eight more in the Top 10. Among those compositions are “You’re Still The One” (1998 Grammy for Best Country Song and 1999 BMI Country Song of the Year), “Come On Over” (1999 Grammy for Best Country Song) and “Forever And For Always” (2004 BMI Country Song of the Year), along with “You’ve Got A Way,” “(If You’re Not In It For Love) I’m Outta Here!,” “Love Gets Me Every Time,” “No One Needs To Know,” “Man! I Feel Like A Woman!,” “From This Moment On” and “That Don’t Impress Me Much.” Twain was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2011.
In the late ’90s Vassar penned a string of hits for other artists, including Tim McGraw’s “My Next Thirty Years” and Jo Dee Messina’s “Bye, Bye.” In 1999, he signed a record deal with Arista Nashville and released his debut album the following her. That project contained radio singles “Carlene,” “Rose Bouquet,” “Six-Pack Summer,” “That’s When I Love You” and “Just Another Day In Paradise,” Vassar’s first No. 1 as an artist. He went on to have other hits as an artist, including “American Child,” “In A Real Love” and “Last Day Of My Life.”