CMA presents international awards in Sydney and London


Michael Chugg receives the first Rob Potts International Live Music Advancement Award,
Baylen Leonard receives the International Country Broadcaster Award,
Ricky Marshall receives the Wesley Rose International Media Achievement Award
and The Shires receive the Jeff Walker Global Country Artist Award

CMA presented four of its 2021 CMA International Awards this month in Sydney and London. Australian promoter Michael Chugg received the Rob Potts International Live Music Advancement Award thanks to a video message from the country artist Morgan Evans (whose longtime manager was Rob Potts); Sarah TrahernCMA President and CEO; John Esposito, chairman and CEO of Warner Music Nashville; and Australian country artist Casey Barnes. Chugg was surprised by the video message and presented the award during a lunch with Potts’ son Jeremy Dylan and Nathalie Wallerhead of ABC Music and Events and board member of CMA.

While in London, broadcaster Absolute Radio Country UK Baylen Leonard received the International National Broadcaster Award, Ricky MarshallProgram Manager at Absolute Radio Country, received the Wesley Rose International Media Achievement Award, and UK Country duo, The counties, received the Jeff Walker Global Country Artist Award during the C2C weekend in London. Trahern presented their awards to Leonard and Marshall onstage at the sold-out CMA Songwriter Series event on Thursday, March 10, and the Shires received their awards at a reception hosted by CMA on Friday, March 11. March. In the UK, CMA also hosted a series of valuable networking events that renewed important relationships and forged new ones to further the development and profile of country music internationally.

Previously announced 2021 CMA International Award winners include Luc Combeswho received the International Artist Achievement Award in November 2021 during rehearsals for “The 55th Annual CMA Awards”, and Chris Yorkdirector of SJM Concerts and one of the founding co-promoters of Country to Country (C2C), who received the Jo Walker Meador International Award via a surprise video message in September 2021.

“The CMA International Awards honor some of the many people we are proud to know and work with within our international country community,” says Milly Olykan, CMA Vice-President, International Relations and Development. “As Country Music continues to grow and expand its audience around the world, we couldn’t do what we do without the work and resources these people have invested in building and promoting Country Music in their market. We are grateful for their continued support and delighted to honor them with these awards.

Michael Chugg – Rob Potts International Live Music Advancement Award
The first Rob Potts International Live Music Advancement Award recognizes outstanding achievement by an individual who has made significant contributions to the live music industry by expanding performance opportunities and building a live audience for country music by outside the United States. Chugg is responsible for co-creating the major country music festival, CMC Rocks. After co-founding the Frontier Touring Company, he then launched Chugg Entertainment. Over the past 20 years, Chugg Entertainment has toured over 800 Australian and international artists, including country artists Dolly Parton, Luke Combs, Kacey Musgraves, Florida Georgia Line, The Chicks and CMA’s international touring series, Nashville Overview, to name a few. Chugg also launched Chugg Music, a record label and management company providing artist services to Australian bands, including country-rock singer Casey Barnes. Chugg is part of CMA’s Australian Task Force and was awarded the Jo Walker Meador International Award in 2009 as well as the CMA International Talent Buyer/Promoter of the Year Award in 2006.

Baylen Leonard – International Broadcaster Award
The International Broadcaster Award recognizes the outstanding achievements of a broadcaster outside the United States who have made significant contributions to the development of country music in their country. Leonard currently presents six shows a week on Absolute Radio Country, the UK’s premier national radio station. He previously hosted country music shows, specials and commentary for BBC Radio 2, BBC London, BBC Radio 4, BBC Scotland and Chris Country. In addition to broadcasting, Leonard is the artistic director and talent scout for The Long Road, the UK’s largest outdoor country music festival and is head of music for Holler, a country media website. , Americana and Roots based in the UK. He was last awarded the CMA International Broadcaster in 2019. He is also a member of the CMA UK Working Group.

Ricky Marshall – Wesley Rose International Media Achievement Award
The Wesley Rose International Media Achievement Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement in the media that contributes to the development of country music outside the United States, was presented to Marshall the week before C2C. Marshall is currently program director for Absolute Radio Country, but he receives this award for his work with the BBC. In his previous role as producer of the “Zoe Ball Breakfast Show” on BBC Radio 2, the UK’s most listened to radio station with over 14 million listeners, and as producer of Ken Bruce’s shows and Jo Whiley as well as much of Radio 2’s daytime Country Radio Music Content. He was instrumental in bringing BBC Radio 2 physical to Nashville for coverage of the CMA Awards as well as the driving force to add more countries to the “Zoe Ball Breakfast Show”. Marshall currently sits on the UK CMA task force

The Shires – Jeff Walker Country Artist World Award
For the second time since 2017, the Shires received the Jeff Walker Global Country Artist Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement by a signed country music artist outside the United States. The Shires have released their first album Brave in 2015 and became the first UK country band to make the UK Albums Chart Top 10. Their second album, My world, became the best-selling UK country album in history when it was released in 2016. They have released a playlist on BBC Radio 2 since their debut. The band host their own radio show on Apple Music Country and have supported Little Big Town, Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood and Sam Hunt on tour. Their UK tours always sell out, with their latest tour ending with a sold-out show at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall.

The CMA International Awards honor industry leaders and artists who have supported and made a difference in the growth and promotion of country music in the international marketplace. Nominees are recognized in six categories recognizing their dedication and efforts in growing opportunities for country music in their local territories.

Michael Chugg, recipient of the Rob Potts International Live Music Advancement Award.
Photo credit: Jeremy Dylan
Natalie Waller, Head of ABC Music and Events (L), Susan Heymann, COO of Frontier Touring (RC) and Jeremy Dylan, CEO of Rob Potts Entertainment (R) present Michael Chugg (LC) with the Rob Potts International Live Music Advancement Award.
Photo credit: Mia Maclean
Baylen Leonard, recipient of the International Country Broadcaster award.
Photo Credit: Luke Dyson/AMC
Ricky Marshall, recipient of the Wesley Rose International Media Achievement Award.
Photo Credit: Luke Dyson/AMC
Milly Olykan, CMA Vice President, International Relations and Development (L) and Sarah Trahern, CMA Managing Director (R) presented international awards to Ricky Marshall (LC) and Baylen Leonard (RC) during C2C in London.
Photo Credit: Luke Dyson/AMC
Crissie Rhodes and Ben Earle of The Shires, winners of the Jeff Walker Global Country Artist Award.
Photo Credit: Luke Dyson/AMC
(L-R) Helen Thomas, station manager at BBC Radio 2; Bob Harris, OBE, presenter at BBC Radio 2; Sarah Trahern, CMA President and CEO; Crissie Rhodes and Ben Earle of the Shires; and Milly Olykan, CMA Vice President, International Relations and Development, during C2C in London.
Photo Credit: Luke Dyson/AMC
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