|The Country Music Association presented International Awards this past week during C2C: Country to Country festival in London as well as CMC Rocks QLD festival in Australia. Award recipients included Canadian singer/songwriter Dean Brody, BBC Radio 2’s Mark Hagen, six-time reigning CMA Awards Vocal Group of the Year Little Big Town, Spotify’s John Marks, AEG Presents’ Milly Olykan and Chris Country’s Chris Stevens.
Jeff Walker Global Country Artist Award – Dean Brody
The Jeff Walker Global Country Artist Award recognizes outstanding achievements by a Country Music artist signed outside of the United States. The artist must have furthered the popularity of Country Music as well as brought attention to the Country Music format in their foreign-based territory. Dean Brody was surprised with the recognition backstage during CMC Rocks QLD festival on Saturday, March 17 in Queensland, Australia.
In 2016, Brody won his second JUNO Award for his album Gypsy Road, which featured the single “Bring the House Down.” The song was certified double Platinum in Canada and became the highest-selling digital single ever for a Canadian artist. His most recent album, Beautiful Freakshow, features the chart-topping single “Time,” which was the No. 1 selling Country track in Canada for 13 weeks straight in 2017. Brody has won 16 Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) Awards and last year won CCMA Songwriter of the Year, Top Selling Canadian Single of the Year for “Time” and the coveted Fans’ Choice Award.
Wesley Rose International Media Achievement Award – Mark Hagen
The Wesley Rose International Media Achievement Award recognizes outstanding achievements in the media as they relate to Country Music outside of the United States. Mark Hagen was surprised with the award by Little Big Town backstage at C2C in London following a BBC Radio 2 interview with Bob Harris on Sunday, March 11.
Hagen, a 40-year television and radio veteran producer, currently works for BBC Radio 2 where he produces “Bob Harris Country,” the U.K.’s only national Country Music radio program, as well as BBC Radio 2’s coverage of the CMA Awards, “CMA Fest” and “CMA Country Christmas.” He also produces BBC Four’s television coverage of the CMA Awards. A former CMA Board member, Hagen has worked closely with successive generations of Country stars, playing a key role in breaking the likes of Faith Hill, Kacey Musgraves, Shania Twain and The Mavericks throughout the U.K. and Europe.
International Artist Achievement Award – Little Big Town
The International Artist Achievement Award recognizes outstanding achievement by a U.S.-based artist who has demonstrated the most significant growth, development and promotion of the Country Music industry outside of the United States during the eligibility period. Little Big Town was surprised with the award by BBC presenter Steve Wright during a Radio 2 interview Thursday, March 8 in London.
Since their first appearance at the inaugural C2C festival in 2013, Little Big Town is the only act to perform at C2C three times, returning just last week as festival headliners. In 2017, the group completed a seven-day U.K. tour which included a sold-out performance at London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall. BBC Radio 2 has playlisted three Little Big Town singles to date. In 2017, Little Big Town performed at CMC Rocks QLD Festival in Australia and added additional shows in Canada.
Jo Walker-Meador International Award – John Marks and Milly Olykan
The Jo Walker-Meador International Award recognizes outstanding achievement by an individual in advocating and supporting Country Music’s marketing development in territories outside the United States. The award was presented to both John Marks and Milly Olykan during CMA’s U.K. Advisory Group meeting Friday, March 9 in London.
Marks is the Global Editor for Country Music at Spotify where he curates over 25 Country playlists, including his primary playlist, Hot Country, which is currently the fourth most-consumed worldwide. Marks, a CMA Board member, opens doors for Country artists internationally and is the driving force behind Spotify’s initiative to increase consumption of Country Music worldwide.
As VP of Live Music and Major Arena Events for AEG Presents, Olykan is the Festival Director and co-promoter of C2C, the U.K. and Ireland’s largest Country Music festival. C2C has changed the landscape for Country artists touring the U.K. and Europe. Her role in establishing the Pop-Up Stages, Country Music Week, presenting the Bluebird Café in the U.K., and co-promoting and touring the CMA Songwriters Series has provided significant platforms for new artists and songwriters. Since 2014, Milly has served on the CMA Board of Directors.
International Country Broadcaster Award – Chris Stevens
The International Country Broadcaster Award recognizes outstanding achievement by a radio broadcaster or syndicated radio reporter outside the United States who has made important contributions for the development of Country Music in their country. The award was presented to Chris Stevens during CMA’s U.K. Advisory Group meeting Friday, March 9 in London.
Stevens launched Chris Country Radio simply because he wanted to hear more Country Music on U.K. radio. Chris Country can now be heard in many parts of the U.K. on DAB Digital Radio including London and Manchester. A respected broadcaster, Stevens supports Country festivals and shows including coverage of CMA Songwriters Series, CMA Awards, CMA Fest and C2C. He interviews top Nashville artists as well as local U.K. artists and presents the “Breakfast” show on the station.