Tenille Townes and Riley Green have been named the new female and male artist of the year for the 55th Academy of Country Music Awards

By Georgia Slater
August 20, 2020 11:42 AM
Advertisement

Keith Urban just made 2020 a whole lot better for newcomer country stars Tenille Townes and Riley Green.

On Thursday, the host of this year's Academy of Country Music Awards surprised Townes and Green during Zoom meetings to reveal that the singers had been selected as the new female artist and male artist of the year.

Townes, 26, was shocked to see Urban appear on her screen to share the news, telling the "Blue Ain't Your Color" artist, "I'll never forget this day as long as I live."

"I'll always remember this feeling, standing here as a new artist," Townes said in a press release. "I feel so honored and incredibly grateful just to be a part of this Country Music community that inspires me. Receiving this ACM Award feels like belief from that community, and that means so much to me."

Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock; John Shearer/WireImage

Green, 31, said in the Zoom call that the honor was "pretty cool" and that he's "ready to play some shows again."

"When we had to come off the road back in March, I wasn't sure what the rest of 2020 would look like," Green admitted in the release.

"So much has happened in the world since then and I'm really excited to have a moment to play music again," he continued. "My grandfathers' love for Country Music is what led me to this moment and I have to dedicate this award to them."

Adding, "Thank you to everyone who believes in my music enough to let this boy from Alabama get to share his songs like this."

Townes and Green will also have the opportunity to perform live during the ACM Awards.

In March, the Academy announced that the show which was originally scheduled for Sunday, April 5, in Las Vegas would be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead, for the first time in the show's history, the awards will be broadcast from iconic Nashville locations including the Grand Old Opry House, the Ryman Auditorium, and The Bluebird Cafe.

Green beat out artists Cody Johnson, Jordan Davis, Morgan Wallen and Russell Dickerson for new male artist. Townes was up against Caylee Hammack, Gabby Barrett, Ingrid Andress and Lindsay Ell.

"This year's New Artists have experienced astounding success already, and the Academy feels honored to be able to present them with their first ACM Award win," Damon Whiteside, CEO of the Academy of Country Music, said in a release.

"We hope this is a memory that they will carry with them as their careers continue to thrive," he said. "A huge congratulations to all of this year's well-deserving nominees and a special thank you to the artists' teams who helped the Academy pull off the surprise, especially our host Keith Urban for making this moment monumental."

The ACM Awards will air Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.