Global APRA Music Awards Nashville Winners Announced

Legendary guitarist Tommy Emmanuel honored with Distinguished Services Award Seaforth, Phil Barton, Morgan Evans, and Rick Price take home honors

Seaforth (Mitchell Thompson and Thomas Jordan) accepting the award for Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year - Nashville, presented by legendary rocker Briand Cadd
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Nashville, TN (March 2, 2020) … The Global APRA Music Awards completed the second of three around-the-world stops, with awards handed out last night in Nashville at Clementine Hall, hosted by O’Shea. The awards were presented by APRA AMCOS (Australasian Performing Right Association and Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society) and given to Nashville-based Australasian songwriters, composers and music publishers achieving artistic excellence and commercial success. The Nashville awards came on the heels of Los Angeles (February 26) and ahead of London (March 6) events.

Legendary rocker Brian Cadd presented the first award of the night, with Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year Nashville going to Mitchell Thompson and Thomas Jordan, the Sydney Northern Beaches childhood friends who perform as country-pop duo Seaforth. They released their debut EP Love That on Sony Nashville in 2019 and have been touring it in the States, playing venerable venues including New York’s Webster Hall and the Grand Ole Opry. They return to Australia this month for CMC Rocks and a Sydney headline show.

The Overseas Recognition Award Nashville was presented by two longtime Nashville-via-Australia songwriters, Kylie Sackley and Lindsay Rimes, and awarded to Rick Price. A lot has happened since Price won the 1992 APRA Song of the Year for ‘Heaven Knows’, with the songwriter-performer relocating to Nashville a decade ago to work primarily as a producer and drawing upon the gospel, soul and country influences in the city.

It was a special moment when artist manager Gina Mendello presented the Distinguished Services Award Nashville to world-renowned guitarist and songwriter Tommy Emmanuel, who has been playing live and wowing audiences since his childhood in Australia. With a deep discography and a non-stop touring schedule, Emmanuel’s fingerpicking style is lauded for its virtuosity. He has collaborated with Jason Isbell, Mark Knopfler, Rodney Crowell, among countless others, and is one of just a few Certified Guitar Players in the world, as named by his hero Chet Atkins.

When Newcastle native Morgan Evans met hitmaker Chris DeStefano at APRA AMCOS’ SongHubs/50 Songs in 5 Days songwriting camp and subsequent SongHubs, it changed his career path. Tonight Destefano presented Evans with the Outstanding International Achievement Award Nashville for his global success. Evans’ ‘Day Drunk’ collaboration with Destefano and Lindy Robbins was the 2019 APRA Music Awards Country Work of the Year and cracked US Country Radio Top 40. ‘Kiss Somebody’ was a #1 US Country Aircheck/Mediabase hit and made Evans one of country music’s one to watch.

The final award of the night, Songwriter of the Year Nashville, was presented to Phil Barton, who was introduced by his good friend and GRAMMY-winning songwriter and music publisher Liz Rose. The prolific songwriter relocated to Nashville in 2005 and has written hits for Lee Brice (the #1 ‘A Woman Like You’), Sara Evans, David Nail and fellow award winner Morgan Evans. Recently, he’s been writing with the next wave of country stars American Young, Catherine McGrath and Canadian up-and-comer Kalsey Kulyk.

“It’s wonderful to celebrate the nominees, performers, presenters, and our special honourees with the Nashville community, a community of songwriters,” said APRA Chair Jenny Morris.

“A lot of our members work behind-the-scenes crafting songs day in and day out, playing a vital role in the Nashville music ecosystem, and we’re here to acknowledge all the hard work and artistry they contribute,” said APRA AMCOS Chief Executive Dean Ormston.

The evening was hosted by husband and wife musical duo Mark and Jay O’Shea and featured an opening performance by Nashville-based Aussie sister trio Dozzi, who performed the Lauren Daigle GRAMMY-winning hit ‘You Say,’ co-written by dual nominee Paul Mabury with Daigle and Jason Ingram. Seaforth closed the evening with a performance of their collaboration with Phil Barton, ‘Love Me Like You’ and their single ‘Love That.’


Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year – Nashville
Mitchell Thompson* and Thomas Jordan (aka Seaforth)
Warner Chappell Music obo W C M Music Corp*

Overseas Recognition Award – Nashville
Rick Price
Kobalt Music Music Publishing obo LilliPilli IP

Outstanding International Achievement Award – Nashville
Morgan Evans
Warner Chappell Music obo SongsByMe

Songwriter of the Year – Nashville
Phil Barton
Mushroom Music obo Anthem Music Publishing

Distinguished Services Award – Nashville
Tommy Emmanuel
Universal Music Publishing

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