In the past eighteen months, a lot has changed for MCA Nashville recording artist Sam Hunt. His debut album, Montevallo, has sold more than 800,000 copies, and he has clicked with three straight No. 1 records. Now, the Georgia native might just be playing a role in someone else’s rise to stardom.
Hunt is one of a group of artists that are lending their time and ears to the fourth annual Grammy Amplifier program, sponsored by Hyundai and The Recording Academy. The contest will aid aspiring artists with the opportunity to realize their passion and further their musical careers through one-of-a-kind experiences that serve to showcase their talent.
Hunt says that he remembers those days before stardom — and hopes that he can maybe provide a spark to someone else. “I’m honored to be part of a program where I can help elevate new and emerging talent,” the singer said. “It wasn’t long ago I was an unknown artist, and I couldn’t be more grateful to the people who helped me with the tools I needed to start my career. I look forward to shining a light on these aspiring musicians.”
Hunt continues to watch his career grow with each passing week. His current single, “Break Up In A Small Town,” has already been certified Gold — and is currently No. 52 on the Billboard Hot 100. Each of his previous singles – all No. 1s — are Platinum. Just a few weeks ago, the singer re-released his Between The Pines mixtape – originally issued via his Web site in 2013. A collection of acoustic versions of this songs — in addition to tracks he wrote for Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban — the release has already found favor among his fans, bowing at No. 7 on the Billboard Country Albums chart, as well as No. 33 on the Billboard 200.
In an interview with Billboard earlier this year, Hunt stated that his success has been hard to believe – especially for him. “I don’t want to say that I didn’t think it was possible because I was pulling for all of those things. I didn’t know what all the possibilities were. Every couple of weeks, something else happens, and I think ‘How in the world did this many people know who we are right now?”
The Grammy Amplifier program is now open for entries and will close on Jan. 4, 2016. Contestants can upload their song on the Grammy Amplifier Website and drive friends, family and fans to listen. Based on total track plays, and online interest, the number of those competing will be narrowed to 25 on Dec. 16. Point accumulations will then continue only for the semifinalist group through Jan. 4, 2016 — with the number then trimmed to 10. From that point, the decision will be in the hands of three Grammy Amplifier curators — which, in addition to Hunt, also includes hip-hop artist Big Sean and Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale.
Once the selection process is narrowed to 10, each of the remaining finalists will be flown to Los Angeles to participate in a “Music Business Immersion Day” with the goal of educating them on a wide array of aspects of the music business. The three winners will be announced during Grammy Week in February 2016.
In the past three years, videos of winners of the program have exceeded 11 million views on YouTube. Artists who have served as curators for Grammy Amplifier include hit artist such as Ariana Grande and Allen Stone, the Band Perry, Robert Glasper, Kendrick Lamar and Ziggy Marley. Those that have placed among the top three in years past have won the chance to go into the studio with a Grammy-winning producer, to film a music video, and perform at events such as the Billboard Hot 100 Festival.
For more information on how to enter and to learn more about the Grammy Amplifier program, visit GrammyAmplifier.com.