Chart-Topping Country Star Kelsea Ballerini To Be Honored With Vanguard Award At 55th ASCAP Country Music Awards

September 28, 2017

Slated for Monday, November 6 at Historic Ryman Auditorium, the Awards Gala Will Also Include Presentation of the Prestigious ASCAP Founders Award to Rodney Crowell 

NASHVILLE, Sept. 28, 2017: ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, will present acclaimed singer, songwriter and performer Kelsea Ballerini with the ASCAP Vanguard Award at the 55th annual ASCAP Country Music Awards. The awards celebration, which honors the songwriters and publishers of ASCAP’s most performed country songs of 2016, will take place at the historic Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville on November 6.

“From the moment she released her debut single, Kelsea Ballerini’s fearless songwriting and gifted vocals have made her one of the most exciting new artists in country music,” said John Titta, ASCAP Executive Vice President, Membership. “By combining pop and country sounds with thoughtful, emotionally honest lyrics, she has unapologetically forged her own creative path to success and gained millions of fans along the way. We are thrilled to honor her with the ASCAP Vanguard Award.” 

The Vanguard Award recognizes the impact of outstanding ASCAP members on musical genres that are shaping the future of American music. Previous recipients include Chris Stapleton, Walk the Moon, St. Vincent, fun., The Civil Wars, Third Day, Band of Horses, Sara Bareilles and more.

Black River Entertainment recording artist Kelsea Ballerini skyrocketed to stardom after releasing three consecutive platinum-certified #1 hits – “Love Me Like You Mean It," “Peter Pan” and “Dibs” – from her critically acclaimed debut album The First Time, making her the only female artist in country music history, including female duos and groups, to achieve this feat. The talented singer-songwriter also reached gold with her top 5 hit “Yeah Boy,” and either wrote or co-wrote all 12 songs on her debut album. Ballerini recently released the first heart-melting single, “Legends,” from her highly anticipated sophomore album, Unapologetically, which is slated to drop November 3 and was named among the "30 Biggest Albums of Fall” by Entertainment Weekly.

Ballerini has appeared on the cover of Billboard Magazine’s Grammy preview issue, was included in Forbes’s “30 Under 30” class of 2017, and was featured in People Magazine’s “Beauty at Every Age” list in their iconic World’s Most Beautiful issue for 2017. She has been named “The Country Sweetheart” in People’s elite “Ones to Watch” portfolio, praised by Rolling Stone as the “Nashville It Girl,” touted by Billboard as “Country’s Next Queen” and selected as one of CMT’s Next Women of Country.

Ballerini earned two most-performed song awards at the 2016 ASCAP Country Music Awards for her breakout hits “Dibs” and “Love Me Like You Mean It,” the latter of which she also performed as the show’s special guest opener. In 2015, she was awarded Billboard’s “Rising Star” honor at its prestigious Women in Music event, and has continued to gain recognition by scoring her first-ever ACM Award for New Female Vocalist of the Year, the iHeartRadio Music Award for Best New Country Artist, multiple Radio Disney Music Awards, and the American Country Countdown Award (ACCA) for Breakthrough Female of the Year. Ballerini is vying for Female Vocalist of the Year at the 51st Annual CMA Awards in Nashville on November 8.  

As previously announced, the 55th annual ASCAP Country Music Awards will also include the presentation of the ASCAP Founders Award to Rodney Crowell, as well as awards for ASCAP Country Music Songwriter of the Year, Song of the Year and Publisher of the Year. The evening will feature live performances of some of the top five most performed songs by the award-winning songwriters and/or the artists who recorded them. Members of the press can request event credentials by contacting Ronna Rubin at

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP's mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world's best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business - from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. With more than 825,000 members representing more than 10 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members. Learn more and stay in touch at, on Twitter and Instagram @ASCAP and on Facebook.

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Media Contacts

Alison Toczylowski Webber | ASCAP | 615.742.5073


Ronna Rubin | Rubin Media | 615.298.4400