The 57th Academy of Country Music Awards, airing on March 7, celebrates the power of two. Many collabs are up for major awards this year, including “Never Wanted To Be That Girl” by Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde. The song is up for Music Event of the Year, and Video of the Year. Ashley is also nominated for Female Artist of the Year, in a category featuring Gabby Barrett, Miranda Lambert, Marren Morris, and…Carly Pearce.
Though Ashley only has a few albums under her belt, this is not her first time at the ACMs. And, after she and Carly perform their song together at the 2022 event, it certainly won’t be Ashley’s last showing at the ACMS. Before the show airs on Amazon Prime, here’s what you need to know.
Ashley McBryde Is A Country Music Artist
Ashley McBryde is best known for the singles “A Little Dive Bar In Dahlonega,” “Girl Goin’ Nowhere,” and “One Night Standards.” The first was certified Gold by the RIAA, while the last is a Platinum-selling single. Her debut album, 2018’s Girl Going Nowhere, established her as a shining new voice on the country scene. She released her sophomore album, Never Will, in 2020.
Ashley McBryde Is An Award-Winning Artist
Ashley already has one Academy of Country Music Award on her mantle. She won the ACM for New Female Vocalist of the Year in 2018. Since then, she’s been nominated for multiple ACMS – including Song of the Year (“Girl Goin’ Nowhere,” “One Night Standards”), Female Artist of the Year, and Single of the Year. She won an ACM for Musical Event of the Year and a County Music Association Award for New Artist of the Year.
She’s Worked Hard To Get Where She Is
Raised in Saddle, Arkansas, Ashley began writing music at age 12. In high school, she told her algebra teacher she wanted to write songs in Nashville. “She looked at me in front of the whole class and said, ‘That’s stupid. That won’t happen, and you better have a really good backup plan,’ “McBryde told The Tennessean. “I carried that for a lot of years.”
Thankfully, her mother had her back. “I could have said I want to be a one-legged purple gorilla and she would have said, ‘OK, honey,” she said in a 2019 interview, per Rolling Stone. “Not everybody gets it. Somebody doesn’t think they can go to college. Somebody doesn’t think they can ‘spell good.’ Somebody’s not gettin’ yes. … If anybody has told you not to pursue what sets your soul on fire, they are wrong.”
While studying French Horn at Arkansas State University, Ashley thought she would be a band director after graduation, but when she began making the drive to Memphis to perform, she knew she couldn’t give up on the dream. She dropped out of school, and relocated to Music City. She spent a decade being broke and working hard to make the dream happen. Things turned around in 2017 when she signed with Q Prime management. That year, Warner Music released her debut single, “A Little Dive Bar In Dahlonega.” The following year, she released Girl Going Nowhere.
She’s Found Success Being Herself
For the cover of her 2016 EP, Jalopies & Expensive Guitars, Ashley straightened her usually curly hair. The songs were those she’d written for other artists. “We were trying to play the game,” she told The New York Times. After the EP failed to generate the success she wanted, she let her hair go back to the curls, and she increased the number of her tattoos. She decided to embrace who she was.
She’s Kind Of Chill
If Ashley McBryde strikes you as someone who is chill, she is. When the 2021 ACM Awards rolled out their nominations, she wasn’t eagerly waiting to see if her name was being called. She was driving back from a writing retreat. She learned that Never Will was up for Album of the Year from one of the other people nominated.
“I got a text from John Osborne [of Brothers Osborne],” McBryde told Taste of Country. “Of course, he left out the part that he was in the category, too.” Ultimately, Chris Stapleton’s Starting Over won the award.