Zach Bryan, Hailey Whitters named early 58th ACM Awards winners

Both named Male & Female Artists of the Year

The Academy of Country Music kicked off ACM Awards week in Frisco, Texas on Tuesday (May 9th) with the first day of the ACM Country Kickoff at The Star free fan festival, including a special opening ceremony with Frisco resident and RCA Country Music recording artist Corey Kent, Academy of Country Music CEO Damon Whiteside, as well as local and state officials and Cowboys representatives. The night concluded with Live From the ACMs: ACM New Artist Winners Celebration where Gabby Barrett, a the 2020 ACM New Female Artist of the Year winner, revealed the ACM New Male Artist of the Year, which was awarded to Zach Bryan, and ACM New Female Artist of the Year, which was presented to Hailey Whitters. Whitters performed for the crowd after accepting her award and will also take the stage at Ford Center Thursday night to perform live on the 58th ACM Awards, marking her win. The celebration aired live on the Amazon Music channel on Twitch, with Country Heat Weekly Podcast hosts Kelly Sutton and Amber Anderson emceeing the event. Two-time ACM Award winner and 2019 ACM New Female Artist of the Year winner Tenille Townes also performed for the packed crowd on Tostitos Championship Plaza.

Texas country fans filled the plaza at The Star throughout the day and well into the evening for live performances by exciting up-and-coming artists Ashley Cooke, Corey Kent, Randall King, Erin Kinsey, Chase Matthew, Ian Munsick, Neon Union, and Frank Ray. Artists performing on Wednesday (May 10th) include ACM New Male Artist of the Year nominees Dylan Scott and Nate Smith; ACM New Female Artist of the Year nominee Caitlyn Smith; ACM Music Event of the Year nominee MacKenzie Porter; as well as Chayce Beckham, Chapel Hart, Hannah Ellis, Tiera Kennedy, Catie Offerman, Josh Ross, and MaRynn Taylor.

Rehearsals for the 58th ACM Awards also took place on Tuesday with performers including Jason Aldean; Kane Brown; Jordan Davis; Jelly Roll; Cody Johnson; Ashley McBryde featuring Brandy Clark, Caylee Hammack, Pillbox Patti, and John Osborne; Cole Swindell and Jo Dee Messina; and Lainey Wilson, taking the stage in preparation for the globally livestreaming show on Thursday night. Many of those performers, as well as artists participating in the ACM Country Kickoff, also took part in ACM Awards Media Row, speaking with top country radio stations, syndicated shows, and groups from across the US, including a number of ACM Radio Awards winners.

It all leads up to the 58th ACM Awards, co-hosted by global superstars Dolly Parton and Garth Brooks, which will take place at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT on Thursday, May 11th at Ford Center at The Star and will be free to stream live for a global audience across 240+ countries and territories exclusively on Prime Video and the Amazon Music channel on Twitch. The full rebroadcast will stream the next day for free on Amazon Freevee. Dubbed ​​“Country Music’s Party of the Year,” the 2023 edition will mark Parton’s second consecutive appearance as host, with Brooks taking the stage to host a major awards show for the first time.

In addition to the events throughout the week of the ACM Awards, Dolly Parton will have an exclusive, limited-run pop-up store, Dolly! All Access, during ACM Awards Week through May 14th at The Star in Frisco, Texas. For the first time, global superstar Dolly Parton is bringing her brand partners together for a custom, curated shopping experience.


Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email: