Keith Urban’s boundary-pushing album Ripcord has spawned several top country singles and led him to pick up seven nominations, including entertainer of the year and album of the year at this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards.
Lady Antebellum announced the nominations for the awards show, which will be held in April in Las Vegas and aired live on US channel CBS.
Keith, who is married to Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman, is also nominated for male vocalist of the year, single record of the year and song of the year.
With strong pop, dance and R&B influences, Keith’s album has dominated country radio over the past year, with four singles reaching the top six on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.
Keith, who performed his newest single The Fighter at the Grammys last Sunday with Carrie Underwood, said the entertainer of the year nomination is an acknowledgement of great live performances.
“I have been a musician since I was six and playing on stage since I was like seven,” Keith told The Associated Press. “I have always loved performing on stage, being an entertainer. So that category has always been the highest honour imaginable.”
He added that great performances are all about being “in the flow”, and mentioned Adele’s performance at the Grammys when she restarted her tribute to George Michael.
“She had this incredible courage to stop it in the middle of a live show and say, ‘Let me get this thing right,’” Keith said. “It was the most extraordinary thing I have ever seen on a live TV show.”
Six-time nominee Miranda Lambert could make history again as she is nominated for female vocalist of the year, which she has won a record seven years in a row. She is also nominated for album of the year for her double album, The Weight of These Wings, single record of the year, song of the year and video of the year.
Coming off her Grammy win for best country solo performance, Maren Morris tied Lambert with six nominations, including album of the year for HERO. She also is nominated as female vocalist of the year, new female vocalist of the year and single record of the year for her song, My Church.
Competing with Keith for entertainer of the year will be last year’s winner, Jason Aldean, along with Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line and Carrie.
Florida Georgia Line and Tim McGraw both have five nominations each, including a shared nomination for vocal event of the year for their collaboration on the song May We All.
Bryan and Dierks Bentley, who has three nominations, return to host the awards for a second time together. Thomas Rhett and Chris Stapleton also each have three nominations.