By Erin Duvall, Radio.com
ACM Awards co-host Luke Bryan has come a long way from the Southern Georgia boy who moved to Nashville with a vision board that held his dream of signing a recording contract. These days, he’s one of the most recognizable artists in country music, and popular music in general. From his look to his sound, he’s one of the most recognizable faces and voices in American culture today.
If Bryan’s success is any indication, he’s appealing to a wide spectrum of country fans. Since his debut, the Georgia native has earned fifteen No. 1 hits. His Tailgates and Tanlines and Crash My Party albums have each received double platinum certifications from the RIAA for sales exceeding two million units each.
He’s also taken over the highly coveted spot as co-host of the ACM Awards ceremony. For the past two years, he’s stood beside Blake Shelton, the senior co-host (who spent two years co-hosting with Reba McEntire). This year, Bryan becomes the senior on stage, welcoming newcomer Dierks Bentley as a co-host.
The primetime exposure has helped Bryan to become an ambassador for country music to mainstream culture. In February, the father of two performed alongside Demi Lovato, Meghan Trainor and John Legend to pay tribute to Lionel Richie at the annual GRAMMY Awards ceremony.
In 2015, Bryan scored three consecutive No. 1 singles: “Kick Up the Dust,” “Strip it Down” and “Home Alone Tonight,” the latter featuring Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild.
Bryan is a quintessential piece of country music as genre as it stands in 2016. He has sold more than seven million albums, and earned a solid, devoted fan base. Most recently, his efforts to become a TV personality have widened the mediums in which he can entertain and broaden his influence in bringing more and more people to the genre that made his dreams come true. Might it be overkill to award Bryan with the ACM’s most prestigious award for the third time? Perhaps. But in 2016, no one has their finger on the pulse of mainstream country music as Bryan does.
The ACM Awards air live from MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sunday, April 3rd at 8:00pm ET on CBS.