MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR This award is based on an individual musical performance on a solo album or solo single release by a solo artist or named front man.
Russ Parrish is a singer/songwriter Nashville native who moved to Minnesota in 2016. Influenced by artists and bands like Switchfoot, NEEDTOBREATHE, and Phil Wickham, his desire is to write and play songs of hope that everyone can sing along.
Russ has won the 2018 John Lennon Songwriting Contest in the gospel category, he was the 1st Place winner of the 2017 Minnesota Sate Fair Amateur Talent Contest, and he's also won Honorable Mention in American Songwriter Magazine's lyric contest which can be found in the 2018 July/August issue.
Russ’ music focuses on the journey between faith and doubt, seeking the light of hope wherever darkness is found. His journey is heard in his songs.
“Where I see the sun, oh I know, I’ll find you there – in the glow.” - Glow
Runner Up on NBC’s THE VOICE / TOP 5 Country Song “Human” (iTunes TOP 100) / Featured in USA Today / Featured in Rolling Stone / #1 ROCK Song (iTunes) Singer and Songwriter Chris Kroeze connects with both the hearts and minds of audiences across various generations through his genuine country soul and his unique and alluring vocal delivery as he performs more than 200 shows per year. Kroeze performs all across the U.S. and internationally, including multiple tours overseas each year in support of our U.S. Armed Forces. Early in life, struggling to focus and control an “excessive” amount of energy, Kroeze’s father gave him a guitar for his sixth birthday. It was that day that his musical journey started as he seemed to connect deeply to something special, and zero his attention and energy into his music. From the first time he stepped on stage at his sixth grade talent show, he was hooked. His obsession with music took him from the stage at his Middle School talent show to audiences of tens of thousands and Kroeze’s career has continued to escalate year after year. Along with headlining the majority of his shows, he has also had the privilege of performing with and also sharing the stage with music superstars like Montgomery Gentry, The Doobie Brothers, Travis Tritt, Blake Shelton, Joe Nichols, The Lost Trailers, Chris Kagle, Josh Thompson, and many others. With overwhelming support of his home town of Barron, Wisconsin, Kroeze raised money to head to Nashville in 2014 and recorded his first single “Four Letter Words” at the famous Station West Recording Studio. That first single went on to receive heavy radio play throughout the Midwest and open numerous doors for the young musician. A call from the producers of NBC’s Emmy Award Winning television show, The Voice, catapulted Kroeze onto the National Stage this year. Kroeze’s combination of vocal and guitar skills, along with his humility and small town country boy nature, captured the hearts of millions of fans from coast to coast. With guidance from his coach and mentor Blake Shelton, he continued to wow audiences week after week. “His potential is limitless” said Maroon 5’s Adam Levine. Kroeze is set to release his new album early 2019. Kroeze lives in Barron, Wisconsin with his wife, daughter, son and their dog Meatloaf.
Check out www.benjohnsoncountry.com for music, photos, show dates, and more. Look for Ben on Itunes, Spotify, and Google Play, Amazon Music, and Pandora!
Jake Nelson — a singer/songwriter from St. Paul, Minnesota — has been making a splash in the Minnesota music scene since 2015 playing gigs across the state. His self-titled, independently-produced debut album, released in June 2017, has made some buzz and gotten radio play on a local, national and international level. Inspired by artists ranging from Lee Brice to Phil Collins to Frank Sinatra, his style is a unique blend of alternative country with a Jake spin. He’s had the honor of opening for and sharing the stage with Thompson Square, Rodney Atkins, Dylan Scott, The Swon Brothers, and Clare Dunn, as well as several talented local bands and musicians. If you haven’t heard his music, give it a listen – you may just find yourself a new favorite rising artist.