Morgan Wallen’s 11 trophies and Taylor Swift’s 10 wins lead Nashville favorites to impressive achievements at Nov. 19 event celebrating chart success
Via his 11 wins at Sunday night’s 2023 Billboard Music Awards (BBMAs), Morgan Wallen’s recent combination of radio, sales and streaming acclaim has reached unparalleled success for country music in pop’s mainstream.
The Sneedville, Tennessee native’s haul of 11 awards nearly matched Drake’s record-setting 12 award wins in 2019.
Overall, Wallen was nominated for 16 awards.
In other Nashville-related news, Taylor Swift won 10 BBMAs on Nov. 19, while Drake achieved five victories. Thus, the two artists are tied with 39 overall BBMA trophies in their careers.
Taylor Swift won the Top (Overall) Artist award and ten trophies overall. In her acceptance speech, she said, “The fact that you guys have given me 10 Billboard Awards…I’m talking to the fans specifically; none of this happens without you. Billboard base(s) everything off of what you are listening to and what you are passionate about, and I am so honored that this year you made “The Eras Tour” so magical. You went and saw the movie, you cared about my re-recordings…I love you so much; I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have you in my corner and caring about the music that I make, so thank you, thank you, thank you, 10 million times.”
Country music’s top overall Billboard Music Award winner in the awards’ nearly three decades of existence since 1990 (the awards took a hiatus between 2007-2010) is Garth Brooks, who has 20 wins.
Wallen four previous BBMA wins are added to his 11 wins on Nov. 19 to equal his new career total of 15 awards. He’s now, among country performers, second to Brooks.
Wallen’s victories included both the top Billboard 200 album (March 2023’s “One Thing at a Time”) and the top Hot 100 song (“Last Night”). It marks the first time in two decades that the same artist has won both awards (Usher’s 2004 wins for “Confessions” and Lil Jon and Ludacris duet “Yeah!”).
Wallen also won for top male artist, top Billboard 200 artist, top Billboard Hot 100 artist, top streaming songs artist, top country (overall) artist, top male country artist, top country touring artist, top country album and top country song.
Summer 2023 saw, for the first time in 42 years, two country singles as America’s No. 1 and No. 2 singles on Billboard’s Hot 100 charts. Wallen’s “Last Night” spent over three consecutive months on top of the countdown, while Luke Combs’ cover of Tracy Chapman’s 1989 Grammy-winning top-ten folk-rock single “Fast Car” topped the charts at July’s onset. Bason Aldean’s “Try That In A Small Town” and Oliver Anthony’s “Rich Men North of Richmond” joined the pair as Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hits. by the fall
2023 marked the first year the awards were not presented at a live event. Therefore, Wallen received his 11 awards simultaneously while onstage at Atlanta’s Truist Park (where he’d just played “One Day At A Time” tour dates on Nov. 10-11, 2023) performing his “One Thing At A Time” album song “’98 Braves” at the home of the track’s title subject, Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves.
The song is about the 1998 Braves team that fell short of reaching the 1998 World Series as the San Diego Padres defeated the Braves in that year’s National League Championship Series.
“’98 Braves” players, including pitchers Tom Glavine and John Smoltz, were in attendance alongside Wallen’s fans to watch the performance.
Only two weeks removed from leaving 2023’s Country Music Association (CMA) Awards empty-handed after three nominations, the “Thought You Should Know” vocalist offered the following statement:
“Like the song says, ‘You win some, you lose some,’ the last award show I went to, we came home empty-handed and this one — I don’t have enough hands for ’em all…You took a boy from East Tennessee driving a two-door Toyota Tacoma and turned me into one of Billboard’s top artists, so God Bless y’all.”
Notably as well, Joey Moi, Big Loud Records co-founder and acclaimed producer of “One Thing A Time,” won for Hot 100 Producer of the Year.
Wallen was nominated for 16 Billboard Music Awards and won 11. Combined at membership association-nominated awards like the Academy of Country Music Awards, CMA Awards and Grammys, Wallen achieved seven nominations between 2023’s ACM and CMA awards and 2024’s forthcoming Grammys. He has one victory at 2023’s ACM Awards (male artist of the year) among those nominations.
The Billboard Music Awards finalists are based on album and digital song sales, streaming, radio airplay, touring, and social engagement rather than association member vote tallies.
In other country-related Billboard Music Awards news, Zach Bryan won four BBMAs, including for top new artist, top rock artist, top rock album (2022’s “American Heartbreak”) and top rock song (“Something in the Orange”). Luke Combs was nominated in 10 categories but received no BBMAs.