The Iowa native is joined in the prestigious category by Zach Bryan, Parker McCollum, Jelly Roll and Megan Moroney, with some commentators and critics already choosing Hailey Whitters as their favourite ahead of the November ceremony.
Nonetheless, it'll undoubtedly be a fiercely contested grouping, with Zach Bryan and Jelly Roll sure to be frontrunner for the coveted accolade, given how quickly both artists has surged into the genre's upper echelon over the the past 12 months.
Megan Moroney has also enjoyed a stellar year, with the fast-emerging artist having picked up her first No. 1 single at Country Radio in June for the witty, football-themed anthem, ‘Tennessee Orange’.
It may be surprising to see Parker McCollum's name of the list, with the ‘Pretty Heart’ songsmith having already established himself over the past couple of years as a widely recognised name in country music. If anything, though, this fact will make him an even more formidable contestant when it comes to deciding the 2023 CMA Awards winners.
Nonetheless, those in Hailey Whitters’ camp will point to her recently Platinum-certified single, ‘Everything She Ain't’, as well as the fact that she was crowned 2023 ACM New Female Artist of the Year, as strong reasons why she deserves the CMA title.
The 2023 CMA Awards are due to take place on Wednesday, November 8 in Nashville, with Lainey Wilson earning more nominations than any other artist with nine. Jelly Roll follows on five, while HARDY and Luke Combs both pick up four nods apiece.
Excitingly, many artists will arrive in Music City alongside Hailey Whitters with their first ever nomination under their belt, including The War and Treaty, Zach Bryan and Megan Moroney.
For more on the CMA Awards 2023, see below:
Featured photo by Devyn King