Watch Keith Urban Surprise Gabby Barrett with ACM Female Artist of the Year Win

Gabby Barrett got the surprise of a lifetime on Thursday morning (April 8) when Keith Urban surprised her with the…


Lauren Jo Black

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April 8, 2021


10:06 am

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Gabby Barrett got the surprise of a lifetime on Thursday morning (April 8) when Keith Urban surprised her with the news that she has been crowned ACM New Female Artist of the Year.

“Gabby, it’s Keith Urban here with some mighty fine news,” Urban told Barrett in a video message. “I’m here to let you know that you are the winner of the ACM New Female Artist Of The Year. Congratulations Gabby, very very happy for you and you get to play on the ACMs as well, so I will see you there!”

Barrett was overcome with excitement upon hearing the news. 

“Oh my gosh, now I know why you told me to put on my makeup and get dressed,” an emotional Barrett said. “Yay! I’m so happy oh my gosh, thank you so much. I love everybody!”

Also nominated in the New Female Artist Of The Year category were Ingrid Andress, Tenille Arts, Mickey Guyton and Caylee Hammack.


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A post shared by Academy of Country Music (ACM) (@acmawards)

Jimmie Allen was announced as the winner of the ACM New Male Artist of the Year category on Thursday morning as well.

“We are thrilled to present Jimmie Allen and Gabby Barrett with their first ACM Award wins. Jimmie and Gabby have experienced tremendous success at both Country Radio and streaming already, and we are proud to recognize them for such an extraordinary start to their careers,” said Damon Whiteside, CEO of the Academy of Country Music. “A huge congratulations to each of them for this well-deserved win, and to all of our nominees for being recognized for their incredible contributions to Country Music. We look forward to welcoming Jimmie and Gabby to the ACM Awards stage on April 18.”

The “I Hope” singer has been added to the star-studded list of ACM Awards performers, which also includes Kelsea Ballerini, Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, Chris Young, Kane Brown and more. 

Co-hosted by 15-time ACM Award winner Keith Urban and New Female Artist Of The Year nominee Mickey Guyton, the star-studded event will air on Wednesday, April 18 (live 8:00-11:00 PM ET/delayed PT) on CBS Television Network and will be streamed live and on-demand on Paramount+ and CBS All Access.

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.