DISTINGUISHED ARTIST RECIPIENT, 2017 GOVERNOR’S ARTS AWARDS
Vince Gill is a country singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He has earned 20 Grammy Awards, more than any other male country music artist. He has recorded 18 studio albums, charted over 40 singles on the U.S. Billboard charts and sold more than 26 million albums. He has earned 18 CMA Awards, including two “Entertainer of the Year” trophies, and co-hosted the nationally telecast CMA Awards show for 12 consecutive years. In 2007 he was one of the youngest artists ever to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
Originally from Norman, Oklahoma, it was Gill’s father who encouraged him to learn to play banjo and guitar, which he did along with bass, mandolin, dobro and fiddle. Throughout his teens, he performed with local bluegrass groups.
In 1978 Gill became the frontman for the country-rock band, Pure Prairie League. He wrote the hit single “Let Me Love You Tonight,” which reached No. 10 in the Pop charts and No. 1 in Adult Contemporary. Gill left the band in 1982 and signed to his first major-label record deal with RCA Records where he released his first country solo album, Turn Me Loose.
Five years later, Gill signed with MCA, a division of Universal Music Group. His first release on MCA was the traditional country album, When I Call Your Name, that sold over a million copies. The title track earned Gill a 1990 Grammy Award for Best Country Song and launched him as a leading artist in country music.
Gill continued to release a series of successful albums that produced hit singles such as “My Pretty Little Adriana,” and “Worlds Apart,” which won consecutive Grammy awards for Gill’s vocal performance. Gill also performed with many other notable artists, as he was in constant demand as a duet partner. In 2006 Gill produced These Days, a four-disc set that received the year’s Grammy Award for Best Country Album of the Year.
Since his induction to the Country Music Hall of Fame, Gill has served as president of the board, instituting a series of benefit concerts to raise funds for the recognition and preservation of America’s musical heritage in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. In November 2014 he received two awards for lifetime achievement from major music industry organizations: the Icon Award of the Broadcast Music Association and the Country Music Association’s Irving Waugh Award of Excellence. Gill has been recognized for his community involvement and participation in charity events, such as the annual Vince Gill Celebrity Basketball Game and the Vinny Pro-Celebrity Golf Invitational.
Special thanks to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the Tennessee Golf Foundation & the Vinny Invitational.
Edited by M.C. Seals; Directed by Suzanne Lynch.