A Bowdon High School graduate has been named Georgia Country’s Overall Artist of the Year for the second consecutive year.
Hunter Flanagan, 19, graduated from Bowdon High School when he was 15 years old. He plays the guitar, ukulele, banjo, drums, harp, mandolin, fiddle, and harmonica.
The country music singer released a single this year on Spotify, a music streaming platform, called “World’s Goin’ to Hell” that had been played nearly 95,000 times as of Monday afternoon.
On Friday, he captured the Overall Artist of the Year award at the 2020 Georgia Country Awards at The Crazy Bull, an entertainment venue in Macon, Georgia. This award was given by the Georgia Country organization.
This is the first time in history that an artist has not only won the award twice but has done so in two consecutive years, said Dan Seals, the founder of Georgia Country and the Georgia Country Awards.
“I was completely shocked and I’m still trying to process it,” Flanagan said in an interview with the Times-Georgian on Monday. “Especially with COVID, you always feel like you can be doing a little bit more. It was such a shock hearing my name and I’m still trying to process everything.”
During his career, he has been the opening act for musicians such as Gene Watson and Rhonda Vincent. He has also performed more than 40 solo performances across the Southeast since 2017 and has been featured at the Mill Town Music Hall in Bremen.
He got started as a musician with a weekly show at Six Flags over Georgia in Atlanta during the summer of 2014. In 2017, he placed second in the 2017 Georgia Country Teen Talent Search and Sixes Tavern in Cartersville and has played venues across Georgia and in Nashville.
Earlier this year, he was named as the USA Young Adult Artist of the Year by the 2020 International Singer-Songwriter Association and is a top-five finalist for the association’s Young Adult Artist of the Year award.
Flanagan said everything stopped when the coronavirus pandemic shut businesses down temporarily, but things are started to pick back up because he is playing gigs again in north and southern Georgia.
He plays a few times a week now and said he had to increase his traveling because his nearby regular venues are still closed or do not have the capacity for a musician to perform live with social distancing guidelines in place.
“Shows are starting to come back in with different guidelines, wearing masks and loading things in a completely different way,” he said. “There’s a whole new checklist to go through when doing gigs now. I definitely feel like I’ve been blessed compared to some people this year. I’ve still been able to gig and do what I love. The singing will always be the same.”