It’s easy to see why Morgan Wallen feels insulted at being banned from this Sunday’s American Music Awards ceremony.
If you aren’t familiar with the country singer from Gatlinburg, Tennessee, then he and his single, “Up Down,” are so huge that even after the 47-year-old singer’s sudden elevation to international fame — in part because he was thrust to the top of Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart on Sept. 29, and onto Billboard’s Hot 100 for seven straight weeks later in September — he hasn’t been invited onto the show.
The reason? According to Wallen, someone from Nashville felt that if he were even invited to an awards show, he would take a page from another country star: Luke Bryan. According to a post he made to his Twitter account Wednesday, he’s been told that he is not eligible to attend because “I’ve already won a Country Music Award.”
But Wallen isn’t likely to be feeling ignored by AMAs insiders — the singer has been nominated for two total awards, with nods for single of the year and favorite country album for “Up Down.” And even though he’s not able to go to the show, it doesn’t appear he’s been disqualified from other awards shows — he’s been nominated for “Favorite Country Album” at the recently wrapped CMA Awards and also for the Academy of Country Music’s “Favorite Country Album” prize at the upcoming 2019 ACM Awards. And it’s his third consecutive nomination for “Favorite Country Song” at the CMA Awards, which has doubled as the country-music equivalent of the Oscars this year.
In a later tweet, Wallen responded to questions from country fans wondering why he wasn’t invited to the AMAs, saying that no one from his camp was able to reach anyone in the show’s production team, so there wasn’t an official response. But Wallen took it a step further when he also compared himself to Amazon’s gender-free ads — which are featured on the ad for Wallen’s song “Up Down” — by saying he has never had a confirmation from anyone that he’s been nominated.
When another Twitter user suggested that Wallen’s absence was based on his too-popularness, the singer shot back: “I feel I deserve to be there and have to prove myself. But if I was too popular, I couldn’t make a record.”
Wallen has been a longtime country musician, even forming his own band at age 17, with “Up Down” being the first single he ever wrote. In 2015, he performed a spellbinding cover of “La Bamba” on “Today,” and the song started a national debate about whether “La Bamba” could be considered a country song.
He told The Boot earlier this year that he’s hoping to release new music in October, and that he’s almost finished with the first album.
“I want to take those songs and bring them to life in the way they were supposed to be, and my fans are gonna love them no matter where they are!” he said.