Gastonia-based musician Garrett Huffman won the Carolina Country Music Association’s 2024 North and South Carolina Entertainer of the year award after months of playing music and gaining support from the community.
Huffman’s music career began during the pandemic when he taught himself how to play guitar.
He quickly landed a record deal and began playing live music at several locations across Gaston County.
In May of 2023, Huffman learned that he had been nominated for the award and would be competing against several other artists in North and South Carolina for the chance to receive the award at the CCMA Country Music Awards.
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All nominees underwent round after round of eliminations until the final month when it came down to just Huffman, Taylor Richardson, Dalton Davis, Velvet Rodeo, Jordan Pickett and Nicholas Vernon.
All of these artists and more than 20 others had a chance to perform at the awards show, which was held at the House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach on Sunday, Jan. 20.
Huffman won the title with the largest number of votes ever cast in the history of the CCMA’s Entertainer of the Year award.
After winning, Huffman had to give a speech to the crowd, which the Carolina Country Music Association believes to have been roughly 2,500 people.
“I had some bullet points I wrote down in my phone before I went up there of people to thank and stuff… In the moment my mind went completely blank,” Huffman said.
As the newly crowned Entertainer of the Year, Huffman will have the opportunity to perform live at the South Carolina Entertainment & Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony in April at Furman College in Greenville, South Carolina.
In the meantime, he and his team will continue working on songs and playing live music at the usual local spots like Pita Wheel and Hickory Tavern.
“Thank you to my Lord and savior Jesus Christ who allows me to do this, and a big thank you to everybody who voted or shared and we’re super blessed to have such a tight-knit community of hope around here and just an amazing support system,” Huffman said.