Special recognition will also be given to guitarist/musician/producer Stevie Salas as this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. Salas is an American born rock guitarist of Apache descent. With humble beginnings, Salas’ unique heavy funk/rock guitar styling’s quickly helped him make a name for himself in music industry circles in the late 1980s. After 20 years in the business, Salas’ talent and swagger have earned him great respect in the music world as a studio and concert musician. He has recorded, toured with, written, produced and directed many record industry greats including; Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart, George Clinton and Justin Timberlake.
A plethora of new up-and-comers were nominated alongside established artists and previous winners throughout a diverse array of 30 music categories spanning all genres. This year’s leading nominee is classical guitarist Gabriel Ayala (Yaqui) with five nominations surrounding his three recordings; “Portraits,” “Allegro” and “Tango!” Three of those nominations are in the World music category and the other two in Instrumental and Male Artist.
Following up with four nominations each are: Apryl Allen (Comanche) with “Na Unu Nahai” (Shape Shifter) for Debut Artist, Pop, Record of the Year and Song/Single of the Year; Bryan Akipa (Dakota Sioux) with “Songs From The Black Hills” for Flutist, Male, New Age and Record of the Year; Jana Mashonee (Lumbee) with her recording “A Change Is Gonna Come” for Pop, Best Video and Song/Single as well as for her release, “New Moon Born” which earned her Artist of the Year; and Joanne Shenandoah (Oneida) and Michael Bucher (Cherokee) for their recording “Bitter Tears Sacred Ground.” Together they share nods for Record of the Year and Best Compilation. Shenandoah earned Best Female and Song/Single for the track, “Riding Free.” Bucher earned Best Video for his single, “Don’t Forget About Me,” and Best Male.