The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame officially announced its Class of 2021 this week, naming Amy Grant, Toby Keith, Rhett Akins, Buddy Cannon and John Scott Sherrill as its newest set of inductees. The five songwriters will be inducted in different categories — Akins and Cannon are in the songwriter category, Scott Sherrill is in the veteran songwriter category, Keith is the songwriter/artist and Grant is the veteran songwriter/artist.
Grant's induction will make her half of two married couples in the Hall of Fame. She is married to Vince Gill, who was inducted in 2005, and the other couple is Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, who were inducted in 1972. "I'm thrilled to be included in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Class of 2021 and honored to be part of such a vibrant songwriting community," Grant shared on Instagram next to a photo of herself with the rest of the Class of 2021, minus Keith, who was unable to attend the announcement. "I want to encourage anybody who has ever had a creative thought, your voice is unique to you and the world needs your stories." Grant has amassed hits in multiple genres including Christian and pop including "Baby Baby" and "The Next Time I Fall."
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Keith released his first single in 1993, the self-penned "Should've Been a Cowboy," and followed with a string of hits that he wrote or co-wrote including "How Do You Like Me Now?!," "You Shouldn't Kiss Me Like This," "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue" and "As Good as I One Was." He was named BMI's 2001 Songwriter of the Year, 2004 Writer/Artist of the Year and 2006 Songwriter of the Year and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York in 2015.
Akins was an artist who scored hits like "That Ain't My Truck" and has since transitioned to become an incredibly successful songwriter, penning hits for artists like Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Jon Pardi and his son, Thomas Rhett. Cannon has been writing songs for decades, with cut hits including Vern Gosdin's "Set 'Em Up Joe" in 1988 and George Strait's "Give it Away" in 2006, as well as songs by Billy Ray Cyrus and Craig Morgan. Some of Sherrill's cuts including Brooks & Dunn's "How Long Gone," Shenandoah's "The Church on Cumberland Road" and John Anderson's "Wild And Blue."
The Class of 2021 will be inducted on Nov. 1 as part of the 50/51 Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala, which will also celebrate 2020 inductees Kent Blazy, Steve Earle, Bobbie Gentry, Brett James and Spooner Oldham, as the 2020 ceremony was postponed due to the pandemic.