Arkansas Tech University alumnus Lance Carpenter is the 2019 Arkansas Country Music Awards country artist of the year.
He received the honor during an awards ceremony on Monday, June 3.
"It is truly an honor to be able to represent country music in Arkansas along with all the other nominees and winners," wrote Carpenter on his Facebook page. "Thank you to everyone who voted for me and to so many who have already reached out I really appreciate it. I especially want to thank my band who I shared the stage with. Couldn’t do this without y’all and all my family who were in attendance."
Originally from Ozark, Carpenter graduated from Arkansas Tech in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science degree in emergency administration management. He was a member of the 1999 Wonder Boys football team that won the Gulf South Conference championship and made the institution’s first appearance in the NCAA Division II Playoffs.
In addition to his success in the classroom and on the football field, Carpenter picked up a skill that would be important to his future while a student at Arkansas Tech. He taught himself how to play guitar.
Carpenter’s musical aspirations led him to move to Nashville, Tenn., in 2011. He landed a publishing contract within 18 months of arriving in town and released his self-titled debut album in 2013.
He co-wrote “Love Me Like You Mean It,” which was recorded by Kelsea Ballerini in 2015 and became the first debut song by a female artist to go to No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart since 2006.
Carpenter signed with Toby Keith’s Show Dog Nashville label in 2017. His debut single on Show Dog, "Anyone Else," has earned more than 1 million streaming plays online and a place on the regular video rotation on CMT.
He returned home to Arkansas Tech to perform a concert during Homecoming 2018.