The 5 Best Male Vocalists in Dallas-Fort Worth in 2016

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With the 28th annual Dallas Observer Music Awards just around the corner, we will spend the next several weeks highlighting some of the nominees for this year’s awards. And when we say these artists are the “Best,” don’t just take our word for it: We polled 200 local music experts to pull together the nominees this year, so they come on pretty good authority.

There's pretty stiff competition to be found in the ranks of this year's DOMAs, but one of the deepest fields of talent can be found in the Best Male Vocalist category. Between them, the five nominees picked up no fewer than 7 trophies at the 2015 DOMAs (and were nominated for several more), with one of them even getting nominated for a Grammy. So, this deck is stacked. Who are they though, exactly? 

Charley Crockett

On the surface, Charley Crockett has the look of a quintessential, ramblin’ musician. His train-hopping, busking street cred, mixed in with some true, blue American hero lineage (Davy Crockett was his ancestor) are more than enough to earn your attention. But Crockett is more than just an aesthetic tribute to his musical influences — his brand of blues takes listeners on a raw, velvety tour of the music that built America.

Since winning the DOMA’s 2015 Best Blues Act award, Crockett released his sophomore album, In the Night. His single from that album, "I Am Not Afraid,” debuted on National Public Radio and he is currently in the middle of his first-ever North American tour. And this DOMA season, he’s nominated for four categories, including Best Album, Best Song and Best Blues Act.

Daniel Hart

It’s rare to find a musician as seasoned as Daniel Hart with all of the bright-eyed, excitement typically reserved for up-and-coming artists — but that’s exactly what can be expected from him. The multi-faceted composer has been a longstanding contributor to the ever-evolving DFW music scene, both with his band Dark Rooms as well as a solo artist, who just composed the score for this year’s remake of Pete’s Dragon.

In addition to his own music, Hart has been known to give a hand to his fellow artists. He even helped another local artist by the name of Annie Clark get a gig with the Polyphonic Spree, prior to her solo career as St. Vincent. All that being said, it’s no wonder that Hart made the cut for this year’s nominees in the category — the same one he won in 2012.

Daniel Markham

Daniel Markham is one of the most prolific songwriters in DFW and he’s worked with everyone from Claire Morales to the Baptist Generals. And while most probably know more for him for more of his country, folk and rock vibes, he dropped a black metal EP awhile back under his alter ego Larry Legion. In between his own musical endeavors, Markham pays the bills by molding the young musical minds of tomorrow at Frisco’s School of Rock.

While Markham was nominated for a DOMA last year for Best Rock Act, he’s nominated in three categories the time around, including Best Song and Best Music Video, but he joins some distinguished company here in the running for Best Male Vocalist.

Dezi 5

We could probably all agree that Dezi 5 is Dallas’ favorite sexual deviant. Almost always clad in some of the fiercest sartorial combinations available (typically some mix of leather and fishnets), Dezi 5 has been injecting our music scene with the kind of unapologetic, provocative pop music that a city of this caliber deserves. Oh, and his live shows are nothing to fuck with, especially since he added backup dancer.

For all his showmanship, though, Dezi is one talented singer, and he was also nominated in this category last year. While he lost out to fellow nominee Leon Bridges, he’s back this year with a vengeance — and four nominations, including Best Pop Act and Best Live Act. But that shouldn’t surprise anyone really, because, to coin his phrase, this is “Dallas, Bitch!”

Leon Bridges

Speaking of Bridges, the Grammy-nominated Fort Worth native is no stranger to the DOMAs. The 26 year-old former dishwasher came away from last year’s awards ceremony with 6 wins, including Best Male Vocalist and Best Album. Not only that but, since being signed by Columbia Records in 2014, Bridges has been consistently blowing away audiences with his debut album, Coming Home; he even made it onto President Obama’s 2016 Summer Playlist.

This time around, Bridges is nominated for two DOMAs, the other one being Best Funk/R&B Act. With his soulful, saccharine voice combined with all of the charm the DFW has to offer, Bridges is a undoubtedly one to watch this awards season.

Vote now for the Best Male Vocalist and many other categories at 2016musicawardspoll.dallasobserver.com.

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