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Best Female Vocalist 

Lauren Hall

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Ruta Smith

Readers Pick

Born and raised in Charleston, singer-songwriter Lauren Hall is proud of her roots. While she’d eventually like to move to Nashville, right now she’s loving Lowcountry living and she’s proud of this city’s thriving cultural scene. “A lot of people come to enjoy the beauty, history, and food of course, but I love how our town has become so known for the arts as well. We have such a great music scene here and I love being a part of this community,” said Hall. With a sound described as “acoustic-driven,” Hall’s influences include classic country stars like Dolly Parton, Alison Krauss and the Dixie Chicks. She has opened for notable country musicians including Travis Tritt, Tracy Lawrence, Maddie & Tae and LANCO, among others. Hall has been playing gigs since she was just 16 years old, so she knows a thing or two about performing, especially in a wide variety of venues. She said she’s learned the most playing in more intimate settings: “You learn to appreciate that one person who is listening intently, and you perform just for them if that’s your only audience that night.” Whether she’s playing for three people or 3,000 Hall doesn’t let the size of the audience or the stage get to her. “Never let the room or atmosphere make you less of a performer,” she said. You can now listen to Hall’s latest single, “Gone,” which our music editor Heath Ellison described as an “empowering breakup tune fit for the radio.” —Connelly Hardaway

Runner-Up: Emily Curtis

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