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Darrell Harwood wins Carolina Music Award

CHINA GROVE — Darrell Harwood of China Grove won the award for country male singer of the year at the Carolina Music Awards ceremony Saturday at Fletcher Opera Theater in Raleigh.

“I thought that was pretty cool,” Harwood said Monday afternoon. “I’ve been fortunate.”

He attended the ceremony with his wife, Karen, and daughters Tayler and Sarrah. “My oldest daughter started to cry,” he said.

Harwood, 45, son of Sharon and Ronnie Harwood, grew up hearing his father sing. He put on his own first performance in May 2010 at a fundraiser for his brother-in-law, who had cancer.

Evidently a lot of folks liked what they heard. “It blew up,” he said, with increasing requests for him to sing at festivals and other events. His family and fans have been supportive.

Harwood does about 130 shows a year with his band, which consists of Eric Upton and Chip Coleman on guitar, Chad Talbert on bass and Junior Howell on the drums.

They have talked about recording an album, but Harwood stays busy with his day job. He has worked 20 years for Carolina Products in Charlotte.

Harwood loves to perform, and he followed Saturday’s awards ceremony with a special event on Sunday — a show for Special Olympics athletes, held at West End Plaza. “Those kids’ll break your heart,” he said.

The Carolina Music Awards organization takes nominations from the public, chooses the final nominees and lets fans vote online. This year’s voting went through July 18.

Harwood was up against several other singers for the award. This was his first nomination, and he said he has yet to find out who nominated him.

The awards recognize Carolina artists in rock, hip hop, youth, bluegrass, Americana, country and R&B.

Other winners were:

Hip Hop Male – Jackie Spade

Best New Artist – OC from NC

Hip Hop Female – Mosca Flux

Hip Hop Group – Free The Optimus

R&B Male – Quentin Rashad

R&B Female – J Safina

Rock Male – Drake Murphy

Rock Female – Lauren Nicole

Rock Band/Group – The Reason You Stayed

Country Female – Faith Bardill

Country Band/Group – Louis Waymore

Americana / Bluegrass – Henry River Honey

Model – Janetlys Rodriguez

Producer – Raymond Maxwell

Video Hip Hop / R&B – Love is a Lie – Cody Daniel

Video Rock / Country – The Only Guy – Tiffany Ashton

Youth – Marye Amanda

Youth Video – Abby Stephens – Best Day Ever

DJ – DJ Wade Banner

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