The Blues Music Foundation presented the 41st Annual Blues Music Awards via virtual ceremony on Sunday, May 3rd, 2020. A rising star in the international blues community, Sugaray Rayford, has won the prestigious B.B. King Entertainer of the Year and for the second consecutive year, nabbed the Soul Blues Male Artist Award. The singer was also nominated in four additional categories.
This past December, Rayford was nominated for a 2020 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album for the critically acclaimed Somebody Save Me, released in March 2019 on Forty Below Records.
These honors mark the latest in a series of awards that Rayford has won in the past year, including a pair of 2019 Muddy Awards for Best Performance and Best Recording, as well as a win for Blues Blast Magazine's Best Blues Band.
The accolades also follow a stream of critical kudos. Downbeat called Rayford a performer with “a soul-blues voice that has an emotional strength.” Albumism raved “A sound that’s undeniably fresh and inspired. Living Blues hailed him as “a soul singer who brilliantly weaves blues, jazz and gospel inflections into his soaring songs.” Blues Music Magazine agreed, describing Somebody Save Me as “an outstanding showcase of Sugaray Rayford’s great talent.”
Sugaray was blown away by his wins, "I am so honored and humbled that the fans of the blues have awarded me with The B.B. King Entertainer of the Year. And, winning Soul Blues Male Artist back to back years with the talent in that category is truly amazing! I am so grateful."
Eric Corne, Rayford’s writer and producer, added, “Seeing Sugar win The Entertainer of the Year on top of the Grammy nomination for “Somebody Save Me”, just makes me immensely proud."