NM-based musician Austin Van earns recognition at Josie Music Awards

NM-based musician Austin Van earns recognition at Josie Music Awards
New Mexico musician Austin Van recently won Artist of the Year at the Josie Music Awards in Nashville, Tennessee. Van will perform two shows at the Route 66 Casino Hotel on Friday, December 30th and Saturday, December 31st. (Courtesy of Janet Reynolds Photography)

Austin Van is no stranger to hard work.

Music has always been at the forefront for the New Mexico native.

As Van’s 2022 comes to a close, he has much to be proud of.

In October, the 24-year-old musician traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, to attend the Josie Music Awards at The Grand Ole Opry. The awards are given to independent artists and he was nominated for four – single of the year, fans’ choice, artist of the year and rising star of the year

He won song of the year for his song, “Driving Me Out Of Your Mind.”

“It was a good experience,” he says. “It was nerve-racking to be there with all my peers. I never thought I would be known like this.”

Van will perform two shows at Route 66 Casino – one on Friday, December 30 and Saturday, December 31

He released his latest album, Music Road, in 2020.

When he’s not performing in New Mexico, Van is usually writing or spending time with his father.

“Whenever I write, my dad is an experienced writer, so he’ll give me advice,” he says. “One of the things I’m good at is finding songs. If I can get a good title or tune, then it becomes part of the story.”

Van lives in Ponderosa, near Jemez.

He always grew up wanting to be a musician.

By the time he was 18, he decided to do it.

“I thought to myself, ‘I might as well try music now,'” he says, laughing. “I always had a feeling that music would be my career. If I didn’t do that, I’d probably be a teacher.”

The trip to Nashville opened Van’s eyes to the impact he is making on people through music.

He knows that when he performs in New Mexico, he is always supported.

To travel overseas and see that his music is not only transcending but pushing boundaries is humbling.

“The music comes from me and I’m not afraid to tell a story,” he says. “This is how we connect. During the pandemic, I was unable to play live shows. I think we all took live entertainment for granted. I’ve been very lucky to be back on stage and doing what I love.”

Van credits being able to play shows at a young age to help build a thick skin.

“It’s a tough business to be in,” he says. “A lot of us make music because that’s what appeals to us. I grew up listening to rock and roll, Buddy Holly and music from the 50’s and 60’s. I love troubadours because they can tell a story through song. That’s what I hope to do.”

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