RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — For both Alicia Marie and Madison Jay, the nominations came as a surprise.

“I was like no! So, I checked the Instagram page, and I was like bruh,” Alicia Marie said while smiling.

They recently found out that they are Carolina Music Awards nominees. The event recognizes artists from the Carolinas in a variety of genres.

“To be nominated and I didn’t know I got the full nomination. So, that actually took me back,” Madison Jay said.

Alicia Marie is a rapper, singer, and poet. She is originally from New York but has lived in Durham for half her life.

“I think singing and stuff is more fluid for me in a way, but rapping is a lot of fun for me. I like kind of piecing everything together,” she said.

Marie said her musical influences growing up were Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu. She went from being homeless a few years ago to being nominated for best new artist.

“[My song] Speechless I wrote in the back of my car. I consider it to be kind of like my story,” Marie said.

Madison Jay is Raleigh born and bred.

“Just the ’90s were just a mega influence for me,” he said.

The rapper is nominated for best male hip-hop. He has been featured in XXL and The Source magazines.

He said his musical journey started in high school. Jay said he would rap and write with friends he still works with today.

“Just to see those origins and to see where I’m at now [and] for people to understand that story that’s a blessing,” he said.

Both artists said they want to continue to push North Carolina hip hop forward.

“The talent here is very rich. I’m a big slice, but at the end of the day there are other slices out there,” Jay said.

You still have time to vote on the nominees. To vote and learn more information on the CMA’s, click here.

The awards will take place on August 6 at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts.