Chris Stapleton’s ‘Starting Over’ Named Song of the Year at 2021 CMA Awards 

Chris Stapleton nabbed the trophy for CMA Song of the Year for his track “Starting Over “ at the 55th…


Lauren Jo Black

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November 10, 2021


7:45 pm

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Chris Stapleton; Photo Courtesy CMA

Chris Stapleton nabbed the trophy for CMA Song of the Year for his track “Starting Over “ at the 55th Annual CMA Awards on Wednesday. 

Stapleton was on hand to accept the trophy alongside co-writer Mike Henderson from special guest presenters and American Idol judges Katy Perry and Lionel Richie alongside Idol cohort Luke Bryan. 

Stapleton appeared to be shocked to receive the award and after showing his gratitude for his big win, he handed the mic over to his co-writer, Mike Henderson.

“Wow, okay. Thank you, thank you very much,” the Kentucky native said. “I’m going to give it over to one of my heroes Mike Henderson… This man showed me how to write songs… “

“Starting Over” is the title track of Stapleton’s latest album. The track hit No.1 in April of 2021, marking the iconic artist’s second No.1 single at country radio

Other tracks up for CMA Song of the included Luke Combs’ “Forever After All,” Eric Church’s “Hell Of A View,” Ashley McBryde’s “One Night Standards,” and Gabby Barrett’s “The Good Ones.”

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The official CMA Awards website states: “This Award goes to the songwriter(s) and is for artistic achievement in songwriting.  Any Country Music song with original words and music is eligible based upon the song’s Country singles chart activity during the eligibility period.” 

The eligibility period for the 2021 show is July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.

The 55th Annual CMA Awards featured performances from Luke Combs, Jimmie Allen, Gabby Barrett, Brothers Osborne, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Dan + Shay, Jennifer Hudson, Miranda Lambert, Old Dominion, Thomas Rhett, Blake Shelton, Chris Stapleton, Keith Urban, and Zac Brown Band.

Additionally, the show included star-studded collaborations by Chris Young and Kane Brown, Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde, Mickey Guyton, Brittney Spencer and Madeline Edwards, Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, BRELAND and HARDY. 

Country singers Trace Adkins, Ingrid Andress, Kelsea Ballerini, Deana Carter, Russell Dickerson, Florida Georgia Line, Alan Jackson, Lady A, Scotty McCreery, Darius Rucker, Lainey Wilson, and Trisha Yearwood were on hand to present during the ceremony.

Lauren Daigle, Faith Fennidy, Freddie Freeman, Amy Grant, Dulé Hill, Elle King, Zachary Levi, Hayley Orrantia, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, Susan Sarandon, Saycon Sengbloh and Kurt Warner also made special appearances throughout the broadcast. 

Hosted by Luke Bryan, the 2021 CMA Awards broadcasted live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 10 at 8/7c on ABC. 

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.