Country Champion Wynonna Judd Delivers Powerful Speech At People’s Choice Country Awards
“Regardless of what has happened to me and who, I show up and I show out,” she shared from the stage.
Wynonna Judd; Photo by: Mickey Bernal/NBC
Wynonna Judd received the Country Champion Award during the inaugural People’s Choice Country Awards and delivered an inspiring speech from the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in honor of the occasion.
John and TJ Osborne of Brothers Osborne were on hand to present Wynonna with the award, which celebrates her “decades-long career and heroic efforts around philanthropy and activism.”
Brothers Osborne Presents
The award-winning duo shared, “We know her as one of the greatest artists in country music history and her legend reaches far beyond her chart-topping hits. She’s an artist, activist, philanthropist, champion. Her spirit, her soul and her strength are an inspiration, the definition of a she-ro. She’s about to kick off her Back to Wy Tour featuring songs from her first two blockbuster solo albums…It’s our honor to present the country champion award to Wynonna.”
Wynonna reflected on her humble beginnings as the audience watched on in awe.
“I graduated high school in 1982. In 1983, I got a record deal with RCA Records and I got on a Silver Eagle bus with my mama and did her hair every night for 10 years for free. It started there. Of course, 10 years later, she would have to retire and I would go on to make country music ‘her-story.’ And thanks to the fans, I didn’t give up then, I would have another 10 years, a second career.”
She went on to openly discuss the loss of her mother in April 2022, which shook the lives of their family and the country music community.
“Then on [April] the 30th of last year, my mother committed suicide. I went to her house and she died there, but we followed the ambulance anyway to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. I walked into the room and I held her in my arms and I kissed her on the forehead, shut her eyes, and said, ‘I love you, mom.’ I walked out of that room, went home, got up the next morning and showed up at the Country Music Hall of Fame to be inducted into the Hall of Fame,” Wynonna recalled.
“You know why? Because that’s how much we love music. Regardless of what has happened to me and who, I show up and I show out.”
After paying tribute to her loved ones, the “Why Not Me” singer closed her speech with a message to the dreamers.
“Let me tell you something, it’s getting harder and harder out there. Never give up on your dreams. And for half of y’all in this place tonight, I know you don’t know who I am or you were not born when I had my years of being fabulous, and I’ll let that go, but back in 1990…Tim McGraw opened for me. Four weeks ago, I opened for Tim,” she said. “The highs are high and the lows are low, baby. But don’t ever let them tell you who you are.”
Wynonna Judd then performed her hits “I Saw the Light” and “No One Else on Earth.”
People’s Choice Country Awards
The first-ever People’s Choice Country Awards took place at the iconic Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee on Thursday (Sept. 28).
Throughout the show, awards for 12 categories were given out, including People’s Artist of 2023, Male Artist of 2023, Female Artist of 2023, Group/Duo of 2023, New Artist of 2023, Social Country Star of 2023, Song of 2023, Collaboration Song of 2023, Crossover Song of 2023, Album of 2023, Music Video of 2023 and Concert Tour of 2023.
Toby Keith was honored with the Country Icon Award, which was presented to him by Blake Shelton.
The coveted awards show also featured performances from Blake Shelton, Carly Pearce, Dan + Shay, HARDY, Jelly Roll, Kane Brown, Kelsea Ballerini, Little Big Town, Toby Keith, Wynonna Judd and more.
Adam Doleac, Blake Shelton, Brothers Osborne, Carly Pearce, Chris Young, Dustin Lynch, Gabby Barrett, Hunter Hayes, Jessie James Decker, Josh Ross, Kameron Marlowe, Kristin Cavallari, Lady A, Lauren Alaina, Leanne Morgan, Mickey Guyton, Nikki Garcia, Scotty McCreery and The War And Treaty were also on hand to present.
Little Big Town was the host of the show. “We are honored to host the inaugural ‘People’s Choice Country Awards,’ especially on one of our most beloved stages in the entire world,” the group previously shared in a press release. “We look forward to welcoming so many of our talented peers to take the Opry stage for this magical night of music.”
The 2023 People’s Choice Country Awards’ aired live on NBC and Peacock on September 28 at 8/7c simultaneously on NBC and Peacock.
The livestream also aired on Peacock, PCA Twitter, NBC Twitter/Facebook/YouTube, TODAY All Day/Twitter, E! News Twitter/Facebook/YouTube/E!Online, Access Twitter/YouTube, and Circle TV Network and Circle social platforms, featuring red carpet arrivals, backstage chats and more.
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 Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. 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.