Barrett’s husband, Cade Foehner, helped her to the stage as she humbly accepted the incredible honor.
“Oh God, I’m nervous,” she admitted. “Thank y’all so much. Thank you so much CMT! I don’t feel like I deserve to be here in this room with all of these amazing names. So thank y’all very much. It’s been a dream come true. Thank you, Michael W. Smith for your support, I appreciate it very much.”
You ABSOLUTELY deserve. We are so proud of you, @GabbyBarrett_ 🙌🤍
— CMT (@CMT) October 14, 2021
Barrett went on to reflect on her artist journey.
“This road has not be easy for me. It’s definitely been very difficult,” she acknowledged. “I have gotten a lot of doors that have just been closed, but by the grace of God, my family and my wonderful supportive system and team, they pushed me to never give up and not listen to the doubters. As you guys know, there’s a lot along the way.”
Barrett closed her speech by thanking everyone for the honor and tipped her hat to her fellow nominees.
Barrett has enjoyed incredible success throughout the past year. In addition to earning the CMT Artists of the Year title, Barrett was crowned ACM New Female Artist of the Year and took home three Billboard Music Awards. She was also named iHeartRadio Music Awards Best New Country Artist and took home the 2021 CMT Music Awards top honor for Female Video of the Year (“The Good Ones”).
She’s already earned two chart-topping singles with “The Good Ones” and “I Hope,” which has been certified 5x platinum and was the most-streamed Country song of 2020.
Her latest single, “Footprints on the Moon,” from her debut album, Goldmine, is out now.
2021 CMT Artists of the Year special aired live from Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center.
The show honored Randy Travis with the highly-coveted Artist of a Lifetime title, Chris Stapleton, Barrett, Kane Brown, Kelsea Ballerini and Luke Combs as the 2021 Artists of the Year and Mickey Guyton with the Breakout Artist of the Year honor.
The 90-minute special, which aired on Wednesday, October 13 at 9/8c, also featured performances by Combs, Barrett and more.
Additionally, the ceremony included several star-studded collaborations and tributes, including Boyz II Men with Kevin Olusola of Pentatonix honoring Stapleton, Brown paying homage to Travis, and Mickey Guyton performing “Remember Her Name” with Yola. Ballerini joined forces with the Jonas Brothers for a cover of a Joe Cocker hit.
Making his award show debut, Walker Hayes closed out the show with a performance of “Fancy Like.”
Eric Church, Lady A, Nelly, Connie Britton, Michael W. Smith, Copeland, Morgan Evans and CMT’s Cody Alan made special appearances as presenters throughout the evening as well.