Kane Brown Dedicates CMT Artists of the Year Trophy To Late His Late Drummer, Kenny Dixon

Receiving his second-ever CMT Artists of the Year honor, Kane Brown was all smiles as he took to the stage…


Lauren Jo Black

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October 13, 2021


11:04 pm

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Kane Brown; Photo by Getty Images for CMT

Receiving his second-ever CMT Artists of the Year honor, Kane Brown was all smiles as he took to the stage to receive the coveted trophy from Nelly

“Nelly killed my intro, you killed my intro bro, you had me hype,” Brown said as he laughed with Nelly, just moments after taking the stage to honor the Artist of a Lifetime, Randy Travis

Kane Brown and Nelly; Photo by Getty Images for CMT
Kane Brown and Nelly; Photo by Getty Images for CMT

“I just want to say thank you guys again. This is my second year,” Brown shared as he went on to honor his late drummer, Kenny Dixon. “The last year I did it, y’all know my drummer passed away on my anniversary, so I just wanted to give a shoutout to him. I’m gonna do this for you again brother, I appreciate it.”

Brown was referencing CMT Artists of the Year 2019 when Chris Young stepped in for him at the last minute to honor Dixon with a performance of “Drowning.” 

The superstar went on to speak directly to Randy Travis as he had just performed his iconic hit, “Three Wooden Crosses.” 

“Thank y’all…but Randy I just wanted to say you are such an influence, man,” Brown said. “I love you to death. I had to redeem myself singing that song because the first time I met you, you surprised me at a radio station and I couldn’t finish the song. So I just wanted to say to all the new artists coming up, I see you everywhere, I see you on TikTok. Like you’re still doing your thing, and you’re giving all these kids… you’re just being such a good role model. You’re the man, dude, so thank you for letting me do this. Randy Travis.” 

Brown also showed some love to his fellow nominees. 

“Also, every other artist in here, I love you guys so much. I know I don’t get to talk to y’all a lot but just know that I love y’all. Y’all are amazing. Y’all represent country music so well.”

He later added, “Chris Stapleton, I ain’t going to lie, when I was rehearsing, I was like man, why I got to sing when Chris Stapleton is right here?” 

Brown’s career soared to new heights throughout the past year. Recently named one of the TIME100 most influential people of 2021, Brown recently earned yet another chart-topping single with “Famous Friends,” a collaboration with Chris Young. 

Brown recently earned three 2021 CMA Awards nominations for “Single,” “Musical Event” and “Music Video of the Year.” 

Kane Brown; Photo by Getty Images for CMT
Kane Brown; Photo by Getty Images for CMT

In June, the superstar co-hosted the CMT Music Awards alongside Ballerini where he won the awards for Collaborative Video of the Year for “Famous Friends” and Male Video of the Year for “Worship You.” 

This spring, he took home the 2021 ACM Award for Video of the Year” for “Worldwide Beautiful,” the first time a Black solo artist has won this trophy.

His newest single, “One Mississippi,” made a massive impact at country radio upon its release and will appear on his much-anticipated forthcoming album. 

Fans can catch Kane Brown on his headlining Blessed and Free Tour through early 2022.

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, Gabby Barrett, Kane Brown, Kelsea Ballerini, Luke Combs as the 2021 Artists of the Year and Mickey Guyton with the Breakout Artist of the Year honor.

YouTube video

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.

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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 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.