Lainey Wilson — the most nominated artist at the 56th Annual CMA Awards — accepted the New Artist of the Year award and Female Vocalist of the Year award on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.
The “Watermelon Moonshine” singer was left speechless as she accepted the respected awards.
“Wheew! If you know me, you know that I am rarely speechless, and I feel pretty speechless right now. I will say, this one right here is for that nine-year-old little girl who wrote her first song, who knew in her heart that this was what she was supposed to do,” Wilson shared during her acceptance speech for New Artist of the Year. “This one’s for those 11 years that I’ve been here in Nashville and have not taken ‘no’ for an answer. Thank you. This right here is for everyone who’s believed in me and a little bit for the ones that even didn’t.”
She continued, “I feel like I’ve got so many people to thank. First of all, I want to thank Jesus Christ my Lord and savior, my mama, my daddy, my sister, my family, my town of 200 people — Baskin, northeast Louisiana. Oh my goodness! My label, BMG, Broken Bow, Red Light Management, Mandolin, you’re my ride or die. WME, Sony Music Publishing, all of my collaborators, all of my friends in this town, thank you so much for making my dreams come true. My band, my crew, the fans, country radio, God bless y’all. We’re just getting started, let’s go!”
HARDY, Walker Hayes, Cody Johnson and Parker McCollum were also in the running for the award.
“I was definitely not expecting this at all. I look up to every single one of the ladies in this category. They have all influenced me and inspired me — and I’m so honored just to even be nominated for this. This is huge,” Wilson said with emotion after being awarded Female Vocalist of the Year. “I want to say, a few months ago my daddy got real sick and we thought we were gonna lose him. He spent two months in ICU and he’s walking the carpet with me tonight. He’s here. This one right here is for my daddy, Brian Wilson. I ain’t talking about the Beach Boy, I’m talking about the cowboy! I’m so excited that you’re here with me. This is for my family who believed in me before anybody did. And again, the best team in the world and the best fans. I promise you, I know I’m new to a lot of folks, but I won’t let y’all down — I promise you.”
Wilson was also nominated for Album of the Year for Sayin’ What I’m Thinkin’ and Song of the Year for “Things A Man Oughta Know.”
She is the fourth artist in CMA Awards history to earn six nominations with their debut on the ballot. Other artists to achieve this milestone include: Kacey Musgraves (2013), Brad Paisley (2000), and Glen Campbell (1968).
During the coveted awards show, Lainey gave a stellar performance of “wait in the truck” with HARDY. Wilson also paid tribute to the 2022 CMA Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement honoree, Alan Jackson, with a special performance alongside Carrie Underwood.
The 56th Annual CMA Awards featured performances from Luke Combs, Morgan Wallen, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Cole Swindell, Cody Johnson, and Carly Pearce.
The show opened with an all-star tribute to the late Loretta Lynn from Underwood, Reba McEntire and Lambert.
Underwood, Dierks Bentley, Jon Pardi, and Lainey Wilson joined together to honor the 2022 CMA Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Alan Jackson.
Additionally, the show included star-studded collaborations from Kelsea Ballerini, Kelly Clarkson and Carly Pearce, HARDY and Lainey Wilson, Elle King with The Black Keys, Brothers featuring The War and Treaty, Thomas Rhett and Katy Perry, Chris Stapleton with Patty Loveless, Zac Brown Band, Jimmie Allen and Marcus King as well as Ashley McBryde with Pillbox Patti, Brandy Clark, Caylee Hammack and John Osborne.
Mookie Betts, BRELAND, Jessica Chastain, Jordan Davis, Sarah Drew, Cole Hauser, Tyler Hubbard, Wynonna Judd, Lady A, Rex Linn, Little Big Town, Parker McCollum, Reba McEntire, Ben and Erin Napier, Jeannie Seely, Michael Shannon, and Lainey Wilson were on hand to present during the ceremony.
Co-hosted by Luke Bryan and Peyton Manning, the 2022 CMA Awards broadcasted live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena and aired on ABC (8:00-11:00 PM/ET).
The CMA Awards will also be available for viewing on Hulu beginning Thursday, Nov. 10.
The 56th Annual CMA Awards was a production of the Country Music Association. Robert Deaton served as the Executive Producer, Alan Carter as the Director, and Jon Macks as the Head Writer.