WATCH: Carly Pearce Kisses Boyfriend Riley King Before Tearfully Accepting CMA Female Vocalist of the Year Trophy

And the 2021 CMA Female Vocalist of the Year is Carly Pearce! Country music’s leading lady was presented with the…


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

November 10, 2021


9:58 pm

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Carly Pearce, RIley King; CMA Awards; Photo via ABC

And the 2021 CMA Female Vocalist of the Year is Carly Pearce!

Country music’s leading lady was presented with the trophy on Wednesday evening during the 55th Annual CMA Awards and was completely overcome with emotions when she heard her name announced. 

Pearce shared a kiss with her boyfriend, Nashville Realtor and former MLB player Riley King, before being pulled on to the stage by her friend, collaborator and fellow nominee, Ashley McBryde.  

Riley King with Carly Pearce; Photo Courtesy CMA
Riley King with Carly Pearce; Photo Courtesy CMA

“I really didn’t think this was going to happen,” Pearce said while sobbing, before asking her “Never Wanted To Be That Girl” duet partner, McBryde, for “help.”

As McBryde joined Pearce on stage, she took to the microphone saying, “what she meant to say was there’s a lot of love, respect and admiration in this category.”

Pearce then wiped away her tears as she said, “I want to thank God! I want to thank my record label, Scott Borchett and Big Machine Records… I’ve had just a crazy year and I just wanted to let you know that this means everything to me.”

“Country music saved me in a time I needed it most,” Pearce continued. ”I just want you guys to know that this is all I’ve ever wanted in the entire world and I just hope you know that country music is all I love, so thank you so much!” 

Also nominated in the Female Vocalist of the Year category were Gabby Barrett, Miranda Lambert, Ashley McBryde and Maren Morris. 

The Country Music Association states that this award goes to the artist and is based on individual musical performance on a solo country single or album release, as well as the overall contribution to country music. The nomination 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.