Country’s biggest stars are reacting to yesterday’s announcement of the 46th Annual CMA Awards nominees. Eric Church leads the way with five nominations including Male Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year for Chief and both Single and Song of the Year and Music Video of the Year for “Springsteen.”
Eric lost his phone swimming in the Gulf of Mexico on vacation this past week and had no idea he’d been nominated at all. When he returned to Nashville yesterday, he was brought to his manager’s office where the press release from the CMA was projected on an oversized screen. His team waited for his reaction.
“I really don’t even know what to say!” he said. “I’m still a little bit in shock… I’m truly speechless. I think it’s a testament to the fans that believed in the music, loved the music, and told people about the music because otherwise we don’t really have the track record to be the most nominated at this point in our career. I think that it’s truly because of the fans. They did something I think is going to be judged as pretty special.”
Blake Shelton heard his name called several times as well. He’s nominated for four CMA Awards, including Entertainer of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year and Single of the Year for “God Gave Me You.” He and wife Miranda Lambert are also nominated for Song of the Year, awarded to the songwriter, for Miranda’s hit single “Over You.”
“I never get tired of these ‘Oh-My-God-How-Did-This-Happen?!!’ moments,” Blake said. “Thank you to country radio and everyone who casts a CMA vote. I am truly honored.”
Jason Aldean and his pal Luke Bryan announced five categories of this year’s CMA nominees live on Good Morning America before heading to B.B. King Blues Club and Grill to announce the remaining categories during a live stream. Jason’s name was called three times, including in the coveted Entertainer of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year categories, while Luke learned he’s nominated for Male Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year.
“Super xcited about CMA noms…. Huge thanx to u guys for makin this an incredible year…. Now going to soundcheck at Letterman,” Jason tweeted.
“Man, that was a blast announcing the CMA nominations with my buddy,” Luke wrote on Facebook. “I am so honored to be nominated in two great categories!”
Lee Brice also announced and received good news. He was at a CMA membership breakfast in Nashville to announce the final nominees for the CMA Broadcast Awards when he heard his name listed as a nominee for New Artist of the Year. The room full of CMA members erupted into cheers.
“I can’t even begin to express how good it feels to receive this nomination today,” Lee said. “It’s an honor, especially in the company of these other hard-working artists. I just feel so blessed.”
Fellow New Artist of the Year nominee Hunter Hayes shared similar sentiments. “What an honor it is to be recognized by the country music family that I’ve always wanted to be a part of,” he said. “I am absolutely over the top excited to be nominated for CMA’s New Artist of the Year! My first CMA nomination. So grateful. So excited. Thank you!!”
Love and Theft received their first nominations, up for both New Artist of the Year and Vocal Duo of the Year. “We can’t even believe it!” Stephen Barker Liles said. “We are honored and humbled to be nominated. It’s most certainly one of the biggest highlights of our career. We can’t thank everyone enough!”
“I have been watching my idols on the CMA awards since I was a little kid,” Eric Gunderson added. “It is such an honor to be nominated in two categories. I have been dreaming of this my whole life.”
Kelly Clarkson was already celebrating a career milestone when she learned she’s nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year. “Yesterday-10 year anniversary of me winning Idol. Today-nominated in female vocalist category for the CMA’s!! YEAH! I promise to earn that!!” she tweeted to her followers.
Eli Young Band received their first-ever nomination in the Vocal Group of the Year Award. “We are thrilled!” Mike Eli said. “This is a tough category. There are so many incredible bands in country music. We are extremely blessed and very proud about being nominated for Vocal Group Of The Year. We are in great company among friends.”
Will Hoge, co-writer of Eli Young Band’s hit single “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” was honored to learn the song is up for Song of the Year. This is the first CMA nomination for both Will and his co-writer, Eric Paslay.
“I grew up watching the CMA Awards for years and being born and raised in Nashville, I have a huge amount of respect for the number of amazing songs that get written every day up and down Music Row,” Will said. “I’m really grateful to Eli Young Band for recording the track, and I am flattered to be included in the short list of songwriters being nominated this year.”