On Wednesday, October 18th, CMT hosted its 5th annual ARTISTS OF THE YEAR once again at the beautiful Schermerhorn Symphony Center in downtown Nashville sponsored by RAM Trucks and Variety.
Honorees this year were: Florida Georgia Line, Keith Urban, Jason Aldean, Chris Stapleton, Luke Bryan, and Sam Hunt.
In previous years, the night has focused solely on honoring the selected honorees from country music. However, due to the recent onslaught of devastating events affecting so many in our country from the Route 91 mass shooting in Las Vegas to so many suffering after the damage of several hurricanes, the night turned its focus towards the healing power that can be found in music and remembering those lost this year in the genre.
The crisp fall night began with a lavish pre-party sponsored by Variety in the beautiful main lobby entrance area of the elegant symphony hall. The wine flowed and decadent hors d’oeuvres were served by an attentive waitstaff along with a vast selection of cheese and fruit from a decorative centerpiece table setting.
Following the pre-party, we were seated inside at tables in the beautifully-decorated performance area of the venue for the prompt start of the live taped show. Again, an attentive waitstaff took our drink orders throughout the show and made it an enjoyable evening for all in attendance.
Some of the biggest names in the music industry from artists to behind-the-scenes from labels, management, public relations, booking agencies, producers, and many more. All decked out in beautiful dresses and suits fitting of this elagant occassion.
The show opened with a beautiful and powerful collaboration between Andra Day and Little Big Town setting the perfect tone for the evening with “Rise Up”.
"Rise Up". A flashback to this awesome intro from @andradaymusic & @littlebigtown at @CMT's Artists of the Year. Chillbumps! Think this is perfect for Sunday morning, too. Music is healing. #CMTAOTY 🙏👏💖 ▪ ▪ ▪ #andraday #littlebigtown #nashvilletn #nashville #tennessee #downtown #night #cmt #awardshow #awards #video #videooftheday #instavideo #insta #instagram #instagramer #instagramers #instagood #instadaily #flashback #throwback #music #performance
Some of my favorite moments were Lionel Richie’s introduction of Luke Bryan. He was charming, funny, and does he EVER age?! Keith Urban’s performance of his recent hit and what he has dubbed his “sexiest song” to date when interviewed during his #1 party for this song, “Blue Ain’t Your Color”. It was raw, poignant, and even sexier than ever, which I did not think was possible, but he nailed it, as always. The Backstreet Boys sang a beautiful, 5-part harmony version of “Holy” honoring their friends and tourmates, Florida Georgia Line. I’m especially ready for a full on collaboration between the two vocal groups after what I saw of them at the recent CMT CROSSROADS.
Not the BEST video I have taken, but I have always loved the @backstreetboys & they are flawless here!! I wanted to hear "Everybody", but did not fit the occasion. Singing "Holy" to honor their friends & tourmates, @flagaline, who were being honored last night. Beautiful rendition with those harmonies! #CMTAOTY 😙 ▪ ▪ ▪ #backstreetboys #nashvilletn #nashville #tennessee #downtown #night #cmt #awardshow #awards #video #videooftheday #instavideo #insta #instagram #instagramer #instagramers #instagood #instadaily
My absolute favorite moment of the evening came at the very end closing out the show as Jason Aldean was honored and took the stage joined by his friends in a show of solidarity: Little Big Town, Chris Stapleton, and Keith Urban. Luke Bryan introduced them to the stage and explained that Aldean had a hard time trying to select what he would sing to commemorate the evening, that he kept coming back to a classic Tom Petty song he started singing as an artist when he first moved to Nashville, “I Won’t Back Down”.
Such a fun night at CMT's Artists of the Year! Feel extremely fortunate to get to take part in amazing events like this. Thank you so much to @CMT for having us there!! Did you guys watch it?! Tonight's show was different from years past since honored those struck by recent hurricanes and Las Vegas shooting victims. Closing out the night, this is @JasonAldean joined by friends: @KeithUrban, @LittleBigTown, and @ChrisStapleton singing a song that was a perfect fit in light of all that has happened recently, Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down". #CMTAOTY 😊💕 ▪ ▪ ▪ #lukebryan #jasonaldean #keithurban #littlebigtown #chrisstapleton #nashvilletn #nashville #tennessee #downtown #night #cmt #awardshow #awards #video #videooftheday #instavideo #insta #instagram #instagramer #instagramers #instagood #instadaily
With the recent passing of this musical legend and the circumstances Jason Aldean found himself in just 2 weeks ago as he performed in Las Vegas and was on stage when the shooting happened, it was a very fitting song selection. All of the country music industry found itself impacted in some way as it hit home all across Music Row and heartbroken as this tragic occurrence happened at a country music festival in Las Vegas. A song about strength in the face of adversity and a show of solidarity among a few friends, was a perfect message, heartfelt, and felt very healing for all present. Near the end of the performance everyone in the audience stood up, unprompted, in a united stand of support and show of strength to clap along. It was a beautiful moment.
Part 2 of @jasonaldean & friends closing out the night because this was so special. Joined by friends: @KeithUrban, @LittleBigTown, and @ChrisStapleton singing a song that was such a perfect fit in light of all that has happened recently, Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down". #CMTAOTY 😊💕 ▪ ▪ ▪ #lukebryan #jasonaldean #keithurban #littlebigtown #chrisstapleton #nashvilletn #nashville #tennessee #downtown #night #cmt #awardshow #awards #video #videooftheday #instavideo #insta #instagram #instagramer #instagramers #instagood #instadaily
Following the show, we were treated by a fun after party, again sponsored by Variety in the same area as the show took place. We did have to leave the ornate and elagant room as the catering staff set-up for the after party. Catering for the night was provided by G Catering.
Fun after-party sponsored by @variety at @CMT's Artists of the Year! #CMTAOTY 🥂🎉 ▪ ▪ ▪ #nashvilletn #nashville #tennessee #downtown #night #cmt #party #photo #photos #photooftheday #instaphoto #instaphotos #instaphotography #insta #instagram #instagramer #instagramers #instagood #instadaily #fun #cool #indygrammers @indygrammers
Everyone was ready to celebrate a very special evening following the show Again, the cocktails and wine were flowing from open bars. It was a festive and playful atmosphere this time as waitstaff dressed as delivery staff served guests mini gourmet pizzas in small boxes, Chinese food served in mini Chinese take out boxes from an old-fashioned bicycle in its baskets, with hamburger and taco stands to the sides serving mini boxes topped with the CMT ARTISTS OF THE YEAR logo.
It was a perfect ending to a perfect night, and one that I hope to be fortunate enough to partake in again next fall.
Jason Aldean & friends’ heartfelt version of “I Won’t Back Down” is available now for purchase and downloads from iTunes and Google Play. All money raised from the sales will be donated to charity and the victims of the recent tragedies.
Record audience numbers were set by the televised airing of this year’s ARTISTS OF THE YEAR on CMT. Soaring well above audience numbers of its airings in the past 4 years.