Superstar singer Lainey Wilson stole the show at the 2023 CMAs, winning five awards, including Entertainer of the Year and Album of the Year, while Tracy Chapman became the first Black composer to win an honour for writing 'Fast Car', a song remade by Luke Combs 35-years after its original release.
Superstar country singer Lainey Wilson was centre of the spotlight at the Country Music Awards (CMAs) clinching five trophies, including the coveted Entertainer of the Year title.
The 31-year-old from Louisiana dominated the evening at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena, also securing the awards for Female Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year for her acclaimed record, 'Bell Bottom Country'.
“This is all I’ve ever wanted to do, it’s the only thing I know how to do.” Wilson said through tears as she accepted Entertainer of the Year. "It finally feels like country music is starting to love me back.”
Entering the night as the leading nominee with nine nods, Wilson had already clinched an award before the ABC telecast even began as she and HARDY were announced as winners in the Musical Event of the Year category for their collaboration on 'Wait in the Truck'.
Wilson came into the night the top nominee with nine nods, and had won one award before the ABC telecast even started as she and singer HARDY were named as winners in the musical event of the year category, for 'Wait in the Truck'.
Rapper-turned-singer Jelly Roll also had a significant presence in Nashville that night, opening the show with his hit 'Need a Favour' alongside surprise guest Wynonna Judd.
He later closed the ceremony with a duet with K. Michelle on 'Love Can Build A Bridge'.
In between, Jelly Roll was crowned Best New Artist, and he humorously remarked, “There is something poetic about a 39-year-old man winning new artist of the year. What’s in front of you is so much more important than what’s behind you.”
Fast Car back on the road
Luke Combs, a two-time reigning Entertainer of the Year, secured Single of the Year for his cover of 1988 hit Tracy Chapman’s 'Fast Car'.
Chapman, who won two Grammys for 'Fast Car' in 1989, was not at the ceremony, but said in a statement that it's “truly an honour for my song to be recognised 35 years after its debut.”
The award secures Chapman's page in the history books as the first Black composer to to receive the honour and also the first Black woman to have a sole songwriter credit on a No.1 country chart.
Continuing CMA traditions, Chris Stapleton claimed the Male Vocalist of the Year for the seventh time, Old Dominion secured Vocal Group of the Year for the sixth time, and Brothers Osborne won Duo of the Year for their sixth time.