Lainey Wilson talks full-circle moment with CMA nominations + Entertainer of the Year nod


Lainey Wilson was once a young, wide-eyed girl dreaming of being part of the historic CMA Awards. Fast-forward to 2023, she now leads this year’s nominations with nine nods, including one for the coveted Entertainer of the Year.

“Watching the CMA Awards was a big deal in my house as a child. We would sit around the TV, we knew when they were coming on we would be, I mean, eyes glued to it,” Lainey recalls. “I would dream about just being a part of the industry and being down there on the floor with these people who I look up to and people who have paved the way.”

“It’s crazy how life works because the truth is, I think sometimes you got to envision yourself in certain places and sometimes pretend you are what you’re not really so one day you can become that,” she posits.

As a first-time Entertainer nominee, Lainey says she’s humbled and grateful for the recognition, especially after an extensive touring schedule.

“Of course, [there are] times I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, how did that happen?’ But when you think about the amount of shows that we have played this year and last year, we have played a lot,” says Lainey, who’ll also perform “Wildflowers and Wild Horses” on the awards show.

“We started playing a club to the top of the year. We went out with Luke Combs, we did a stadium tour. We’re out on the road with HARDY right now. Every fair and festival in between, we have done it,” she notes. “So when you think about the amount of people that we have entertained, then I guess it’s not that crazy.”

The 57th CMA Awards airs live from Nashville Wednesday, November 8, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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