by Tiffany Goldstein
Country music fans were introduced to several breakout stars at the 2022 CMT Music Awards on Monday, April 11. Newcomers Elvie Shane, Parker McCollum, Priscilla Block, Jessie James Decker, Breland and Caitlyn Smith took to the Ram Trucks side stage in Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium to prove that the future of the genre is looking bright.
While Kane Brown, Hollywood actor Anthony Mackie, and Kelsea Ballerini moved the star-studded affair along as co-hosts, the audience received jaw-dropping performances from numerous country music hitmakers. For instance – Walker Hayes busted a move to his smash hit “AA,” Carrie Underwood brought “Ghost Story” to new heights, Jimmie Allen joined forces with Little Big Town and crossover artist Monica to push unity, and more.
To top off the first-ever “CMT Music Awards Week,” CMT will be airing an extended cut of the award show. Fans will receive never-before-seen performances from Jason Aldean, Cody Johnson, Cole Swindell, and Lainey Wilson.
The show will also include an extra 30-minutes of bonus content. The must-watch segment will air tonight, April 15, at 8p/7c exclusively on CMT.
We can’t get enough of @LaineyWilson and @ColeSwindell’s #CMTAwards performance of “Never Say Never”
Watch a BRAND-NEW performance from Cole during the CMT Music Awards Extended Cut, TONIGHT at 8/7c on CMT! pic.twitter.com/FHkHmv1aFq
— CMT (@CMT) April 15, 2022
Elvie Shane – “My Boy”
Nashville newcomer Elvie Shane rolled into the CMT Music Awards with a nomination in the Breakthrough Video of the Year category for his debut No. 1 single, “My Boy.” Shane penned the vulnerable, yet relatable ballad alongside songsmiths Russell Sutton, Nick Columbia, and Lee Starr. The father and son tribute track was inspired by a Facebook post that read, “I don’t have a stepson, I have a son that was born before I met him.”
Throughout the emotionally driven hit, the Kentucky native delivers a true story of how he became a father and expresses his unconditional love for his stepson. When it came to the moving music video – director Peter Zavadil brought the heavy lyrics to life by simply displaying the blending of families. In each scene, Zavadil proves that fathers don’t have to have the same blood as their sons to share an unbreakable bond.
“I am so thankful to be part of this song and its visual representation,” he shared with Sounds Like Nashville. “I hope all of the families that have been touched by this song see how important it is to me to celebrate the everyday men and women who step up to the plate as parents—they are nothing less than superheroes to the young lives they’ve touched.”
“My Boy” lives on Shane’s recently released debut full-length record, “Backslider.” The tear-jerking melody dominated country radio and reached viral success on TikTok. Social media users brought the tender track to new heights, as they pushed the song to No.1 on the platform’s country chart. They even began paring memorable moments with the single to create heartwarming videos.
Parker McCollum – “To Be Loved By You”
Parker McCollum received his first-ever CMT Award for Breakthrough Video of the Year at the star-studded ceremony Monday night (April 11). The Texas native scored the prestigious title in the Breakthrough Video of the Year category for the chart-topping track, “To Be Loved By You.”
“Performing on the Ram Trucks stage is an unbelievable feeling,” McCollum told CMT. “It’s pretty cool. What a dream come true, man. It is something we have been looking forward to since it’s been on the calendar. I don’t take it lightly…my heart will be racing super-fast when we step on stage,” he added before his energetic performance.
Before the budding vocalist received the accolade, he performed the love-centric hit on the Ram Trucks side stage and wowed fans with his country-rock sound. Jon Randall produced the ear-grabbing melody that McCollum penned alongside legend Rhett Akins.
The fan-favorite hit lives on McCollum’s first major-label record, “Gold Chain Cowboy,” and recently peaked at No.1 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart. The mid-tempo track marks McCollum’s follow-up to his platinum-selling debut single, “Pretty Heart,” – making it his second career No.1. Upon its release, the music video for “To Be Loved By You” made the CMT Top 20 Hot Country Countdown as well.
Breland – “Praise The Lord”
Genre-bending artist Breland brought fans to church during his high-energy Ram Trucks performance of his new single, “Praise The Lord.” The breakout star recently released the gospel-inspired anthem alongside hitmaker Thomas Rhett.
The 26-year-old star encouraged fans to clap along to the swing-worthy beat and R&B-country sound during his time under the spotlight. Throughout the toe-tapping track, Breland credits the Lord for everything he has experienced and the little blessing in life. For instance, southern women, his go-to meal, his grandmother, and crossover artist Nelly.
The rising star rolled into the affair with two nominations – one in the Breakthrough Video of the Year category for his chart-topping single, “Cross Country,” and for his 2021 CMT Music Awards performance with Mickey Guyton and legend Gladys Knight with “Friendship Train.” The honor marked Breland’s first-ever music award show nomination.
Jessie James Decker – “Should Have Known Better”
Fierce and fearless, Jessie James Decker dominated the Ram Trucks stage with the up-tempo track, “Should Have Known Better.” Decker delivered the self-assured lyrics with confidence, who also showcasing her wide-vocal-range and country-pop sound.
“I’ve had my heart broken before – we all have, at some point in our lives,” shared the singer in a statement. “It doesn’t matter if it’s from a relationship ending or from people trying to tear you down. This song is all about not letting that pain break you and coming out of it on the other side strong and confident. Anyone who broke your heart will regret it most when you SHINE! Now roll those windows down and sing it at the top of your lungs!”
The confidence-boosting anthem hit No.2 on the iTunes country chart and No.3 all-genre upon release. At the time, the radio-worthy hit served as an introduction to her latest project, “The Woman I’ve Become.” “Should Have Known Better” is one of the seven tracks on the collection that celebrates her personal growth as an artist and individual.
Caitlyn Smith – “High”
Monument Records’ seasoned singer-songwriter Caitlyn Smith performed the title track from her self-produced third studio album “High,” at the 2022 CMT Music Awards. After spending years in Nashville writing for notable names like Miley Cyrus and legend Dolly Parton, the powerhouse vocalist is honing in on her own artistry. Her soaring vocals in “High” brought her Ram Trucks stage performance to new heights and proved to fans that her future as a vocalist is bright.
“I am beyond excited to finally have “High” out in the world for everyone to hear,” shares Smith in a statement. “It has been such a labor of love, born out of a really tough two years for all of us. But pressure creates diamonds, right? And if even one of these songs can add a little magic to someone’s day, my job is done.”
The Minnesota native was nominated for her moving music video, “I Can’t,” featuring platinum-selling country band Old Dominion in the CMT Breakthrough Video of the Year category.
Priscilla Block – “My Bar”
Tiktok sensation turned country music star Priscilla Block took to the Ram Trucks stage at the 2022 CMT Music Awards to deliver new single, “My Bar.” While wearing an electric blue ensemble with a diamond fringe jacket, Priscilla started the party with her powerhouse vocals. The budding songstress penned the up-tempo track alongside Stone Aielli and Lexie Hayden. The empowerment anthem was inspired by a heartbroken girl she stumbled upon in a bar bathroom.
“I know, a girl crying in a bar. I’m looking at her going, ‘What is wrong with you?’ She was like, ‘My ex is here!’ It was the whole drunk girl-to-girl talk,” she told CMT. “I ripped a paper towel off the wall, and I gave it to her, and I was like, ‘Get up. We are going out there. You look hot. And this is your bar.’”
“My Bar” lives on Block’s debut record, “Welcome to the Block Party.” Priscilla may be new to the honky tonk scene, but she already earned a nomination in the Breakthrough Video of the Year category for her fan-favorite hit, “Just About Over You.”