Countrytown favourite Kaylee Bell made history at the 57th CMA Awards in Nashville yesterday, being the first artist from New Zealand to win the Jeff Walker Global Country Artist Award. Bell is also the second New Zealand native since Keith Urban to take home a CMA Award.
Taking to Facebook this morning, Bell wrote alongside the photo of herself holding the CMA Award, “Last night I won my first CMA Country Music Association award and I’m still lost for words. Thank you Tyler Hubbard for surprising me on the red carpet and presenting it to me! Looking forward to sharing more about this night in the next few days with you as I continue to process it.”
Bell taking home the CMA Award follows an impressive winning streak for the Good Things singer, whose 2019 song Keith recently skyrocketed up the Billboard charts.
“To make the Billboard charts in the US is behind my wildest dreams, and to do this as an independent and self-managed artist with no label, etc, just means that this song is genuinely connecting with people, which is the best part,” Bell told Countrytown.
She added, “All I’ve ever wanted to do was make music that connects with people and play live, and this is reassurance that I am on the right path.”
In addition to Bell’s history-making win at the CMA Awards, Tracy Chapman is the first black woman to win a CMA Award, with her 1998 song Fast Car finding new life since country music star Luke Combs covered it. While Combs won the award for Single Of The Year, Fast Car was also up in the Song Of The Year category, which goes to songwriters.
Chapman didn’t attend the event, but she did send a statement to be read at the CMA Awards, which read (via Country Music Family): “I’m sorry I couldn’t join you all tonight, but it is truly an honour for my song to be newly recognised after 35 years since its debut. Thank you to the CMAs, and a special thanks to Luke and all of the fans of Fast Car.”
The 2023 CMA Awards were dominated by Lainey Wilson, who took home a whopping five awards, including the coveted Entertainer Of The Year award, as well as Female Vocalist Of The Year, Album Of The Year (for Bell Bottom Country), Musical Event Of The Year and Video Of The Year (both for Wait In The Truck with HARDY).
Luke Combs, Chris Stapleton and more were crowned winners, while Morgan Wallen left the ceremony empty-handed.
Reacting to not winning Entertainer Of The Year, Album Of The Year (for his album One Thing At A Time) or Male Vocalist Of The Year awards, Wallen wrote on his Instagram stories, “Walked in tonight a winner, didn’t leave no different.”