Taylor Swift loves country music and clearly loves the country music industry, too. You could detect that if you saw her reaction Thursday (Aug. 30) when she heard her name called as a one of the nominees at this year’s CMA Awards.
While she and Montgomery Gentry were announcing this year’s nominees, Swift learned that she’s nominated in the Horizon Award category with Jason Aldean, Rodney Atkins, Little Big Town and Kellie Pickler. It’s Swift’s first CMA nomination.
Following the CMA’s press conference at Nashville’s Sommet Center, Swift acknowledged she is “obnoxiously excited” about the nomination.
“I apologize to everybody who was watching the announcements when I started screaming and jumping up and down, but I’m so excited,” the 17-year-old singer-songwriter said. “I was not expecting it. It’s been a really, really good day.”
Swift said she was prepared to walk away from the press conference without receiving a nomination.
“What was in my head was, ‘If they don’t say your name, your life is going to go on,'” she said. “I just got told that I have a six-week No. 1 album. For me, that’s the reward that I think about and that I feel that nobody can ever take away. The fact that the album is doing so well, the award nomination is a really, really nice icing on that cake. But for me, I always try to stay really, really levelheaded and stay a normal person that does not expect good things to happen. I feel like that way, I will never be disappointed.”
She shares the Horizon nomination with Pickler, her tourmate on Brad Paisley’s Bonfires & Amplifiers tour.
“I’m so happy for her,” Swift said. “I mean, she’s such an awesome person, and nobody deserves it more. She’s just so cool and so fun to be with, and I’m lucky to have been touring with her. With awards, you can’t make it personal. For me, I’ve been in categories with Miranda [Lambert] and Kellie before, and I love them both to death. It’s not up to the artist to decide who wins. You just have to have an even keel and a good attitude about it and just be confident that what you can control is what you do when you’re on stage. What you can’t control is award shows. I’m just excited to be nominated.”
When Swift’s self-titled debut album returned to the top of the country album charts, she pushed out Paisley’s 5th Gear, which received an album of the year nomination from the CMA. Referring to Paisley’s reputation for playing practical jokes on his opening acts, she joked, “Yeah, he sees himself as quite the prankster, but that’s my prank.”
Swift’s album has enjoyed consistently strong sales ever since its release in October 2006.
“They keep telling me you sold ‘this many’ this week, and I’m, like, ‘Why?’ I mean, we haven’t been on much national television, and I just realized at this point that it’s word of mouth. When I’m playing as much as I am and meeting as many people as I am, they are going out and telling people — which I’m so thankful for and will never forget.”
Paisley has been particularly supportive of Swift’s career.
“My song, ‘Teardrops on My Guitar,’ peaked at No. 2, which I was fine with,” she said. “But Brad Paisley apparently has had so many of his songs go to No. 2 — and not No. 1 — he decided to throw me a No. 2 party. You can imagine the decorations of the No. 2 party. There were second-place ribbons everywhere. He gave me a plaque with Mr. Hankey from South Park on it. It was pretty interesting. I’m not gonna lie. They have a lot of No. 1 parties in Nashville, but you rarely ever see a No. 2 party.”
Swift is already looking ahead to attending the CMA Awards show on Nov. 7 in Nashville.
“I think I’m going to have a custom dress made,” she said. “That’s what I’ve been doing a lot lately because you don’t want to have a moment when you’re walking down the carpet, and somebody else has the dress that you’re wearing, and you’re, like, ‘Oh, my gosh.’ When I was at school, that was a huge issue, and you don’t want that to happen at prom. But I’m really excited about what to wear and, it’ll probably be really girly, as usual. I’m so excited.”
CMT.com associate producer Whitney Self contributed to this story.