Luke Bryan Thinks of Family, Fans and God at ACM Awards

Along With Co-Hosting, He Wins Entertainer and Vocal Event Awards

LAS VEGAS — Fans helped Luke Bryan win his first-ever ACM entertainer of the year award on Sunday night (April 7). Moments later, clutching the trophy, he essentially floated into the backstage pressroom to talk about that experience.

“I can honestly say that when I close my eyes tonight and go to sleep, I will obviously say my prayers for being so blessed by God,” said Bryan, who co-hosted the ACM Awards with Blake Shelton at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. “I will be blessed by the fans for doing this to me. I have always loved this business, and the fact that they know I love it, and they want to go and vote and make me entertainer of the year, is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.”

He also noted the recognition goes beyond just the fans. He says that during major milestones in his career, his family always crosses his mind first.

“I think what’s important is that my family has dealt with a lot of tragedy in my life, with me losing my older brother and my older sister. That’s the first thing you [think], that they’re in heaven smiling down on moments like this,” he said. “That’s what is amazing. We can rejoice in the good things in life as a family and all of our friends in our circle.

Bryan won his first ACM awards as the 2009 top new artist and top new solo vocalist. This year, he also picked up a trophy in the vocal event category for “The Only Way I Know,” performed with Jason Aldean and Eric Church. This year marked his first time as the show’s co-host.

Responding to a question about how he judged his own performance as a host, Bryan replied, “As far as a scale of one to 10 on how I did hosting, I put so much emphasis on making sure the hosting went well, I feel like I knocked it out of the park. Blake and I had a blast. I have really been known to really get excited about stuff, and I was proud that I was calm in that moment.”

He continued, “I was so focused on hosting that I forgot the first line of my new single, ‘Crash My Party.’ And somehow, I don’t know if you all picked up on that, I don’t even know what I sang. I just went, ‘Blah, blah, blah, blah,’ then I got back on track. Because hosting was such an important thing for me, even just representing country music and being savvy and cool in that position was a big deal for me. I put a lot of pressure on myself, and I enjoyed the pressure.”

Bryan wept as he accepted the night’s top award, but he told reporters he couldn’t recall much about the moments after his name was called.

“You’re overwhelmed with emotions, but then you know you have an allotted amount of time to say what you want to say. So I don’t even know what I said. I don’t know what I did. I just know it was an amazing feeling and one that I would be amazed if it’s ever trumped,” he said.

Craig Shelburne has been writing for CMT.com since 2002. He is also a producer for CMT Edge, Concrete Country and Live @ CMT.