“This has been a year that when I look back, there’s a lot of things we went out and did that we had never done before,” Aldean told CMT Hot 20 Countdown . “Really starting to headline stadiums is a big thing for us. And playing some really cool venues that I’d never played before — Madison Square Garden and the Hollywood Bowl, places that I never even played as an opening act — to go in and have successful shows there, it’s been a cool year.”
On Dec. 3, CMT will host its fourth annual CMT Artists of the Year celebration to recognize an illustrious group of musicians for their outstanding accomplishments this year. In addition to Aldean, the event will also honor Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Hunter Hayes and Tim McGraw.
“I think any time you get recognized for any award in this business, that’s a cool thing,” Aldean said. “It’s not always going to be that way. I think every artist in music … they have their time, and then it’s time for them to move on as the new wave comes in. Right now, it’s our time, so any time you get recognized for things like that, to me, it’s really special.”
After being recognized as one of country’s elite at the CMT Artists of the Year celebration, the Georgia native will resume work on his next album. Aldean says his goal isn’t to top 2013 but to continue striving to be the very best entertainer possible.
“I come from a sports background, so I’m competitive as it gets,” he said. “If I’m going to do something, I wanna be as good as I can be at it. And it doesn’t matter what it is. If I’m going to put on a tour, I want it to be the best tour on the road. It’s just the way it is.
“I mean, I think everybody should have goals, but my thing is I just want it to be the best it can be, and I think if you do that, everything else kind of falls into place. You can’t control everything. Just control the things you can.”
For the first time, the CMT Artists of the Year special will premiere live on CMT and CMT.com. The show airs Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. ET.