Justin Moore Was Flying High Before His ACM Win

Less than a week ago, Justin Moore took to the social networks to share how much his Academy of Country Music nomination for new artist means to him. And it wasn’t just a cliché “it’s-such-an-honor” speech. It was 380 words of heartfelt reflection on everything that’s led to this.

And before he won that new artist award on Sunday (April 6) night, I sat down with him to talk about why he’d poured his heart out about the emotional ups and downs of this industry.

“For so long now, I’ve tried to downplay the fact we weren’t nominated, that we weren’t up for awards, that we weren’t on shows,” Moore told me. “But when I found out I was nominated, it was little bit more emotional than I anticipated it to be. And at that moment, I thought, ‘Maybe this means more to me than I ever thought it did.’”

Moore first came to the ACM Awards right before he released his debut album, which gave Moore his first No. 1, “Small Town USA,” in 2009.

On his way to Las Vegas from Little Rock, Ark., this year, he said he got emotional and nostalgic and felt the need to say something.

“I started typing on my phone everything I was feeling. I’d boarded this same flight pissed for off a few years, thinking, ‘Man, I don’t even know why I’m going,’” he admitted. “I wanted everyone to know what I was feeling.”

As for his fellow nominees, Moore knows he was in good company.

Kip (Moore) and Brett (Eldredge) have both been doing this as long as me,” he said. “I just got my record deal first, so maybe I had a little bit of a head start. But we’ve all been playing for a while. We’ve all got music in us. And we all have the same goal when we walk onstage.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.