ACM Awards: Justin Moore Really Wanted to Win

He Claims New Artist Trophy After Six Years

LAS VEGAS — Justin Moore doesn’t mind being considered a new country artist, despite six years of hit singles, albums and concerts under his belt. By winning the Academy of Country Music ‘s new artist trophy on Sunday night (April 6), he was just happy to finally have some hardware.

“I would have taken female vocalist if they had given it to me,” he joked to reporters in the pressroom. “At this point, I really didn’t care what they called it. The trophies are all the same. … If somebody calls me new after six years, I’ll take it as a compliment. Maybe that means our music is still fresh to them. And maybe this industry, I take it from them that maybe we’re still fresh to them. I didn’t take offense to that at all.”

Moore let his emotions show when he collected the award at the podium. Even though he’s released thoughtful songs like “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away,” his acceptance speech might have been the first time his fans have seem him cry.

“You can ask my wife. I’m an emotional guy,” he said. “I’ve just not had that opportunity to be that way in front of people before. I wanted this, guys. I wanted this so bad. I really, really did. This was not make or break in my career. We’ve put out three albums, two of which have gone gold and the next one is about to. We’ve had a lot of hit records. We’re out headlining arenas.

“I don’t mean that in any way boastful. I’m just stating the facts. But this was very, very important to me and my team.”

Moore showed his trademark sense of humor during his chat, too. Asked if he had envisioned winning the award, Moore quipped, “I was actually just curious if it was taller than me.”

Later in his remarks, he stated, “Most of you all know me. I’m pretty cool, calm and collected, but I was humbled to be nominated for this award. But if I had lost it, it’s human nature. I would’ve been pissed off!”

After a good-natured laugh, he continued, “I wanted to win it, man. I’m competitive like those other guys are. Again, the most gratifying piece to this puzzle is that it’s fan-voted. It’s the first time we ever got nominated. It’s the first time we ever won an award. I knew — I knew — we had fans out there if anybody ever gave us the opportunity. I want to thank the Academy of Country Music for finally giving us that opportunity.”

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