Brett Eldredge Named CMA New Artist of the Year

Singer Recalls Sitting in the Audience at a Previous Awards Show

The new artist of the year honor is always one of the most hotly-anticipated categories at the CMA Awards , and this year was no exception. Lee Brice and Brantley Gilbert, who were both nominated for the award in the past, presented the award to a very excited Brett Eldredge, who triumphed over a competitive lineup of nominees.

“Oh, my Lord,” Eldredge laughed. “I remember a few years ago, I got here so early. Like three years ago, I went out there to sit, and I was the only person sitting out there.”

Eldredge thanked his parents and brother, as well as his label Atlantic Nashville. After he left the stage, host Brad Paisley joked, “Congratulations, Brett. There’s nothing like that new artist smell.”

This marked Eldredge’s first CMA Award nomination. His debut album, Bring You Back, was released in 2013 and has sold more than 120,000 copies to date. So far, it has generated two No. 1 singles, and his current single, “Mean to Me,” is in the Top 25 on Billboard country airplay chart. He served as an opening act on Taylor Swift‘s Red tour in 2013.

Other nominees for new artist of the year included Brandy Clark, Kip Moore, Thomas Rhett and Cole Swindell.

View more coverage from the 48th annual CMA Awards.