Luke Bryan’s CMT Music Awards Advice to Rookies

"Relish It, Love It, Enjoy It"

It’s only been seven years since Luke Bryan first took the CMT Music Awards stage. So he knows exactly what it’s like to be the rookie taking the side stage for a short performance of a debut single.

For Bryan, that song was “All My Friends Say.” And the show was the 2008 CMT Music Awards.

“You’re just freaking out. This is your big chance. Anytime you get an opportunity like that, it’s a big deal. That was a big deal for me,” Bryan told me after his rehearsal for Wednesday night’s (June 10) show. “It was nerve-wracking, I remember. But you get through it, and you learn that you can’t be perfect every time.”

Ultimately, Bryan’s fans showed him that any imperfections are fine with them.

“Sometimes you’re human, and you’re gonna mess up every now and then,” he said. “Country music fans are good enough to cut you some slack.”

The past seven years, for Bryan, have flown by.

“I don’t look back over the time that it’s taken me to get here and think of it in terms of years,” he told me. “I think of it in terms of, ‘Did I achieve what I wanted to? Am I loving this?’ It’s been an amazing journey since this all started all the way until today.”

For A Thousand Horses, Chris Janson, Frankie Ballard, Kelsea Ballerini, Maddie & Tae and RaeLynn — the newcomers who will be performing on the show’s Nationwide Stage — Bryan has these words of wisdom.

“I love watching all the new artists, because I remember myself being in that position. You have to relish it, love it, enjoy it,” Bryan said. “And make the most of it.”

The 2015 CMT Music Awards, hosted by Erin Andrews and Brittany Snow, premieres live Wednesday (June 10) at 8 p.m. ET/PT from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.

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