"Headlining the whole year was an unbelievable highlight," CMT Artists of the Year honoree Luke Bryan says. "And starting off the year in April winning the ACM entertainer of the year ... I don't know if words can describe how amazing that was."
On Dec. 3, CMT hosts the fourth annual CMT Artists of the Year celebration to recognize an illustrious group of musicians for their outstanding accomplishments this year. In addition to Bryan, the gathering will also honor Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, Hunter Hayes and Tim McGraw.
"Putting Crash My Party out and it doing so well and just another year in this business is amazing to me," Bryan told CMT Hot 20 Countdown. "I've probably had more fun this year. I've had a blast every year, but this year, I've had a lot of fun. ... There's nothing more fun than being onstage watching your fans have a good time."
Despite his success, Bryan says he's still learning as he goes. With a demanding schedule, that includes being careful to not overdo it.
"In this business, you figure out more every year," he said. "I've had to learn how to be a true headliner and do an hour-and-45-minute, two-hour show four or five nights a week. You've got to learn how to be in that role.
"A lot of my band guys will be like, 'Hey, we're going out to a bar. We're gonna go have some beers or something,' and I'll be like, 'Guys, I gotta get to bed. I got three more shows this week.' It's amazing to be able to hit city after city and go to new places and see the fans and hopefully put on great shows."
Delivering a great show is exactly what the singer is most looking forward to in the coming year.
"We just announced the That's My Kind of Night tour," Bryan said. "We've got Cole Swindell and Lee Brice out there, and I'm already talking to those guys. We're planning up bigger and better [things].
"I was on the phone with my promoter this morning. And I'm like, 'How am I playing in Madison Square Garden?' It's moments like that, and I'm having those moments every day in this life that I'm living. It's pretty amazing."
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.