Cody Johnson opted to try something new for his performance of "Human" on the 2023 CMT Music Awards Sunday night. He sat still.
Johnson is known to be a high-energy, dynamic performer, but when he thought about the best way to communicate the meaning behind his song "Human" on the awards show - he realized he only had one choice.
Johnson commanded the attention of the arena and the at-home viewing audience perched on a stool with his guitar in the spotlight.
"I thought for 'Human,' what is more human than just, 'Hey, I'm gonna sit down,'" Johnson said before the show. "It's the first time I've ever done it in my career. I'm going to sit down on a stool, and I'm just going to play you a song. I haven't sat on a stool and played a song since I started."
Johnson's change of pace worked. Against the backdrop of a starry night, the three-time nominee sang: All the headlights |All the midnights| Chasing all that empty, still ain't got it right| All the crazy| All the gypsy| Well, I guess all I'm sayin' is forgive me| If I don't know what I'm doing| I'm still learnin' to be human
His performance felt like a public service announcement for the tenets of country music on primetime network television.
"What (viewers) should take from that is that we're all vulnerable," Johnson said. "We're all vulnerable, and that's what makes us human. No matter what your income is. No matter your color, your background, we're all the same. What better way to than to just sit down, let's talk about it?"
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