Shania Twain will become the first female recipient of the Artist of a Lifetime award when the seventh annual CMT Artists of the Year celebration premieres Oct. 20 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Previous recipients of the honor are legendary artists Kenny Rogers and Merle Haggard, who were awarded in 2015 and 2014, respectively.
The Artist of a Lifetime award is presented by Ram Trucks.
Taped live at Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center, the 90-minute special will feature once-in-a-lifetime performances, tributes and unforgettable toasts as some of the biggest stars of music, film and television gather to celebrate the five artists selected by CMT as the top artists of the year: Carrie Underwood, Chris Stapleton, Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan and Thomas Rhett.
These artists collectively dominated the last 12 months ruling CMT’s platforms and country radio, scoring chart-topping album and singles, and selling out arenas around the country.
Additionally, CMT will honor rising star Kelsea Ballerini with the second annual Artists of the Year Breakout Award.
Twain, a five-time Grammy winner, was selected for her indelible impact and achievements in country music. With more than 75 million albums sold worldwide and U.S. sales topping 34.5 million, she remains the top-selling female country artist of all time. Her 1997 release Come on Over has sold more than 15.6 million copies, making it the No. 1 top-selling country album, the No. 1 top-selling album by a female in any genre and the No. 2 best-selling album overall in SoundScan history.
Previous CMT Artists of the Year honorees include Jason Aldean (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014), Kenny Chesney (2011, 2012), Eric Church (2012), Hunter Hayes (2013), Toby Keith (2012), Lady Antebellum (2010, 2011), Little Big Town (2015), Miranda Lambert (2012, 2014), Tim McGraw (2013), Brad Paisley (2011), Blake Shelton (2015), Taylor Swift (2010, 2011), Carrie Underwood (2010, 2012), Keith Urban (2014), Sam Hunt (2015) and the Zac Brown Band (2010).
Past CMT Artists of the Year ceremonies have featured Adele and Darius Rucker performing Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now,” Adam Lambert and Leona Lewis paying tribute to Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush," Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan’s mashup of “Oh No” and “All Night Long” and Maroon 5 covering Taylor Swift’s “Mine.” The show has featured appearances by Ellen DeGeneres, Matthew McConaughey, Selena Gomez, Billy Bob Thornton, Roger Clemens, Morgan Freeman and the cast of Nashville, among others.
Additional performers, presenters and special guests for this year's event will be announced at a later date.