Arguably the most anticipated moment of the 2021 CMT Music Awards was the onstage collaboration between Grammy and Oscar-winning rhythm and blues performer H.E.R. and soulful country superstar Chris Stapleton. H.E.R.'s star-making turn has been one of the most intriguing stories of the year, while Stapleton's 2020-released album Starting Over cemented his place as possessing one of country music's modern iconic voices. The performance that ensued was a bluesy take on H.E.R.'s single "Hold On."
In a January 2021 iHeartRadio conversation with fans, Stapleton first highlighted his appreciation of the rising superstar musician's talent, noting, "The artist I find most interesting right now is H.E.R.. She's an R & B artist and the real deal. She's just an awesome guitar player and singer. If something like that could take place, I would be into that a lot, just to see what would happen, because I'm so fascinated by her talent."
On the CMT Music Awards red carpet, just before her scintillating love performance, H.E.R. told CMT, "I always knew Chris and I would be a great musical fit. I've been a Chris Stapleton fan for the past five years. I saw him sing 'Tennessee Whiskey' live, and that's what did it for me. As soon as I knew I was performing [at the 2021 CMT Music Awards], I knew that it would be great."
As far as H.E.R. and Nashville in general, she's a fan of Music City. She adds, "I wrote a lot of my last project in Nashville. This is because people who write in country music love to sit down with guitars and tell authentic stories. I'm all about including authenticity, emotion, and real experiences in my music. That's why I love coming here, and country music, too."