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CMT ARTISTS OF THE YEAR: Lainey Wilson Talks Her New Reality, Says "I Know It Ain't Normal"

CMT just named Lainey Wilson Breakout Artist of the Year at the network's Artists of the Year event that will air 9p/8c Friday, October 14, on CMT.

Lainey Wilson's dad is home from the hospital following a life-threatening months-long health scare. She's the leading nominee at the 56th CMA Awards in November. She has two songs inside the Top 30 on country radio. Her episodes of "Yellowstone" start airing next month, and CMT just named her Breakout Artist of the Year at the network's Artists of the Year event that will air 9p/8c Friday, October 14, on CMT.

Other honorees include Walker Hayes, Kane Brown, Carly Pearce, Luke Combs, Cody Johnson and Alan Jackson. The event was taped live Wednesday night at Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

"When I think about the last year, whether it was (winning Song of the Year) at the ACM Awards or whether it was having two No. 1 songs, now having two songs at the same time and Top 30 or being nominated for six CMA Awards, it's all a little bit surreal," Wilson said. "But it's the best feeling in the world, too. I know that also I'm like, 'It's time for me to step it up and put pressure on myself.'"

Given everything Wilson has going on, stepping up even more could be a tall order. But Wilson is up for the challenge.

"Oh, I can," she said, doing a little shimmy on the CMT Artists of the Year black carpet. Then she added: "I don't know if I can or not. I just hope I can do this and continue just to be myself and have fun doing it. I'm trying to look up and acknowledge and notice all these huge milestones because I know it ain't normal."

Wilson's current Top 30 include "Heart Like a Truck," which she passionately performed during the CMT Artists of the Year ceremony and received one of the most enthusiastic standing ovations of the night. "Wait in the Truck," her duet with HARDY that confronts domestic violence, is the other. She thinks it could change lives.

"I hope the people who hear it who are being abused feel like they're not alone," she said. "But I hope the people doing it who hear it, I hope it haunts them. I hope they have a gut check, and they're like, 'What have I been doing?' I know it's a dark subject to talk about, but at the end of the day, it's real life."

The success is a significant life change for Wilson, who readily admits she had less than $30 in her checking account about 18 months ago. Sometimes she forgets her bank balance is somewhat healthier now.

"I have a broke mentality," she said. "I probably always will divert to that mentality. Whenever we found out about all six nominations, that was one for me that I was like, 'Holy moly. I feel like I'm not having to like crawl my way to the top right now. I'm just at a steady pace, and I'm just doing what I do."

Wilson's second album, "Bell Bottom Country," will be available on October 28.

"It's country with a flare," Wilson explained of her new album. "I'm so excited. I feel like I've just grown so much as a songwriter, as a singer, but also just as a person over the last few years and really figuring out who I am."

Wilson said that "Bell Bottom Country" pulls back the layers of who she is and shows people that you can be unapologetically yourself.

"It's about finding whatever it is that makes you special and unique," she said. "The thing that makes you, you -- it could be where you from, how you were raised, the way that you talk, the way that you look. Whatever it is, it's about finding that and leaning into it as much as you possibly can. And that's what this record is."

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