In a year unlike any other, it’s fitting that the 54th annual CMA Awards culminated with the genre’s dark horse Eric Church earning the title of Entertainer of the Year.
“If there was ever a year not to win…” Church laughed as he took the stage to accept the night’s ultimate trophy. “This year, at least for me, has been about loss – loss of life, loss of playing shows, loss of freedom, loss of kids being in school… And you know what the win is? The win is we all were here tonight, together as Country music – in person, live and I believe this, I really believe this: It’s gonna be music that brings us out of this. That is the one thing that’s gonna save the world. Politicians are about division; music is about unity.”
Before leaving the stage, the stunned entertainer added as a rallying call, “And I promise you, it’s gonna take everyone in this room to unite.”
"It's gonna be music that brings us out of this. That is the one thing that's gonna save the entire world."
Your 2020 #CMAawards Entertainer of the Year@CountryMusic pic.twitter.com/hK2uzBG2Su
— Eric Church (@ericchurch) November 12, 2020
Now six studio albums into his career, the North Carolinian always approaches things differently. Whether playing back-to-back nights in nearly 30 cities on his 2019 Double Down Tour or pushing himself to new creative limits with his recording process, Church has steadily amassed a faithful congregation – the Church Choir – since 2006’s release of “How ‘Bout You.” Many of those fans took to social media to congratulate the star, with an outpouring of comments proclaiming, “Congratulations Chief!” And it was those fans he was speaking to in the press conference following the awards show.
“When you go to a concert and your favorite artist plays your favorite song, and you throw your arm around the person next to you, you don’t worry about whether he’s a Republican or a Democrat, whether he’s pro-life or pro-choice. You’re in that moment and you’re pulling on the rope the same way. I think what we’re missing right now in America is more of the stuff that unites us versus what divides us,” Church shared. “I swear — it’s going to be music that saves us… It’s going to be about how we do it, and how we do it responsibly, and how we show that this is how we’re gonna leave COVID in the dust.”
Eric performed his latest single, “Hell of a View,” on the CMA Awards show (see link to lyrics below).
Church’s foresight with his new music, while written pre-pandemic, still addresses the underlying sense of division that was already palpable in our nation. Whether threw his spoken word piece entitled “Who Will Answer The Call?”, released earlier this year, where he shared a message of resolve, or by offering hope in “Through My Ray-Bans,” Church’s music has already served as a unifier .
“There’s a point in the show where I walk out in the crowd and I put my arms around them, we get pictures and it’s what life’s about. It’s that moment… What ‘Through My Ray-Bans’ is about is that I wish we could freeze that and I wish that was how life was — right there, just how I saw you.”
Previous CMA Award Wins:
Album of the Year (Chief)
Musical Event of the Year (“Raise ’Em Up” with Keith Urban)
Album of the Year (Mr. Misunderstood)
“Hell Of A View” Lyrics HERE
Audio / Backstage during the CMA Awards virtual pressroom, Eric Church says this year has been more about loss, but he is very hopeful that we will get back to normal soon.Download
Eric Church (CMA 2020) 1 OC: …next year or two. :31
“There’s not really been winners this year. I mean, nobody’s played. Nobody’s done the things we normally do. It’s been a year, to me, about losses. It’s about loss of life. It’s about loss of education for your kids. It’s about loss of time playing. It’s been a year of managing those losses. But I really meant what I said (during my acceptance speech) that we were in a room together as country music, and that’s not happened this year. So, I think that that was a win for country music, and I think it was a win for where we’re gonna go in the next year or two.”
Audio / Backstage at this year's CMA Awards, Eric Church says music will unite us.Download
Eric Church (CMA 2020) 2 OC: …what this is. :56
“Everything we see in daily life is about division. It’s about where you line up. Music has nothing to do with division. Music is about unity. It’s about uniting, and I truly believe in my heart that music will bring us out of all the sxxx we’re in right now. So, for me, it’s all about music. It’s about putting your arm around the guy next to you. It’s about having that moment that you can share, regardless about what your politics are, regardless of what your favorite freaking football team is, I think that that unity that makes us American. It’s the most patriotic thing in the world. It has nothing to do with anything other than the love of music. That was what I tried to convey even though I was pretty shocked on stage tonight, but that’s what this is.