2022 CMA Awards: Luke Combs Reflects On ‘Huge’ Entertainer of the Year Win

Luke Combs is the reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year, for the second year in a row. The father of one was nominated in a category that included Miranda LambertChris StapletonCarrie Underwood and Morgan Wallen, and while he is grateful for the win, he is even more grateful for what it means for the people he works with.

“Obviously Entertainer is so huge,” Combs said backstage after his win. “It’s for everything that we do, and all the time that we spend away from home. And it feels like such a huge award for me, and my team, and everybody on the road with me that spends all this time away to make sure that we do the best we can..”

Combs walked away with two CMA Awards after the ceremony, also winning the trophy for Album of the Year, for his Growin’ Up project. It was a win that he wanted, as much for the people he collaborates with as for himself.

“The album is everybody that I write songs with, all the studio musicians, all the time I’ve spent there,” Combs reflects. “I spent two years making that record, painstaking years. It’s never ever good enough. The album, it can never be good enough. But eventually, it has to get turned in. So to be recognized for. it,  that just means the world to me, and my team and my family. I just couldn’t be more thankful.”

Combs admitted that he did some serious self-reflection earlier this year, when he questioned why he kept working so hard, reaching for new heights and trying to accomplish more. That question was answered, unexpectedly, by one moment in one of his live shows.

“I was sitting in the room, by myself, and I remember thinking, ‘You’ve won Entertainer of the Year. You’ve done this, you’ve done that. You’ve checked so many boxes, and what is the thing that keeps you coming back?'” Combs recalls. “And there was a little girl in the audience and she said, ‘Will you sing ‘Even Though I’m Leaving’ for my daddy in Heaven?’ I remember reading that sign — and being a dad now — and just going, ‘This is why I step out here.’ It’s not for money. It’s for the people that spent their hard-earned money to come and spend maybe the only Saturday night they go out for the whole year to come and see me. And it’s not something that is easy to afford. It could be a $50 ticket for three or four people, and hotel rooms and babysitters and gas and for flights or whatever it may be.

“And I never want that to be forgotten because without everybody that’s in the audience, there is no show,” he continues.” It doesn’t matter how cool I think I am or how good the songs are, or winning Entertainer of the Year. If nobody shows up then the show doesn’t matter. And I think that that is something that I always try to remember and I’ve always been really thankful for people that spend their time with you.”

Combs has several more dates on his calendar throughout the remainder of 2022. He will embark on his World Tour in 2023, performing 35 concerts in 16 countries, spanning three continents. Riley GreenLainey Wilson, Flatland Cavalry and Brent Cobb will serve as the opening acts for some dates, with Cody Johnson and Lane Pittman  also joining him overseas. Find music and tour dates at LukeCombs.com.

See a complete list of all of the CMA Awards winners here.

Photo Credit: Jamie Schramm/CMA