“Thank you CMAs,” Stapleton said from stage. “I’ve won a couple of these, and I’m always shocked that I win one. I’m humbled to be here tonight to get to stay in such a wonderful crowd of people. I want to thank my wife, Morgane, who, I don’t do any of this without her — certainly don’t get any of these without her.”
Stapleton also honored some of his friends, including some who had recently passed away, concluding by saying he was “thankful to be part of the country music community.”
Stapleton, who performed both “White Horse” and “We Don’t Fight Anymore” with Carly Pearce during the live broadcast, won’t be toasting his win with any alcohol. The Kentucky native recently revealed he quietly got sober, without going to rehab or seeking professional help.
“I like to tell people that I got into a drinking contest with myself in my 20s, and I lost,” Stapleton told GQ, adding that in country music, drinking — sometimes to excess — seemed to be a requirement, especially for artists.
“When you’re younger, you feel like you have to do certain things in order to occupy some of these spaces, to make yourself feel like you’re legit,” he explained. “You want to feel things. You want to be able to write about things authentically. If somebody working a different kind of job drank themselves to death in the name of being better at that job, it wouldn’t make sense to anybody. We wouldn’t say, ‘Oh, he must have been the greatest electrician who ever lived.’”
Stapleton was also nominated for Entertainer of the Year, a trophy that went to Lainey Wilson. But he did win the ACM Award for Entertainer of the Year earlier this year, an honor he admitted he did not expect to win.
“By any imaginable metric, I don’t deserve this, but thank you,” Stapleton, who shared the category with Jason Aldean, Kane Brown, Luke Combs, Miranda Lambert Carrie Underwood and Morgan Wallen, said. “There are so many other great people in this category. I stand up, and I play music. That’s what I try to do every night. I write songs, and I make records.”
Stapleton’s Higher album will be released on November 10. He just extended his All-American Road Show Tour into 2024. He will also continue touring with George Strait, on their stadium tour into 2024. Find all of Stapleton’s music and upcoming shows, and pre-order Higher, at ChrisStapleton.com.