Eric Church Wins Entertainer of the Year at the 2020 CMA Awards
"This award this year, at least for me, has been about the loss of this year," Church said in accepting an award he's been nominated for several times, but never won until this night. He was shocked to win the honor, but had plenty to say.
About what was lost, he was referring to things like live music, freedoms and kids not being able to attend school.
"The win is we were all here tonight together, as country music," Church said. "I really believe this. It's gonna be music that brings us out of this. That's the one thing that brings us out of this."
"Politicians are about division. Music is about unity," he added.
Church's victory in the CMA Awards' most coveted category is hard-earned: It's his first year winning the trophy, but his fourth year being nominated for it, as the singer previously notched Entertainer of the Year mentions in 2015, 2017 and 2019.
Though he couldn't tour in 2020, Church dug his heels into the kind of entertaining he could do. He released a slew of standalone songs, including "Crazyland," "Bad Mother Trucker" and "Hell of a View." He has always been known for cutting meaty, substantial songs with storylines that go deeper than just partying and having fun, but in 2020, he doubled down on releasing music with a message. Church stands behind Route 91 Harvest Festival survivors in "Through My Ray-Bans," while his snarling single, "Stick That in Your Country Song," holds country radio accountable for highlighting under-told stories.
These songs — and many more to come, Church has teased — were the product of a marathon writing and recording retreat the singer and his team undertook in January. They converted an old restaurant in the North Carolina mountains into a studio for the occasion, and recorded 28 songs over 28 days.
Ultimately, in 2020, it was Church's dedication and uncompromising passion for releasing substantial songs that won him the Entertainer of the Year title. He edged out Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, Luke Combs and Carrie Underwood in the category.