It was a long time coming, but the payoff was indeed sweet as Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild, Jimi Westbrook, Phillip Sweet and Kimberly Schlapman took home trophies for vocal group and single of the year for their hit "Pontoon" at last night's 46th annual CMA Awards in Nashville.
"It was like an out-of-body experience. I couldn't believe it was happening," Schlapman said backstage of their vocal group win.
CMA AWARDS 2012: Highlights
It's been a long rollercoaster ride for the foursome who launched the group in 1998 and have soldiered through four label deals on the way to their current success. Little Big Town's new album, "Tornado" spent five weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart and has been a game changer for the group.
"We just always kept showing up, believing and dreaming and working really hard and it happened for us," says Fairchild of the group's perseverance. "You never know what's around the corner. We're like every songwriter and struggling artist and person who is out there singing and trying to make it. We're their story. That's what we've been doing."
"All the challenges we've faced made us look each other in the eye every day and say 'We're going to tell ourselves when we're ready to quit, not anybody else,'" Sweet adds. "We just always loved what we did and we still do. It's such a beautiful thing to be doing what we love every day."
Schlapman says she recently read a saying that seemed to sum up Little Big Town. "It said: "Sing your song. Dream your dream. Hope your hope and pray your prayers and that's what this band is about," she says. "That speaks to exactly who we are."
On January 31, Little Big Town will launch the Tornado tour in Murray, Ky. "Kacey Musgraves is going to come out on the first part of the tour and David Nail. They are such tremendous talents. We're excited," says Westbrook. "We've been out with Rascal Flatts and it's been fantastic, but you do a short set so it's going to be fun to dive into this new record, 'Tornado,' and play some things we haven't been able to play for the fans and some things that we've written over the years. It's going to be a blast!"
Standing backstage in front of the press corps, Fairchild praised the team they have around them for contributing to their success and also expressed appreciation for their fans. "They made this their song this summer," she said of "Pontoon," "and they're the reason why we're standing up here.