Jimmie Allen took home the new artist of the year award at the CMA Awards on Wednesday night (Nov. 10) — making him the first Black artist to win the honor since Darius Rucker in 2009.
Allen was overcome with emotion when his name was announced, and he launched into a touching speech that saw him tearfully reflecting on his humble beginnings that led to where he is in his career today.
“First, I want to thank my father who is no longer with us for introducing me to country music,” the 36-year-old started his speech. “Five years ago, I spent my last $100 to see the CMA 50th and see Charley Pride perform onstage. And I got to perform with him last year. Everyone who voted for me, thank you. My wife, my kids, my mother’s here, Ash Bower, my manager. Ash found me playing at a writers’ round at Puckett’s grocery store in Franklin [Tennessee]. And he signed me.
“After 10 years of being here, living in my car, living in a trailer, working every job, this is amazing,” he added. “Thanks to my PR company, my management group, my booking agency… Thank you country music. This is for my hometown in Delaware, I love you all.”
Allen took a brief moment to thank the other nominees for new artist of the year award, which included Ingrid Andress, Gabby Barrett, Mickey Guyton and HARDY. The “Best Shot” singer also took home a new male artist of the year at the ACM Awards earlier this year.