The Green Room PR
Lee Brice might add a new title to his name this week: CMA Award winner. The 33-year-old is a first-time nominee for a CMA trophy for New Artist of the Year.
"We work hard as an artist; we've built our career as an artist," he told The Boot and other reporters at a recent media event. "Me and my fans, it's been my career. And then it's been radio, and that other stuff is always so nice, but we work hard to build a foundation. Now, anything extra has just been so much, just extra icing on the cake. It feels good as an artist to get (the nomination)."
The singer-songwriter won an ACM Award earlier this year for co-writing the Eli Young Band song, "Crazy Girl," which soared to the top of the charts. For Lee, being acknowledged for both in one year feels a bit surreal.
"It felt so good to be nominated as a writer, because I pride myself on trying to be a good writer, and that's one of the things I hope people remember me by later in life," he acknowledges. "They both feel good, but they are different. As a writer I'm proud to do it, and as an artist, it feels good after all the work we put in it."
The country star, whose writing credits include Garth Brooks' "More Than a Memory" and "Still" by Tim McGraw, says he hopes to be able to continue to pursue both facets of his career. "When I came to Nashville, I wanted to be a singer and songwriter. I wanted to be an artist that sang my songs. When I started writing songs when I was two years old, I wrote them because I wanted to sing and I needed something to sing. I have been really fortunate to have a few songs recorded that made hits with some other artists, but I've really been looking forward to this. This has what I've really been working for, so it feels awesome. There is a transition, but it's been moving forward to get to this point, because this is where I've always wanted to be."
Lee is joined in his category by Brantley Gilbert, Hunter Hayes, Thompson Square and Love & Theft, which he admits is pretty stiff competition. "I'm all for everybody," he told The Boot. "I really think the whole format is doing great. It's just good to see everybody succeeding."
The 46th Annual CMA Awards will air live from Nashville this Thursday (Nov. 1) at 8:00 PM ET on ABC.