As the stars walked the red carpet before CMT’s 2017 Artists of the Year special Wednesday night, the excitement was already building toward the show’s multi-artist, cross-genre opening number.
“It went really well in rehearsal,” Lee Ann Womack told ABC Radio. “I knew it was going to. It’s very inspirational…”
The show started with R&B phenomenon Andra Day teaming up with Little Big Town on her hit, “Rise Up,” a duet they’d previously done during the opening weekend of LBT’s yearlong residency at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium.
The Artists of the Year themselves — Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Florida Georgia Line, Keith Stapleton and Jason Aldean — then delivered an inspirational message for victims of both the Vegas shooting and multiple recent hurricanes.
Lee Ann, Danielle Bradbery and rapper Common then joined Andra and LBT to sing, “Stand Up for Something,” a song Diane Warren originally wrote for the new movie Marshall.
“I wanted to write a song like ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’…” the Oscar-nominated writer said. “You know, like a really uplifting song… So I wrote it for the movie, but who knew how timely it would be to these times, when we really do need to stand up?”
“I was crying in there when I heard the rehearsal,” Warren continued. “My eyes were filling up with tears, it’s so beautiful… A great song has no borders, and here we’re seeing it.”
Lee Ann agreed there was something special about coming together with non-Nashville artists like Andra and Common, on a show devoted to bringing comfort and healing during a troubled time.
“We try to be as positive as we can,” Danielle added, “for those that are going through so much. “It’s basically just to tell the fans — our family — that you’re not alone. We’re all in this together. We want to give you as much love as possible and just show you that we support you no matter what.”
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