Lainey Wilson Named 2023 ACM Female Artist of the Year

The 58th Academy of Country Music Awards celebrated the powerful women within the genre. The biggest names in country music flocked to the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas, on Thursday, May 11, to witness a new songstress get crowned Female Artist of the Year. 

Videos by American Songwriter

After a successful year, Lainey Wilson scored the prestigious accolade. Wilson was nominated alongside Kelsea Ballerini, Miranda Lambert, Ashley McBryde, Carly Pearce.

Dolly Parton played double duty, as she took a pause from hosting to announce the winner of Female Artist of The Year. 

“I won it back in 1980. Personally, I really wouldn’t want the burden of picking a winner out of this category because these women are just amazing,” said the legend.

Before accepting the award, the “Heart Like A Truck” singer had a public fan-girl moment over Parton. She then gave an inspiring acceptance speech honoring the resilient women in the male-dominated genre. 

“I can’t believe I just met Dolly Parton, first of all,” said Wilson with a beaming smile. “This is crazy. First of all, I want to say thank you to my father; thank you, Jesus. Thank you to my family; they are out here somewhere.”

She continued to address the females that paved the way for her, including her fellow nominees. 

“I’m up here because of y’all. Because people like Dolly Parton are paving the way. Let me tell you what,” she said. “Everyone in this category did not just wind up there by happenstance. They have worked their fingers to the bone. They put their blood, sweat, and tears into this and year into this. I made so many sacrifices – missing a lot of weddings and funerals. Not like I want to go to all of them anyway, but I’m just saying. For the little girls watching this, this stands for hard work. If you are going to be a dreamer, you better be a doer.”

Breakout single “Things a Man Oughta Know” catapulted Wilson to stardom, peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. She went on to collaborate with Cole Swindell on his single “Never Say Never,” which became her second chart-topping track. In 2022, Wilson released “Heart Like a Truck,” the lead single from her critically acclaimed album, Bell Bottom Country. Within the same year, Wilson made her on-screen debut in the fan-favorite television series Yellowstone

(Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

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