Cody Johnson Tributes His Wife, Gives Moving Speech at CMT AOTY Special

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for CMT)

Cody Johnson was one of several country music artists that saw honors at CMT’s highly regarded Artists of the Year event earlier this month. And after receiving the award during the special, which aired Friday night, the “Dear Rodeo” singer shared an inspiring message about country music during his acceptance speech while simultaneously tributing his wife.

Addressing the TV audience, Cody Johnson, who received the CMT honor for the first time in his career, said, “for all the kids at home watching, success is when hard work and preparation meets opportunity, and country music has given me an opportunity to be successful here tonight and I want to thank everyone here.”

Johnson shared his gratitude for his band who performed beside him during the CMT Artists of the Year event but also spotlighted his manager, Howie, whose partnership was formed more than a decade ago based solely on a handshake.

Moving forward, he sweetly said, “My wife [Brandi] has stood beside me for over 14 years through the thick and the thin and babe, this is for me and you.”

Finally, Cody Johnson spoke about country music, making a promise to continue putting out songs that reflect the genre’s most important and meaningful values.

“I believe in country music,” the award-winning singer declared. “I believe in what I grew up on. And as long as I have a voice, as long as I have a bit of energy left in my body, you’re going to get every bit of it towards country music. I want to say thank you, thank you to the fans, thank you to CMT, thank you to country radio for giving us such a big hit ‘Til You Can’t’…Long live real country music! God bless you.”

Cody Johnson Surprises Fans With Performance of ‘Human’ At CMT Artists of the Year

While Cody Johnson fans expected the former bull-rider to perform his hit single “Til You Can’t” as it helped pave his way toward the special night, the singer actually performed another of his powerful songs, “Human.”

Cody Johnson revealed why he chose to perform “Human” rather than his hit single during an interview on the red carpet event prior to the Artists of the Year Awards.

“I think everybody thought we were gonna do ‘Til You Can’t’,” the artist explained. “But I just thought, you know what? ‘Human’ is an autobiographical song. That’s who I am. It’s who Brandi and I are — all those times that she never tried to quit me or fix me or slow me down. There’s a lot about that song that is me. So, I thought, what better way to introduce myself to the world?”

Other honorees at the 2022 CMT Artists of the Year Awards included Carly Pearce, Walker Hayes, Kane Brown, Lainey Wilson, and the legendary Alan Jackson.