WATCH: Darius Rucker’s 2009 ‘Alright’ Performance, First CMA Awards Nominations Solidify Singer in Country Music

by Chris Haney

Country star Darius Rucker is hosting the 2020 CMA Awards this week, but it’s been over a decade since the musician’s first appearance at the event.

After years of performing with the ’90s rock band Hootie & the Blowfish, Rucker transitioned into the country music genre. In 2009, the singer earned his first CMA nominations for both Male Vocalist and New Artist of the Year. Rucker remembers his first CMAs and says he felt accepted within the country community because of the nominations. In fact, he ended up winning the New Artist of the Year award that year.

Furthermore, Rucker performed his single “Alright” during the 2009 CMA Awards.

“When I got nominated for the first time, it was that first clue that I was really being accepted into the genre,” Rucker explained. “Country music was really accepting of who I was and what I was doing. That was huge for me. When I won that Best New Artist at the CMAs, I still remember that like it was yesterday. That was one of the greatest moments of my musical life.”

Subsequently, the country artist has since earned two more nominations at the CMAs, in addition to his two 2009 nominations. In 2012, he received a Musical Event of the Year nomination for the song “Stuck on You.” Rucker collaborated with legendary singer Lionel Richie on the track. Additionally, his popular remake of “Wagon Wheel” earned him a Single of the Year nomination in 2013.

CMA Awards Being Hosted by Rucker and Reba McEntire

Now, in 2020, Rucker is co-hosting the CMA Awards for the first time with country icon Reba McEntire. This will be McEntire’s fifth time hosting the awards show. She first hosted the CMAs three years in a row between 1990-1992. Also, McEntire most recently hosted the awards show just last year in 2019.

Country stars Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley co-hosted the CMAs for more than a decade together. In 2019, Underwood, McEntire and Dolly Parton co-hosted the event. But, the awards show chose to switch things up this year by hiring Rucker as a new host.

The 2020 CMA Awards will air live on Wednesday, Nov. 11 from Nashville, TN on ABC starting at 8 p.m. EST. Usually, the CMAs take place at Bridgestone Arena. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will be hosted at Nashville’s Music City Center this year without a live audience.