Chris Stapleton Honors Late Friends In His Acceptance Speech: “I Miss You Guys”


Chris Stapleton dedicated his CMA Male Vocalist of the Year win to his late friends.

On Wednesday night (Nov. 8) at the 57th Annual CMA Awards, Chris Stapleton lengthened his remarkable winning streak in the Male Vocalist of the Year category. The soulful singer earned his seventh career win in the category, extending his run as the artist with the most wins in the Male Vocalist of the Year category in CMA Awards history. He broke that record in 2022 with his sixth win.

Christopher Polk / Variety via Getty Images

Stapleton almost looked astounded as he took to the stage to accept the honor.

“Any one of these guys in this category deserves this award,” he said as he opened his acceptance speech. “I’ve won a couple of these, and I’m always shocked that I win one. And I’m humbled here tonight to get to stay in such a wonderful crowd of people.”

He then took a moment to thank his wife and fellow singer, Morgane, who beamed brightly in the crowd.

“I want to thank my wife Morgane, who I don’t want to do any of this without her. Certainly don’t get any of these without her,” the singer said while holding up the award.

Stapleton took the stage with Carly Pearce after securing his win to perform their heart-wrenching duet “We Don’t Fight Anymore.” 

An Eventful Year

As a live performer, Stapleton has had a standout year, commencing with a powerful rendition of the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. He then embarked on a revamped version of his annual All-American Road Show Tour, featuring stadium performances alongside George Strait and Little Big Town, a lineup that extends into 2024.

Stapleton has also been unveiling fresh new music, venturing into the realms of rock and soul. His collaboration with Carly Pearce on “We Don’t Fight Anymore” at the CMAs showcased his vocal finesse, while his solo release, “White Horse,” highlighted his rock prowess.

Notably, he was also nominated for the prestigious Entertainer of the Year award for 2023, although the honor ultimately went to Lainey Wilson.

An Emotional Dedication

Stapleton appeared to hold back emotions as he dedicated his win to two friends who passed away this year. Mike Henderson, who was one of his longtime collaborators and co-founder of The SteeDrivers, and Eric Burrows, a former member of Stapleton’s security team. 

“Thinking about a couple friends I lost recently this year, Mike Henderson and Eric Burrows. I want to send this one out to them. I learned a lot from Mike writing and [Eric] protecting my family for a long time. I miss you guys. Thank you,” Stapleton said in closing.

He triumphed over qualified competitors to secure his win for Male Vocalist of the Year. Jelly Roll, Luke Combs, Morgan Wallen, and Cody Johnson were all contenders in the category this year. Securing the CMA award for the third consecutive year, Chris Stapleton undeniably stands as a deserving recipient of the title.

Watch his full acceptance speech below!

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