Thursday, 7 November 2013

CMA Awards: Pinnacle Award

While I have yet to watch my tape of the CMA Awards from Wednesday, I've already heard about Taylor Swift's special moment on the show. The only listed awards she won were a result of being featured in Tim McGraw's Highway Don't Care, but she did receive the Pinnacle Award for giving country music an international stage.

The artists she opened for at the beginning of her career honoured her on behalf of the Country Music Association through a video highlighting her rise to stardom. Swift seemed to shed a few tears during her acceptance speech. "You've made me feel so special right now," she said. "Thank you."

You've got to wonder what was going on behind-the-scenees. In The New York Times, Jon Caramanica asks, "How many Nashville stalwarts does it take to keep Taylor Swift in country music?" It's true that despite her fame across the world, Swift has struggled to win CMA Awards over the past few years. 

The article by points out how some people criticized Swift for bringing a new sound to country music, but now want her to come back from the pop songs of Red.

The Pinnacle Award (given only once before) seemed like a political move, and one that worked. By using the prominence of the other artists on-stage, the Country Music Association proved it accepts Swift and values her contribution to the genre. It has likely always been that way, but now, the organization has removed any rumours of rifts between it and less-than-traditional artists.

For Swift, this was a chance to speak directly to country fans without straying from her pop image. While she didn't make reference to her commitment to the country music industry, her emotional speech won over the crowd and communicated deep respect for traditional artists like George Strait.  "[He] taught me to play the songs your fans want to hear." So while Swift is no longer a primarily country artist, she showed everyone that she still loves the music. And that seemed to be enough. Balance has been restored to the Force.   

Video from


  1. This is an encouraging move - it's a shame if success in one genre means you've "turned your back" on another.


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