On Nov. 4, 2015, kris Stapleton to be a buzzed-about songwriter through his debut album together an artist nominated for a CMA Award. When the clock to win midnight, he was a three-time CMA Awards winner who had offered the power of the night, catapulting self to superstardom in a few short hours.

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Stapleton released his Traveller album in might of 2015, earning an essential acclaim and the No. 2 point out on the nation albums chart, yet no significant radio success. However, the Kentucky native had remained in Nashville for almost a decade and also a half at that point, singing v the bluegrass band the SteelDrivers and the Jompson Brothers, and writing songs because that dozens of big country names, thereby gaining a reputation for his talent in Music City.


When 2015 CMA Awards nominations to be announced in early September, Stapleton found himself nominated for Album of the Year, male Vocalist of the Year and brand-new Artist that the Year, up against Kacey Musgraves, Eric Church, Sam Hunt and others. The singer — who joined Luke Bryan for a CMA Awards power of "Drink a Beer," i beg your pardon Stapleton wrote and Bryan recorded, in 2013 — to be asked to do at the show, and also then, top top Nov. 2, the country Music combination announced the pop superstar Justin Timberlake would certainly be authorized him for the moment.

Stapleton and Timberlake had known each various other for a pair of year by that point, through Timberlake also tweeting worship for his other musician in December the 2014. Before their performance, Stapleton shared that he'd request Timberlake around performing together even prior come the year's CMAs nominees gift announced.

When Stapleton and Timberlake took the CMA Awards stage, he'd already been named new Artist the the Year. One amped-up crowd gave them a loud welcome, and also as Stapleton sang the very first line that "Tennessee Whiskey," castle whooped and hollered in approval. Timberlake earn a similar greeting as soon as he took lead on the song's 2nd verse, and also Stapleton's mam Morgane harmonized v them throughout the song.

The trio and their huge backing band had the crowd clapping and also singing follow me by the time they perfect "Tennessee Whiskey" — but then, lock kicked it up a notch v Timberlake's track "Drink you Away," again trading lines and harmonizing through Morgane. Tv footage the the power shows Keith metropolitan filming the minute on his cellphone, Hillary Scott (among others) singing follow me and, at the finish of the performance, her bandmate Charles Kelley raising his eight in approval:


"I'm never ever afraid to gain onstage and sing and also play music. That’s mine happy place, so that doesn’t make me nervous," Stapleton mutual backstage that night. "I recognize who was standing alongside me, but at the same time, he’s so an excellent and a wonderful person, and also makes music even more fun. That was the the very least of mine worries, gaining up and also playing tonight. The point I’m most afraid of is saying the wrong thing in a room choose this. You guys are an ext scary to me 보다 that."

It to be a star-making moment, complied with by another: Stapleton earn Album the the Year and male Vocalist the the Year, sweeping the categories in i m sorry he to be nominated.

"I watch at every the faces of every the civilization that have actually helped me support my family over the years, the previous 15 years creating songs and also playing the end there. It's unbelievable. This is an unbelievable thing to me, and I'm no gonna take it it lightly," Stapleton said from the stage when accepting the latter trophy. "I've acquired to give thanks to the six world that came and also watched me play in the basement of a bar somewhere, girlfriend know? i wouldn't offer anything because that those gigs, and also maybe we'll play part bigger people now."

After the 2015 CMA Awards, Stapleton instantly saw the effects of his high-profile successes: His album surged to No. 1 top top the iTunes chart and also re-entered the Billboard 200 in ~ No. 1 — the first debut country album to host that spot because Scotty McCreery's Clear together Day in 2011 — for 2 weeks. (Timberlake, too, saw returns: His team exit "Drink girlfriend Away" together a country single, and also in February of 2016, it debuted in ~ No. 60 on the country Airplay chart — Timberlake's very first country hit as a solo artist.)

Traveller was certified platinum in February the 2016 and, at the year's end, was the year's fourth-best-selling album overall and top-selling country album. The earned double-platinum status in July the 2017 and also was the year's second-best-selling country album, after Stapleton's own sophomore record, From A Room, Vol. 1.

In 2019, Traveller set a record for many weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's Americana / folk Albums graph (81 weeks), and in in march of 2020, the album was certified quadruple platinum. As of Nov. 4, 2020, the album is tho hanging the end on both the Americana / Folk and Country Albums charts, notching 233 main on the former and also 287 mainly on the latter.

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"I have no idea what’s next. I’ve been in the music company a while, however I’ve never ever done anything choose this," Stapleton common after the 2016 CMA Awards. "It’s to be a bit overwhelming, but I’m walk to perform my finest to manage it through some level of grace. I’m gonna save making music the hopefully i think is good, and also whatever comes the end of that, that will certainly be fine v me."

A best Country Album Grammy and Album the the Year nomination, and also five ACM Awards in ~ the 2016 ceremony, space what come next. Additionally, in ~ the 2016 CMA Awards, Stapleton won Music video clip of the Year and Male Vocalist the the Year, and earned his very first Entertainer the the Year nod.