Zach Bryan Says He ‘Never’ Wants to Be Considered at CMA Awards: ‘Establishments Will Always Be Weird’

Wednesday night’s CMA Awards were filled with memorable moments, from a Chris Stapleton/Patty Loveless collaboration to newcomer Lainey Wilson taking home female vocalist and new artist accolades, as well as Texas native Cody Johnson picking up single and music video of the year for “‘Til You Can’t” and Luke Combs extending his reign as entertainer of the year, in addition to earning album of the year for Growin’ Up.

However, there was one big name absent during the ceremony: Warner Records artist Zach Bryan, whose song “Something in the Orange” rose to No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is at No. 3 on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart. Bryan’s album American Heartbreak debuted at No. 1 on Billboard‘s Top Country Albums chart in June.

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On Thursday (Nov. 10), after many in Bryan’s fanbase noted that he had not been nominated at nor performed on the show, Bryan said via Twitter, “Guys I don’t and will never want to be considered at the CMA’s. My pride is fine and I appreciate all the love and support and I say it with every ounce of respect to other country artists. Establishments will always be weird.”

He added in a second tweet: “In five years all of these strange outdated systems will claim it was right in front of them the entire time. Truly more fun to laugh at than be butt hurt over. If these shows and companies wanted to be honest they would have gotten into songwriting and not award giving…any man or woman doing a task -solely- to be awarded for it shouldn’t be doing the task at all.”

When asked whether he felt that CMA-winning artists are working only for an award, Bryan was quick to dispel the notion, saying, “No I do not think this. I think there are so many talented artists that deserve [to be] awarded and will be awarded, and some just don’t care enough about a silly tv program to need an award in the first place.”

A Twitter user commented that Bryan should hold a concert outside the CMA Awards next year, and Bryan responded, “If I don’t have a show, you have my word on this.”

A concert outside the CMA Awards venue would feel reminiscent of Sturgill Simpson at the 2017 CMA Awards, when Simpson mocked the Country Music Association by busking on the streets outside of Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena as the CMA Awards took place inside. Simpson was not among the CMA Awards final nominees that year, but in his guitar case was the Grammy he had won earlier in the year for best country album, for his project A Sailor’s Guide to Earth.

Later, Bryan clarified his earlier statements, adding, “To be clear, I’m not trying to insult the validity of a CMA, I respect any artist who receives one and the existence of them; I’m just saying on a personal level it is not one of my priorities to have awards on a shelf in my home. There’s room for more important things there.”

Bryan is set to headline the Pepsi Rock the South festival in July 2023, alongside reigning CMA male vocalist of the year Chris Stapleton, reigning CMA single of the year and music video of the year winner Cody Johnson and Riley Green.

The CMA did not respond to Billboard‘s request for comment about Bryan’s tweets.

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