Watch the country industry pay a musical tribute to Shania Twain Sanford Myers/Invision/AP
Sanford Myers/Invision/AP

Country music artists gathered at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville on Oct. 19 to celebrate the taping of the 2016 “CMT Artists of the Year” event, which aired on CMT on Oct. 20.

Carrie Underwood, Florida Georgia Line, Chris Stapleton, Luke Bryan and Thomas Rhett were all honored as CMT’s Artists of the Year, while Kelsea Ballerini earned the trophy for Breakthrough Artist of the Year. But, the biggest award of the night went to Shania Twain, who was the recipient of the Artist of a Lifetime award presented by RAM trucks.

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Before receiving the top prize of the night, the 51-year-old hitmaker sat in the audience and smiled, as her peers took ownership of the microphone and belted out a handful of songs.

At one point during the special, a trio of singers, including Kelsea Ballerini, Megan Trainor and Jill Scott, saluted Shania with a spectacular medley of big hits.

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Pop star Megan was first to introduce the mash-up to audience members. She sang the beginning lyrics to Shania’s sexy, 1997 smash “Still the One.” Midway through the song she tossed it to Kelsea who channeled the words to “Any Man of Mine” in a spunky, one piece outfit. Jill followed the two hits with a killer rendition of “Man! I Feel Like a Woman.”

The three girls then made their way to center stage and sang in unison for the grand finale.

“Wow,” said Shania upon accepting her trophy from fellow country star Carrie Underwood, “Kelsea, Jill and Megan. Holy! Really, that is the truest complement ever to hear my songs sung by such exceptional vocalists and performers. Thank you, girls. It’s wonderful. It made me cry the whole time. It’s ridiculous. But, anyway, I’m flattered.”

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Shania then took a moment to recall her early days when she was singing on lesser glamorous stages. She thanked the music industry for starting where, she says, her mother left off.

“I started professionally 44 years ago,” said the icon. “Almost my entire life has been as a professional artist in one capacity or the other. I feel like I’ve lived three lifetimes.”

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She continued, “I don’t want to get off the stage right now, because I’m loving this moment. I love music, and I hope that it carries on for many more years in my life.”

Shania, so do we!

Nashville-based writer and Rare Country contributor Melinda Lorge has always been passionate about country music. Follow her @MelindaLorge and join the conversation @RareCountry.
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