As might be expected, Bryan was buzzing with excitement after the show, apologizing for "rambling" and explaining that his mind was going "brrrrrrrr!" He did manage to get across many heartfelt thoughts regarding his extraordinary year, which also included an American Music Award for Favorite Male Country Artist, plus the announcement of his first headlining tour which will kick off in early 2013.
"Rarely am I rendered speechless, but I truly am," Bryan said backstage. "I don't know how to formulate a series of words that can truly tell how appreciative I am to the fans for voting and making a night like this possible."
"I always cherish fan-voted awards and hold them dear to my heart," he noted, adding, "Tonight will be a whole other level...to win artist of the year, in a class with people who've been out there certainly working as hard as I have. It's truly an honor. I just hope I can sit down and figure out where to go from here!"
Bryan recognized that a number of things went into creating his successful 2012, and praised the opportunity to tour with Jason Aldean. However, he believes that the basis for the entire year was his award-winning third album. "I honestly think it all starts with the music. When we made Tailgates And Tanlines, that fueled all of everything that's going around," he explained. "We took a lot of knowledge from the first two records, and tried to hit everything out of the park. I'm so proud we learned so much from the first two, and made an album that's making all this happen."
He also noted that there had been a few low moments this year--most notably, his controversial performance at the 2012 MLB All-Star Game, where he was criticized by some for apparently having the words to the National Anthem written on his hand. Still, Bryan insists the only way to get through rocky points is to get over them.
"I will forever take this business with a smile, and not take myself too seriously," he stressed. "I had so many learning experiences this year, little bitty bumps in the road. I think about the All-Star Game thing--I beat myself up about that because I felt that I was a representative of country music. That felt weird. But then you get over it, you move on, and the next thing you know...you win 9 ACAs!"
Bryan informed everyone that he and wife Caroline were definitely ready to celebrate late into the night, joking that the two of them decided that perhaps changing their travel plans might be in order. "We had a good night--maybe we ought to cancel our 11 a.m. flight! I just told my manager, you ought to cancel that flight," he laughed. "I always celebrate quite sufficiently. You know, I feel that's what you ought to do. Life is precious, wonderful times are precious...make the most of them and remember them as long as you can."
After a good and "sufficient" celebration, the Bryan family will be settling down for a happy holiday break--at home, with no traveling. "We're spending Christmas in Nashville, Santa's coming to the house--we've got two boys and they're ready for him to get there!"
Bryan himself, of course, seems to already have his own Christmas list fulfilled this year!
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