Hunter Hayes, 21, nabbed Best New Artist of the year at the 46th Country Music Association Awards, or CMA Awards, which aired Thursday night from Music City, Nashville, Tenn. It was a busy night for Hayes, as the young country crooner also performed, taking to a small, circular stage in the center of the crowd to belt out his hit song, “Wanted.” His rendition was spot on, but that didn't mean Hayes was worry-free going into the night.



“It’s nerve-wracking," Hayes told Taste of Country before the show. "Anyone who tells you they’re not nervous playing on the CMAs stage, I’m afraid they’re not telling you the whole story,” he said.

Hayes, 21, was much more giddy when he received his award, gushing, "Thank the Lord for letting me do what I do!" And while he remained relatively composed throughout the evening, E! Online pointed out that he forgot mention one of his biggest supporters in his acceptance speech: the evening's host, Carrie Underwood, with whom he has been touring as the opening act for her "Blown Away" Tour.


Hunter’s debut album, Hunter Hayes, featured the hit singles, “Wanted” and “Storm Warning,” which helped launch the young artist to fame. Hayes became the youngest male artist to reach the top of the country charts at 21 years and two weeks old. The previous mark was held by Johnny Rodriguez at the age of 21 years and three months for his 1973 hit, “You Always Come Back to Hurting Me.”



Hayes has the chance to be a highly-decorated figure by year’s end; he already won the Choice Male Country Artist at the 2012 Teen Choice Awards and is also nominated for three honors at the upcoming American Country Awards, each under the umbrella of "New Artist": Artist of the Year, Single of the Year and Music Video of the Year.



Check out Hayes' performance of "Wanted" at the CMA's below:

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