Caitlyn Smith still remembers being a kid in Minnesota, watching country music award shows like the ACMs, so she's in awe of the fact that she's now a nominee for New Female Artist of the Year.
"My manager told me, and I remember a surreal feeling of 'pinch me is this a dream? Is this real?'" she describes. "I grew up watching the ACMs and all the award shows, so I've definitely dreamed of this for a very long time. It feels very weird to finally be 'it's here now.' It feels crazy."
Though she's been part of the Nashville scene for several years, Caitlyn recently scored her first top-40 country hit with the Old Dominion collaboration, "I Cant." She says that when she first signed her record deal in 2017, country radio was lacking in representation of female artists, with only Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert in the top 20. But Caitlyn's grateful for the shift she's seen in recent years that's allowed her to make her mark in country music.
"A lot has changed in the last five years. I came here to write country songs, but I didn't know there was a place for me in country music when I first started recording music," she explains. "In that time, so many incredible females like Maren [Morris], Ingrid Andress, Kelsea Ballerini, they've all paved this way in country radio for there to be more room for women. It's a place that I've always wanted to be and not knowing if I've had a space, and thank goodness for all those women."
Caitlyn continues, "I feel like I finally do have a space, and I feel grateful for Old Dominion for hopping on the song and really bringing me out on the road and helping me out."