Cole Swindell Thanks Jo Dee Messina While Accepting Country Song Of The Year At 2023 iHeartRadio Awards

“As a kid growing up listening to Country radio, I’m living proof that you can achieve your dreams,” Swindell said during his acceptance.

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Andrew Wendowski

Andrew Wendowski is the Founder and CEO of Music Mayhem. As a 29-year-old entrepreneur, he oversees content as the Editor-In-Chief for the independent brand. Wendowski, who splits time between Philadelphia, Penn., and Nashville, Tenn., has an extensive background in multimedia. Before launching Music Mayhem in 2014, he worked as a highly sought-after photojournalist and tour photographer, collaborating with such labels as Interscope Records and Republic Records. He has captured photos of some of the biggest names, including Taylor Swift, Metallica, Harry Styles, P!NK, Morgan Wallen, Carrie Underwood, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Shania Twain, and hundreds more. Wendowski’s photos and freelance work have appeared nationwide and can be seen everywhere from ad campaigns to various publications, including Billboard and Rolling Stone. When Wendowski isn’t running Music Mayhem, he enjoys spending time at concerts, traveling, and capturing photos.

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Posted on March 27, 2023

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Cole Swindell; Photo Courtesy of iHeartRadio Music Awards/FOX

Cole Swindell’s eighth No. 1 hit was named Country Song Of The Year at the 2023 iHeartRadio Music Awards on Monday, March 27.

Live from Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, Joel McHale and Vella Lovell presented Swindell with the award for Country Song Of The Year for his No. 1 hit, “She Had Me At Heads Carolina.”

Cole Swindell was on hand in the star-studded audience with her girlfriend, Courtney Little, and took to the stage to accept the award for Country Song Of The Year.

“Thank you so much iHeart[Radio]. Before I say anything else, I just want to send my prayers and lots of love back to our community in Nashville, Tennessee that’s hurting beyond belief right now,” Swindell began, paying tribute to those who lost their lives in the tragic Nashville school shooting earlier today.

Cole Swindell; Photo Courtesy of iHeartRadio Music Awards/FOX
Cole Swindell; Photo Courtesy of iHeartRadio Music Awards/FOX

The singer/songwriter continued, “So, I just wanted to say that, but also I have a lot of people to thank. iHeartCountry, thank you so much for playing my music. The songwriters of this song, Ashley Gorley, Jesse Frasure, Thomas Rhett, who I’m on tour with all summer. Y’all come see us!”

He then went on to thank the original songwriters of Jo Dee Messina’s “Heads Carolina, Tail California,” which inspired his chart-topping hit.

“Then, Tim Nichols and Mark D. Sanders could not have done it without you. Zach Crowell, you produced an amazing record on this. Warner Music Nashville thank y’all so much for having my back and my promotions team, you’ve been so good to me. Thanks for letting me live my dream. There’s so many people like I said that I could stand here and thank, but I don’t have all night. This is a amazing to be standing here.”

Swindell continued, “Thank you for letting me do what I live. Also, thank you to Jo Dee Messina. Without her original song ‘Heads Carolina, Tails California” I wouldn’t be standing here. So, as a kid growing up listening to Country radio, I’m living proof that you can achieve your dreams. Love all of ya, thank you so much. Be good to each other.”

“She Had Me At Heads Carolina” Appears On His Latest Album, Stereotype

Co-written by Swindell alongside Ashley Gorley, Jesse Frasure, Thomas Rhett, Mark D. Sanders and Tim Nichols, “She Had Me At Heads Carolina” finds Swindell tipping his hat to Messina as he reimagines her 1996 debut single, “Heads Carolina, Tails California.”

“Out of all the ‘90s country songs we all love, I don’t think anybody would have thought we would have picked that one, but I think that’s what makes it special,” Swindell explained to media outlets during a recent interview.

“She Had Me At Heads Carolina” is the follow-up to Swindell’s two back-to-back, multi-week No. 1 hits, “Never Say Never,” a duet with Lainey Wilson, and “Single Saturday Night,” the debut single from his new album, Stereotype.

Who Performed And Appeared At The 2023 iHeartRadio Music Awards?

The 2023 iHeartRadio Music Awards also featured performances from Lenny Kravitz, ICON Award Recipient P!NK, Kelly Clarkson, Keith Urban, Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo, Latto, Muni Long, Cody Johnson and more. Coldplay also performed during the show, live from their Music of the Spheres World Tour stop in Brazil.

Additionally, the star-studded awards show included special appearances by LL Cool J, Cher, Buffalo Bills Damar Hamlin, Donald Faison, H.E.R., Joel McHale, Jordan Davis, Nicole Scherzinger, Nikki Glaser, Phoebe Bridgers, TLC, Vella Lovell, Zach Braff and more.

According to a press release, the tenth annual iHeartRadio Music Awards celebrated “the most-played artists and songs on iHeartRadio stations and the iHeartRadio app throughout 2022, while also offering a preview of the upcoming hits of 2023.”

The two-hour broadcast also featured award presentations in multiple categories, including best lyrics, best music video, best fan army, the social star award, favorite tour photographer, TikTok bop of the year, favorite documentary, favorite tour style, favorite residency and favorite use of a sample. 

Hosted by Lenny Kravitz, the 2023 iHeartRadio Music Awards aired LIVE from Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Monday, March 27, on FOX at 8/7c. The event was also streamed on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide and on the iHeartRadio app.

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Written by

Andrew Wendowski is the Founder and CEO of Music Mayhem. As a 29-year-old entrepreneur, he oversees content as the Editor-In-Chief for the independent brand. Wendowski, who splits time between Philadelphia, Penn., and Nashville, Tenn., has an extensive background in multimedia. Before launching Music Mayhem in 2014, he worked as a highly sought-after photojournalist and tour photographer, collaborating with such labels as Interscope Records and Republic Records. He has captured photos of some of the biggest names, including Taylor Swift, Metallica, Harry Styles, P!NK, Morgan Wallen, Carrie Underwood, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Shania Twain, and hundreds more. Wendowski’s photos and freelance work have appeared nationwide and can be seen everywhere from ad campaigns to various publications, including Billboard and Rolling Stone. When Wendowski isn’t running Music Mayhem, he enjoys spending time at concerts, traveling, and capturing photos.

See more posts from Andrew Wendowski