CMIL Exclusive: Cole Swindell’s Down Home Hang Winner Is Nervous and Excited for ACM Awards Trip

CMIL Exclusive: Cole Swindell’s Down Home Hang Winner Is Nervous and Excited for ACM Awards Trip

Cole Swindell - CountryMusicIsLove

Cole Swindell is preparing to walk the red carpet at Sunday’s 50th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, and so is Katarina Gillespie, a member of the U.S. armed forces, who happens to be one of Swindell’s biggest fans.

Katarina, who resides in Valdosta, GA, won the singer’s Down Home Hang Contest, and now, she and a friend are on their way to Dallas to attend the ACM Awards and meet Cole on the red carpet before the show.

Swindell thought of the contest as a way to give back to his fans, who he credits for giving him “so much” and of course, for his fan-voted ACM New Artist of the Year nomination. Watch below as the “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey” singer surprises Katarina with the good news via Skype.

We caught up with Katarina just before her trip to Dallas to get her thoughts on winning and to see how she’s preparing for “Country Music’s Party of the Year.” See what she had to say below.

CMIL: What was your first thought when you won the trip to the ACMs?
KG: Honestly my first thought when I found out I had won was “is this real life?!” I went out on a whim and made a video to enter in the contest, not thinking I even had a chance against the hundreds of other entries. Plus, the fact that Cole himself told me via Skype that I had won completely blew my mind. Really goes to show you what kind of person he truly is.

CMIL: How are you preparing for your trip?
KG: Well, let’s see…first things first: I had to find the perfect dress to walk down the red carpet in. Then I had to make sure I had plenty of cute outfits to wear while I’m in Dallas. So pretty much a lot of shopping, along with some hair and nail action!

CMIL: Can you give us a hint as to what you’re wearing on the red carpet?
KG: As bad as I want to give ya’ll a hint as to what I’m wearing, I think I’m going to keep it a secret! Ya’ll will just have to wait and see 🙂

Cole Swindell Trip Winner

Pictured: Katarina (right) and her friend who is making the trip to Dallas with her

CMIL: What’s your favorite Cole Swindell song?
KG: That is a tough one, I love all of Cole’s songs. I’d say “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey” is probably my favorite. I am military, and the fact that Cole makes a toast to the military in the song means a lot to me.

CMIL: Are you nervous at all?
KG: Of course I am nervous, but I think my excitement trumps the nervousness. I just have to remember to be myself and everything will be good. The best way for me to deal with my nerves is to just not think about what is making me nervous. Which is difficult to do at times, but I want to enjoy this trip to the fullest without having to worry about my nerves!

CMIL: If you could run into any other artist at the ACM Awards, who would it be and why?
KG: I would be honored to run into any country music artist at the ACM Awards, but if I had to choose one I’d say Luke Bryan. I have been a fan of his music for as long as I can remember. I would love the opportunity to meet him for the first time, and what better place than the ACM Awards!!

Swindell is vying for the title of ACM New Artist of the Year alongside Sam Hunt and Thomas Rhett. Fans can still vote at