Morgan Wallen Wins Album of the Year in ACM Awards Return

A year after being excluded from the show, he spoke of personal growth.

Written by Chris Parton
Morgan Wallen Wins Album of the Year in ACM Awards Return
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 07: Morgan Wallen accepts the Album of the Year award for ‘Dangerous: The Double Album’ onstage during the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards at Allegiant Stadium on March 07, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for ACM)

Morgan Wallen took home the award for Album of the Year at the 57th annual ACM Awards last night (March 7), scoring the win for Dangerous: The Double Album and providing one of the night’s most dramatic moments.

The project was without question the most successful album release of the year, but also the most controversial, and in his acceptance, the hit maker spoke of a life chapter that made him “a man.”

For the context, Wallen’s Dangerous: The Double Album arrived in early 2021 and immediately became the Number One album of any genre in the nation, with media hailing the young hitmaker as a bonafide new superstar. Within weeks, though, Wallen was caught in a firestorm of calls for cancelation.

In late January, Wallen was caught on a neighbor’s doorbell cam in a drunken late-night disturbance, laughing loudly with friends and using a racial slur to jokingly refer to one of his group, who was also white. Although the word was clearly not used maliciously, many were understandably appalled, and the industry moved quickly to respond.

Wallen was removed from radio playlists nationwide and “suspended” by his record label, and the ACM Awards announced he would be ineligible for honors at the 2021 show, among other decisions. Wallen addressed the situation apologizing and asking fans not to support him for the time being, stepping away to enter substance abuse treatment and educate himself on black issues — but the incident quickly turned into a political wedge. Many supporters purposely streamed and purchased more of Wallen’s music, including Dangerous: The Double Album, and the project remained at Number One for weeks after Wallen’s “cancelation,” as he pledged to donate $500,000 of controversy-driven income to black charities.

Now, a little more than a year later, Wallen has returned to the spotlight, and the ACM Awards. His current headlining arena tour has been hugely successful, with sell outs and added shows all over the country, and Dangerous broke a Billboard chart record for the most time inside the Top 10 of any country album in history. Addressing the experience on the ACM stage, Wallen spoke of personal growth and family.

“When I started this album I was a kid, by the time I put it out I was a father, and that’s more important to me than anything else,” he said, after accepting hugs and congratulations from fellow artists. “To my son, this album and this award will signify that daddy was a fighter, and he chased his dreams and worked hard to make them a reality.”

Wallen went on to call the project a huge team effort, and specifically thanked the songwriters, producers and musicians, involved, along with God, his family, friends, country radio, and “everyone who’s shown me grace along the way.”

Perhaps marking a turning point for Wallen and the country industry’s support, the moment was clearly not lost on the star. And he had one group in particular to thank for that.

“But most importantly, I have to address my fans, personally and directly,” Wallen said. “Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m blown away by you guys.”

The reaction on social media was predicatbly mixed.

Check out more of Sounds Like Nashville’s coverage of the 57th annual ACM Awards here, including a full list of winners.