Eric Church Opens up About Losing Entertainer of the Year Award to Garth Brooks

At the 2019 CMA Awards, Church was nominated for Entertainer of the Year, a category he shared with Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Chris Stapleton and Garth Brooks, with Brooks taking home the coveted trophy. Church has been nominated for a CMA Award for Entertainer of the Year two other times, in 2015 and 2017, but has never won, a fact that upsets him more for the people around him than for himself.

"It was probably more painful for the people around me more than it was me," Church said during Country Radio Seminar (via Taste of Country). "It's a trophy, that's what it is, but not to the people that push those carts. Not to the fans."

"That was who I hurt for," he added.

Church has previously said he doesn't concern himself too much with awards and accolades in his career.

"It's a trophy. I'm still going to go play the same show," Church said. "The minute you start making decisions to try to win trophies or try to move songs two spots higher on the chart, that becomes detrimental to your overall vision ... It's not about those things."

Church also said during his hour-long discussion that he also tried to not concern himself with chart positions for any of his singles.

"You can have 20 No. 1 hits — I don't know what that's like — but a lot of time there's no differentiation," Church conceded. "You can also have no No. 1 songs, or you can name seven to 10 songs. It's a lot about how that speaks to the audience, what it says and does it stand out.

"We spent our entire career trying to be different when a lot of the stuff is molded to be the same," he continued. "We always wanted to make people go, 'What is this? Who is this?' That's how we build that story."

The North Carolina native focuses far more on the music fans like than what might make it to the top of the charts.

"There have been some spectacular crashes and some spectacular successes," Church admitted. "That spirit. That freedom of when you play music here (in your heart) and not here (in your mind), it matters. I believe people feel that."

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Church is back at radio with "Monsters." The song is the third single from his 2018 Desperate Man record.

Photo Credit: Getty / Tim Mosenfelder