She’d long been an afterthought with the Country Music Association, failing to secure an award in her six-year career, but the organization righted past wrongs by honoring Shania Twain with its most significant trophy in 1999.
Twain had taken losses twice for the Horizon Award, and had been defeated in both her Female Vocalist of the Year nominations, including earlier in the evening. But Reba McEntire beamed with joy as she read Twain’s name to make her only the fifth female artist in history to take the CMA’s top award.
Twain acknowledged the Hall of Fame inductions of Conway Twitty and Dolly Parton that same evening, and gave credit to McEntire for her influence on Twain’s entertaining. She also spoke humbly of the commitment of her road band and crew, and earned an enthusiastic response from Vince Gill, who noted after the speech that the critics would be silenced after the win.
Although she has presented and performed multiple times at the CMAs in the last decade, Twain has yet to take another trip to the podium and has only received one other nomination, 2005‘s Vocal Event of the Year for her duet with Billy Currington, “Party for Two.”