Post Malone showed his love for country music while performing with Morgan Wallen and HARDY at the 2023 CMA Awards.
The trio took the stage at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Wednesday, November 8, to sing a medley of classics in honor of the late country legend Joe Diffie. After an introduction from Joe’s eldest son, Parker Diffie, Wallen, 30, and HARDY, 33, got the crowd on their feet with “John Deere Green.” They were later joined by Malone, 28, for a cover of “Pickup Man,” which ended in a standing ovation.
While Malone made his CMA debut on Wednesday, Wallen performed during the awards show twice, surprising the audience by bringing Eric Church out for a duet earlier in the night. Wallen was also nominated for Entertainer of the Year, Album of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year. HARDY, for his part, was up for Single of the Year, Song of the Year, Musical Event of the Year and Music Video of the Year.
Malone has been vocal about his appreciation for country music over the years, singing covers of beloved songs such as Hank Williams Jr.’s “There’s a Tear in My Beer” and Brad Paisley’s “I’m Gonna Miss Her.” He also performed a duet of “A Thousand Miles” with Dwight Yoakam at SiriusXM studios in 2018.
Prior to his CMA Awards performance, Malone teased that he would be open to recording a country album. “To be honest, there’s nothing stopping me from taking a camera or setting up in my studio in Utah and just recording a country album and just f—king putting it on YouTube,” he said on The Howard Stern Show in June 2022. “There’s nothing stopping me. Maybe I’ll face some repercussions later from the label and s—t. But there’s nothing stopping me from doing that.”
Fans speculated about a potential country project for Malone after he was spotted at what appeared to be a recording studio with Wallen and Ernest in a Sunday, November 5, Instagram post. (Ernest, 31, is a close friend and collaborator of Wallen and HARDY.)
As for how Malone’s performance with Wallen and HARDY came to be, HARDY, 33, hinted that his longtime support of Malone may have factored into it. “I’ve manifested this for years,” he told Audacy’s Katie Neal earlier this month. “Slight flex here, but I started following him when he had, like, 300,000 Instagram followers.”
HARDY noted that his love for Malone goes back to his 2016 debut single. “I was on the ‘White Iverson’ train. The first thing that he ever put out,” he shared. “I was like, ‘This is dope,’ and I’ve been with him ever since.”
He added: “I just like what he’s done for hip-hop and for pop music. It’s just great. I’ve always said that from the very beginning. I’ve been a huge fan. So, the time has come.”
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