Cole Swindell Says That Jo Dee Messina Helped Him Overcome Stage Fright

The pair performed together at this year's ACM Awards.

Cole Swindell and Jo Dee Messina

Rich Polk / Contributor/Getty Images

Cole Swindell had a big night at the 2023 ACM Awards on Thursday night. He snagged both the Song of the Year and Single of the Year trophies for his hit, "She Had Me at Heads Carolina". 

The song was inspired by Jo Dee Messina’s earlier hit “Heads Carolina, Tails California” and she has been a big supporter of Swindell’s take on her country classic. Not only did she appear in the music video for Swindell's "She Had Me at Heads Carolina,"  but she has been performing with him, too. Messina joined him on stage at the ACM Awards to perform their remixed version of "She Had Me at Heads Carolina". 

While Swindell is getting more comfortable on stage, he admitted to still getting a little nervous before taking the stage in front of such a star-studded crowd. Luckily, Messina had some tips to share with the new star when she noticed his nerves. "I think she could tell I was a little stressed, because I'm trying to figure out my marks, where I need to be and [whatnot]," he told Taste of Country. "She's like, 'Look, just try to enjoy it. You wanna remember this.' I said, 'You're exactly right.'"

Swindell also noted that he owes a lot to Messina and not just for her nerve-fighting tips. "I would not have this song without [her.] So, like I said, it's a full-circle moment," he said. "I'm just getting through the performance ... and then no matter what happens with the nomination, I'm just gonna enjoy the rest of the night."

In his thank you speech for Song of the Year, Swindell made sure to tip his hat towards Messina. “Jo Dee, we wouldn't have this song without you, making the original song a hit. Thank you so much,” he said on stage. “Everybody on my team, thank you all. And, there's a kid out there tonight that's going to get inspired by somebody's song and they're going to follow it up and chase a dream just like we all have."

That wasn’t Swindell’s biggest win of the week though. Earlier, Swindell proposed to his girlfriend Courtney Little and she said yes. 

Congratulations all the way around!

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