Garth Brooks on being selected as a Kennedy Center Honoree: It’s “extremely humbling”

As a Country Music Hall of Famer and seven-time CMA Entertainer of the Year, Garth Brooks is no stranger to recognition and awards shows. But the singer says it’ll be “extremely humbling” to become a Kennedy Center Honors recipient in May, during a postponed ceremony that was scheduled to air last December.

Garth’s fellow honorees include actor Dick Van Dyke, choreographer and actress Debbie Allen, singer-songwriter Joan Baez and violinist Midori.

“Like any award, the names that are already on it makes the award that award,” Garth reflects. “And to think of the names that have been presented this in the past — and the names that will be there that night — is…extremely humbling.”

In the country genre alone, the list of past Kennedy Center Honors recipients is formidable. Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson are just a few, while Garth himself took part in on-stage tributes to 2003 recipient Loretta Lynn and 2008 recipient George Jones, among others.

Garth adds that he’s particularly honored to receive the award in the name of the genre closest to his heart.

“…[I’m] probably most excited and most proud for country music. Any chance you get to ‘wave that flag’ among the many other flags of entertainment — not only in this country, but around the world — that’s always an honor,” he adds.

The Kennedy Center Honors ceremony was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In keeping with safety protocols, the May event will be formatted differently than usual, with a heavy trend toward virtual and small, socially distanced events.

By Carena Liptak
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