Women in country music continue to reshape the genre by taking over the charts, speaking out against gender parity and gaining more recognition at award shows.
Nominations for the 2020 CMA Awards were announced on Tuesday, and three chart-topping female artists -- Carly Pearce, Gabby Barrett and Ingrid Andress -- landed nods in the new artist of the year category.
Barrett, who also earned a nomination for single of the year for her hit, "I Hope," described what it feels like to be recognized during an interview with "Good Morning America" following the announcement.
"You grow up watching award shows, and you don't really know if it's ever gonna happen," she said. "I walked the carpet the past two years and I'm just like, 'Oh, so close, maybe a nomination ... sometime, somehow.' And I feel very blessed. I think the Lord has been very gracious to me."
"It's mind-blowing to me that I'm even allowed in this category," Andress said of her new artist of the year nomination. "I still feel very new and I'm learning so much from everybody in the community, and it's just really exciting. I would have never thought this would happen."
Pearce, who was nominated in the category last year when Ashley McBryde took home the award, reflected on how grateful she is to get a repeat nomination.
"You dream of this moment your whole life, and you think maybe -- hope, pray," she said. "And to see it all come to fruition for all of us is really awesome."
McBryde, who brought in three nominations of her own this year, said the new artist category is one in which all nominees can "truly root for each other the whole time."
"When I was nominated next to Carly -- you look at your peers that are in that category with you and it doesn't matter who takes it home that night," she said. "I'm not going to be mad anytime Carly does something -- sings circles around me, nails a step or something before I can nail it. We're never gonna be upset at each other."
The group said that camaraderie runs true with female artists in the industry. "We always support each other whether we get to hang out with each other or not. We support each other," McBryde said.
After the 2019 CMA Awards largely devoted the show to celebrating female artists in country music and trailblazers that paved the way for others, it begged the question if the 2020 show will be devoted to doing the same.
Simply allowing women to get what they deserve and what they've earned is enough, the women expressed.
"I don't know if I feel like the awards should be centered around women. I don't think you need to flood the stage with all women," McBryde shared. "I think you just need to give us our comeuppance and give us our due, just let us do our thing."
"I feel like if you make it a really special thing to do just women this one time, then that gives you an excuse to exclude us all the other times," she added.
Andress said she loves the versatility among nominated artists this year.
"We're all so different, and that's what I appreciate about this year. People I'm hoping are realizing that you're allowed to be different from one another and still be good," she shared. "We're not all the same, we all like different things -- the same way guys do. ... Hopefully people are starting to realize that and realize you can be fans of multiple women and you don't just have to pick your favorite."
"And as a woman, not only can you be a fan of other women artists, but most of us are," McBryde added.
These artists are committed to the ongoing fight for more female representation. "We're all making really great music, and it's all different and it all has a place on the radio," Pearce said. "It has a place in a live show. It has a place everywhere."
"We're writing cool songs, we're making killer records and we're playing our butts off on stage and we're trying to create shows whether individually on our own bill or on bills where we get to be together," McBryde said. "We're creating shows that people want to come to more than once, so I think from our end, I think that work is being done."
"Good songs are just really starting to be played," Barrett added. "It's an honor to say that we've all had a really good experience with that, being at radio and things like that."
The women agreed that there is so much female talent in the genre, and as Andress said, "Women have their ability to make their own space."
"I don't think it needs to be this thing of -- because you're a woman, I'm going to make space for you," Andress said. "It's -- you're a talented artist and musician, so I'm going to make space for you."
"It's less about if you're a girl," she added. "It's about are you a dope person and musician? And do I like your music? That's what matters."
However, they are grateful to many women in the industry who have influenced their careers and supported them.
"A female that's really taken me under her wing is Kelsea [Ballerini]," Pearce said. "Back before I had a record deal, she took me out on the road, not because I was a woman and she felt like she needed to prove something by rallying around me, but just because she was a fan of my music. Now to have that come full circle ... I definitely want -- and I think all of us would speak to this -- to rally around people who make great music and support each other in that regard."
"I feel like there's just a lot of wonderful women that I fortunately got to grow up listening to: Shania [Twain], Carrie [Underwood], Miranda [Lambert], Trisha Yearwood," Barrett added. "I mean there's just so many that have paved the way for a lot of people, so I think those are good steps to be able to follow in."
McBryde said that she's felt supported by Terri Clark and Lambert, while Andress said Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman from Little Big Town have supported her "since day one."
"I appreciate the content they talk about and I appreciate how they use their platform to help further along country music," Andress shared. "They've been a huge inspiration for me as far as how long they've been in the business."
"There's so much to learn from every generation that's been in front of you," she added.
The 2020 CMA Awards will be broadcast live on Nov. 11 on ABC.