"In the video I only said one bad word, and I'm kind of proud of that!" new female vocalist winner Ashley McBryde joked to PEOPLE

By Mark Gray
April 07, 2019 08:15 PM
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Honestly, can Ashley McBryde’s week get any better?

First, she gets to perform her song “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas on Sunday. Second, she also gets to perform with one of her idols, Eric Church. And, oh yeah, she arrived to Vegas having already been crowned the winner of new female artist of the year.

News of McBryde’s big win went viral recently after cell phone video captured Carrie Underwood calling McBryde to tell her she’d won.

“I’m actually glad it was a pre-call award, because I had time to process it,” she told PEOPLE on Saturday. “I think if I found out right then and had to say something besides expletives I would really struggle… In the video I only said one bad word, and I’m kind of proud of that!”

So what was really going through her head when that call came through?

“’Holy s—’ — the most common phrase that goes through my brain. We’re standing in the barn lot out at my little place, and we were burning brush,” she said. “And then the phone rang and it was Carrie Underwood. I was like, ‘This is like the weirdest feeling. This is the weirdest feeling.’”

“It was really cool — but then I threw my drink,” McBryde added. “I didn’t know they were still filming! I threw my cup across the barn lot, and then I didn’t have a drink so I had to take somebody else’s!”

Ashey McBryde
Matt Cowan/Getty

The week also saw her fans come to her rescue after an emotional interview with CBS This Morning in which she admitted that despite her success, her father doesn’t exactly accept her career choice, instead hoping she’d move into the medical field. McBryde, who has a close relationship with her mother Martha, fought back tears while talking about her relationship with her dad.

“I didn’t know that was gonna happen,” she told PEOPLE following her ACM rehearsal Saturday. “But the nerve exposed itself, [CBS News correspondent Jan Crawford] gently jumped on it, and I didn’t wanna shy away from it.”

Be sure to check out PEOPLE’s full ACM Awards coverage to get the latest news on music’s biggest night.

Martha and Ashley McBryde
Courtesy Ashley McBryde

Soon after the interview, country music fans started publicly backing McBryde on social media.

“Oh man, did you see Twitter after that? It was insane!” she said. “People tweeting, ‘We’re proud of you! Tell your dad you don’t have to be a healthcare professional to be a success!’ The outpouring of love has been nuts. Country music has the best fans in the entire world of any genre, but especially my fans. I hug people and they hug me back.”

Ashley McBryde
Katie Kessel

The 54th Academy of Country Music Awards are broadcasting live from Las Vegas on Sunday, April 7 at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT on CBS.

To catch country’s biggest stars hitting the red carpet, tune in to Red Carpet Live: 54th Academy of Country Music Awards, kicking off at 6:30 p.m. EST and streaming live on PEOPLE.com, Facebook, Twitter, PeopleTV.com, or download the PeopleTV app on your favorite device.