Lainey Wilson 'Sat in the Bathtub and Cried' the Morning After Her ACMs Win: 'Biggest Moment'

The breakout star says she still gets "goosebumps" thinking about her big wins at the Las Vegas awards show

After country singer Lainey Wilson won big at the 2022 Academy of Country Music Awards last month, she took the time the next day to literally soak in the moment.

"I sat in the bathtub and cried," she told PEOPLE at the 2022 CMT Music Awards on Monday. "I did. That was definitely the biggest moment of my career so far. I've got goosebumps even thinking about it."

Wilson, 29, took home prizes for new female artist of the year and song of the year, for her hit "Things a Man Oughta Know."

The rising star says she was grateful that her family was at the Las Vegas show to witness and celebrate her achievements since they've helped support her dream since childhood.

In fact, at age 14, she began making annual Nashville pilgrimages with them from their Louisiana hometown to attend the CMT Awards, as well as the four-day CMA Fest; before the pandemic, the two events were held for years during the same week in June.

Lainey Wilson
Lainey Wilson. Jason Kempin/Getty

"It was kind of this thing for my parents," she said. "They were like, 'OK, let's go so she can watch and learn and get some inspiration.' And that's what happened."

During one CMT show, she recalled, her mother noticed her staring intently at the performance onstage, and she asked, "Lainey, are you not having fun?"

"I was quiet, I was just watching, my eyes were peeled, and I was taking notes," the artist explained. "I was like, 'I'm going to do this.'"

Since moving to Nashville on Aug. 1, 2011 — she remembers the exact date — her goal has always been "to be accepted by the country music community and the family." Now, she added, "I feel like I'm kind of becoming one of them, and it just feels wild and weird. But I also know that this is how it was supposed to go. There was never a doubt in my mind that this is it."

Wilson was nominated Monday night at the CMT Awards for video of the year (for "Never Say Never," her collab with Cole Swindell) and CMT digital-first performance of the year (for "Things a Man Oughta Know" from the CMT Studio).

Lainey Wilson in PEOPLE ACM Awards 2022 Photobooth
Lainey Wilson. Ben Trivett

"Things a Man Oughta Know," her breakthrough single, is "about treating people right," she told the audience during her ACM Awards acceptance speech.

"It's not something that just a man oughta know," she said. "It's something that we all need to know. It's about the golden rule."

In the emotional speech, Wilson recalled growing up in Baskin, Louisiana, "a town of 264 people … where country music is life." And, she added, "country music is my life. It has been my life for as long as I can remember. Country radio has supported me so, so much and I'll tell you what, the country music fans have wrapped their loving arms around me, which is a prayer answered."

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