The singer thanks the country music community for the "grace" they showed when she decided to "explore other genres"

By Kathy Ehrich Dowd
Updated April 19, 2015 10:30 PM
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Credit: Mike Blake/Reuters

Taylor Swift may be more well-known for her pop hits these days, but her country roots got her honored in front of a massive crowd Sunday.

The “Shake it Off” singer, 25, poignantly received a Milestone Award from her mother, Andrea, at the 2015 ACM Awards in Dallas – less than two weeks after Taylor publicly revealed her mother’s cancer battle.

“I’ve watched this milestone artist from the time she was a tangle-haired little girl growing up on our farm full of imagination and creativity,” Andrea told the audience.

“Ever since then, her favorite thing in the world to do has been to write a song, tell a story, play a guitar or piano – and I’ve seen those things carry her through every emotion, every experience in her life, good or bad,” she continued.

“For many years, I was her constant companion,” Andrea added. “And I witnessed a young girl with few friends become a young woman with many, learning to stand up for herself and the things she believes in.”

Later, her voice breaking, Andrea declared herself “a very proud mom.”

“I’d like to thank the ACMs for honoring her in this way,” she said. “But I’d also like to thank the entire music community for taking such good care of her.”

Swift shared an emotional embrace with her mom as she walked on stage to receive her award, thanking the country music community for giving her the chance to branch out.

“Somebody once told me you truly see who a person is when you tell them something they don’t want to hear,” she said during her acceptance speech. “So, to the country music community, when I told you I wanted to make a pop album and wanted to explore other genres, you showed me who you are with the grace that you accepted that with. I will never forget it.”

She also thanked her peers for everything they taught her.

“I’m so happy that I learned to write songs in a town like Nashville,” she said. “I’m so grateful that I learned what hard work is from my heroes who are all sitting here. I am unbelievably proud I learned to treat people with kindness and respect from country music.”