The stars united at the St. Jude Country Cares Seminar in Memphis, Tennessee, earlier this week to raise funds and awareness for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Only ET was with the country superstars backstage during the second day of the event, where they opened up about how meaningful the event and St. Jude research is.
But first, ET surprised Paisley with former St. Jude patient and cancer survivor Addie Pratt, who is featured on his song "Alive Right Now."
"When we wrote it, the song has sort of a lighthearted take on how great it is to be alive in 2020," Paisley told ET's Cassie DiLaura. "But we sort of turn it to say, also they're curing people now of things where they weren't in the '60s. 40 or 50 years ago, they weren't doing what they're doing now and you can credit St. Jude for that. So I wanted to make sure there was that element in the song."
As for Pratt, she's been a huge fan of Paisley's and loves how uplifting his music has always been. "That song means the world to me and so many others survivors and patients and their families and just the St. Jude community," she said.
Giving back means more to Paisley, he said, than winning all the awards and accolades. "Randy Owen, who started this whole ball rolling in country music with St. Jude as a charity of choice, said to me when he first met me, he said, 'When you look back at your career, you're going to not think so much about awards or accolades or no. 1 songs or success. You're going to think back on these moments. The moments that you help people and the good that you do. So don't bypass that. Don't let that suffer in the wake of all your success. Make sure you give back,'" he recalled, adding, "and it stuck with me."
The father of two also credited his wife, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, as the reason his family started working with various charities. "She used to do it back when [our kids] were first just toddlers," he said. "She would do Meals on Wheels and deliver meals with one of them in a car seat, because she remembered her mom doing it. She's good at that. I follow her lead."
As a new father himself, Young, 38, sees the children at St. Jude as "superheroes" and can't imagine what their parents are going through.
"Now that I'm a dad and every single day I'm finally spending a few days away from my daughter and it's driving me crazy... I just don't want to miss anything," he expressed. "Knowing that kind of love I have for my child, it makes what these parents must be going through -- with children that are sick and battling this disease -- even more relevant."
Young added that he would be "missing the point" if he wasn't using his platform for something other than music. "This is exactly what the whole point of any celebrity or success or platform is all about," he said. "These kids are -- I say this every time, I come here and visit -- but they're the ones going through the most difficult things the world can throw at them and then they're showing up with the best attitude and the biggest heart. I feel like I almost always walk away feeling selfish, like I got more out of it than they did. For such an amazing organization that does so many good things and for these kids that just deserve more than we can ever give them, this is a fun thing to do and [I'm] always honored to be a part of anything St. Jude is doing."
Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood, meanwhile, received the Angels Among Us Award at the event for their efforts to raise funds and awareness for the hospital.
"My favorite part is getting to meet some of the patients and their families, and connecting with them," Scott told ET, with Haywood adding, "It puts it in perspective for sure. We're all parents, so this feels more real than ever."
"We've been a band now for 13 years. We feel like we've accomplished so much," Kelley said of the honor. "It is funny as we've gotten older and having kids, it just makes you go, 'Wow. What are the things, hopefully, they are gonna see and actually be proud of their parents the most for?' We hope this is a part of it."
"Being a part of this has taught me how to give back more," he continued. "I think that's what so smart about what's happening here, is you get all these newer artists coming in and seeing it. That way it's a connection. It's not just this faceless charity were giving too."
"There's really families and real patients behind this money and they need it so desperately. I think I heard that it takes over two million dollars just to keep the lights on every day. That's an enormous undertaking and we want to be a small part of that."
And the music and celebrity presence does help the patients, as former St. Jude patient Jovan, who suffered from leukemia, told ET during the event, "I feel like through music, it helped me, motivated me more. It makes me feel like I'm going to do better and better. All the music I listened to was country, hip-hop or R&B, which motivated me to do better. So I feel like the music was a huge part of my life."
Jovan now plays in the marching band and the University of Memphis and said he's carried the love and compassion he felt at St. Jude with him throughout his life. "I feel like the celebrities and the patients' interactions, it gives us hope and also tells our story to help the celebrities help raise money. It's just a huge opportunity for the patients to feel like, 'Oh my god, my hero is with me and giving hugs.' It's just beautiful."
Visit stjude.org for more information. See more on country stars giving back in the video below.