Kane Brown Praises Randy Travis as a 'Huge Help To My Success' at 2021 CMT Artists of the Year (Exclusive)

Kane Brown
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Brown had nothing but love for his fellow country superstar at this year's CMT celebration on Wednesday.

Kane Brown is honoring his country music mentor at this year's CMT Artists of the Year event. The singer shared some kind words for country music icon Randy Travis while accepting an award as one of the night's 2021 Artists of the Year!

"Randy, I just want to say, you are such an influence, man, and I love you to death," Brown shared, after accepting the trophy from presenter and friend Nelly.

Brown also thanked Travis for inspiring so many young artists with his music and with his actions and generosity.

"You're still doing your thing and your giving these kids [such a] good role model," Brown shared. "You're the man, so thank you for letting me do this."

Brown also performed at the event event on Wednesday, and used his time on stage to deliver a tribute to Travis with a heartfelt cover of one of his famous tunes. Brown took to the stage -- after Travis was honored with the Artist of a Lifetime honor -- to deliver a powerful cover of "Three Wooden Crosses," off Travis' 2002 album, Rise and Shine.

The performance was a beautiful and emotional take on the gospel hit, and Brown explained during his acceptance speech, "I had to redeem myself singing that song, because the first time I met you, you surprised me at a radio station and I couldn't finish it."

ET's Cassie DiLaura spoke with Brown on the red carpet ahead of the big show, and he reflected on the role Travis has had in his career.

"Randy was a huge help to my success, singing the songs, doing the covers -- his songs, they have meaning to them. He's a great storyteller," recalled Brown, who often performed well-received covers of Travis' hits while coming up in the country music world.

"For all the new artists here in Nashville... he's showing so much support. I wish I would've had that when I was coming up," he explained. "He's a great mentor."

This is the second year in a row that Brown has been honored as a CMT Artist of the Year, but this year was "especially" meaningful, "Because I get to sing a Randy Travis song for him."

Check out the video below to hear more on the celebrated CMT Artist of the Year.