With the release of her 2021 sophomore album, Stand For Myself, four time Grammy-nominated Yola has cemented herself as one of modern country music's most powerful voices — and the title track alone is proof, with its empowering lyrics ("Now I'm alive, alive") and disco-inflected take on classic soul sounds.

At the annual CMT "Artists of the Year" show on Wednesday, October 13, Yola celebrated her hugely successful year as a guest artist during Mickey Guyton's performance of "Remember Her Name," broadcast live from Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

Guyton, who was named Breakout Artist of the Year, later emphasized the importance of country making space for artists like her and Yola. "To that little seven-year-old Black girl at home, that indigenous boy, that LGBTQIA+ teen, and that Latino boy or girl, and anyone marginalized or unseen — and yes, even the haters on social media — this is for you," she said.

So PAPER followed Yola at the CMT's, where she wore a shimmering golden Edwing D'Angelo gown with purple hair courtesy of Nashville-based stylist Chelsea Thompson. From hanging out backstage with artists like Garth Brooks, Kevin Olusola and Chris Stapleton, to taking the red carpet for interviews and photo opps, go behind the scenes of Yola's night.

Photography: Ross Smith
Styling: Memsor Kamarake
Hair and makeup: Chelsea Thompson
Dress: Edwing D'Angelo
Jewelry: Mateo
Boots: Avigail Collins and Chelsea Thompson

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