Chris Stapleton, Kenny Rogers Join CMT's 'Artists of the Year'

Breakout star and country icon will be recognized during annual celebration of country music's biggest success stories

Chris Stapleton will be honored with the inaugural Breakout Artist award at the 2015 CMT Artists of the Year event. Credit: Erika Goldring/Getty Images

CMT has revealed two of the recipients of special honors during its upcoming Artists of the Year special. The network's sixth annual event, which singles out the year's biggest acts in country music, airs live from Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Wednesday, December 2nd, and will feature performances from some of 2015's most buzzworthy acts. That certainly describes the first CMT Artists of the Year Breakout Award recipient, singer-songwriter Chris Stapleton, who will perform during the telecast. Stapleton continues on his post-CMA Awards high as his LP Traveller tops the country chart as well as the all-genre Billboard 200.

Related: 5 Things You Need to Know About Chris Stapleton

The iconic Kenny Rogers will also be honored during the special, receiving the Artist of a Lifetime award, presented by Ram Trucks. The "Gambler" singer is only the second recipient of the award. Last year's inaugural honor went to Merle Haggard.
 
"You go through your life and your career and you try to do the right things and make the right decisions," Rogers says of the recognition in a statement. "You don't always do that, but I have been very lucky. I am grateful for it all. This is a great honor and one I highly treasure. Being in with Merle Haggard on anything is always a thrill. To CMT, the fans, and all who made this incredible award possible, I can't thank you enough."
 
The 90-minute special will focus on the five acts who have dominated CMT's platforms as well as country radio in 2015. The five Artists of the Year for 2015 are Blake Shelton, Florida Georgia Line, Little Big Town, Luke Bryan and Sam Hunt. More performers, presenters and special guests will be revealed in the weeks to come.