Hello! Hopefully if you're reading this, you just watched my video! I know there is more footage out there somewhere but I wanted to use what I have in order to show you something now. I know I have been anxiously waiting to see everything.
I just wanted to say thank you to Alicia Wong and everyone who worked on The CCMAs! I was surprised to learn that the main committee only has eight members and they are all women! What a massive job for a tiny team! Alicia was the person who called me when I won (unfortunately I didn't save my voicemail properly or it would have been in the video). She answered all of my questions, completed my itinerary, booked a bus driver, helped administer my Covid (not pregnancy) test and was more accommodating than I could have imagined. Also, thank you to my talent wrangler, Vanessa who made sure I didn't get lost and the crew who safely got me on and off stage (although it was scary).
Thank you to my Aunt Joni for coming with me. We had some accessible challenges with the hotel room that I could not have navigated by myself. The tap came off in my hand and I wasn't able to get into the bed or easily get into the washroom. People might not know this, but I am unable to put on my socks and shoes or fix my hair, so although these are minor tasks for somebody else, I needed someone to do these things or this adventure would not be possible. This trip really opened my eyes again as to how things still are not accessible even though it was deemed as an accessible room. Aunt Joni had to take the bed apart so I could sleep on it and keep my hotel key because I couldn't open and close the door by myself. You'd think there would be a button. I am very grateful that I was not by myself. Every time something went wrong, we blamed it on the room and its bad vibes. Also, the room did not have enough wall outlets so you had to plug stuff into a lamp which blows my mind.
Thank you Tim Deegan! Tim was my shadow for four days. I could not have asked for a better person to follow me around and film me. We talked a little before hand and I had asked Tim to not focus on the wheelchair or make this look like I won because somebody felt sorry for me. He understood and that was such a relief. If one of us wasn't sure if we could go into a certain area for filming or say hi to someone, we just told each other we had a pass and could do what we wanted. Haha. I was glad I got to work with Tim and see that he also hoards confetti.
I was able to focus on hanging out with a friend and somewhat forget that around 6000+ people were watching.
Thank you to TD, CTV and The London Free Press for interviewing me and Mel Hwang and Dave Pereira for including me on their social media. Thank you to everyone who sent me pictures of their screens. Thank you Pure Country 93 for inviting me to brunch at the market and giving me a jacket and a pen!
Finally, thank you to the artists!!! I MISSED YOU!!! Everywhere I went, it was like, "Hi Annette!!!" I felt so welcome and was surprised by how many people remembered me. I felt like JoJo Mason and Jess Moskaluke had my back the whole time.
I was also lucky to meet some new people! Priyanka! Thank you for instantly being nice to me. I didn't even have to ask for a photo. You did. I feel like we are friends now haha. Nate Haller, I was determined to find you in a non-creepy way. Robyn Ottolini, I can't wait to see where you go from here! Dustin Lynch, you just appeared out of nowhere twice and held up the red carpet for me, no less. I had met Dustin before but we never got a photo. I took the photo he signed for me on the day I first visited an apartment in London. It wasn't the apartment I live in now, but it felt like a very full-circle moment to finally get a photo with Dustin and to see how much I've grown since that day.
Dallas Smith-- I have no words. Several days prior, I found out that Dallas wasn't going to be doing autographs or photos. This was understandable, but I was disappointed. I asked if I could see Dallas anyway but it didn't sound hopeful. Then The Washboard Union presented me with one of Dallas' award cards and that was pretty exciting! Then Tim said, "What if Dallas signed that for you?" Then we didn't think about it because I had to go on stage. When I got to watch the show, Dallas found me! It meant so much to me to have Dallas right there after one of the biggest moments of my life.
Brett Kissel-- Congratulations! I'm sorry we couldn't be together, but I am looking forward to seeing you again. It's been too long! :) It meant so much to me that you would take the time to write me a hand-written note and put it out there for everyone to see. I was not expecting that and I just cried my eyes out. I came across a photo of us from seven years ago at Music in the Fields when we met for the first time. I never would have imagined how our friendship would evolve and how our paths would continue to cross, even in a virtual way.
I guess that's all for now. What a time!