Miranda Lambert and the Academy of Country Music are good friends already.
They now have multiple chances for their relationship to get even warmer: Reigning female vocalist of the year Lambert is up again for Top Female Vocalist, which she also won in 2010 and 2011, plus Entertainer of the Year and five other accolades in the 49th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards. CBS televises the event from Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sunday, April 6.
The show will be co-hosted again by Lambert's husband, Blake Shelton - with whom she's appearing this season on NBC's "The Voice" and who has five ACM nominations of his own - and Luke Bryan, 2013's ACM Entertainer of the Year. Lambert also will perform at the awards, slated to sing "Automatic," the first single from her upcoming album "Platinum" (set for release June 3).
Maintaining she's "really surprised" by her seven ACM bids that tie her with Tim McGraw for the most of anyone this year, the friendly Lambert tells Zap2it, "I actually didn't know I was eligible for that many awards. I had been on the same record for a while (her 2011 album 'Four the Record') and in touring mode, and I kept getting 'congratulations' texts when the nominations came out. I was just kind of shocked. It was a really great day."
Three of Lambert's current ACM nods, including Single and Song of the Year, are for the tune "Mama's Broken Heart." She reflects, "Something like the ACMs is your peers lifting you up and making you feel like they're noticing what you're doing, There's no better feeling ... people you work with and admire, clicking on your name and voting for you."
They clicked a lot for Lambert last year, too. She emerged with four ACM Awards then, with the song "Over You" responsible for three of them.
"At some point, you have to stop comparing yourself to yourself," she reasons. "I sort of do that, but I'm grateful for everything that's happened up to this point, and I'm basically just glad to be there. Whether I go home with a trophy or not, I'm there as a nominee and as someone who matters, and that's all I can ask for."
Lambert also is pleased to be an ACM nominee for two collaborations in the Vocal Event of the Year category, with Keith Urban (for "We Were Us") and also with spouse Shelton and her group Pistol Annies (for "Boys 'Round Here"). Shelton is competing with Lambert, though, in the Entertainer and Song of the Year contests.
Nevertheless, she says, "It's so cool to get to celebrate all this stuff with your best friend and your husband. Not only is he that, but I admire him as an artist. He's been at it a long time, and watching him finally get his moment to shine - and for other people to see what I knew all along - is so great."
The timing of the ACM Awards, reasonably close to the debut of "Platinum" - which also includes a duet with Carrie Underwood on "Something Bad" - sits very comfortably with Lambert, who also will team with George Strait in a segment saluting Crystal Milestone Award recipient Merle Haggard. She feels she "really needed" the ceremony to happen now.
"I do have new music, finally. I feel so passionate about this new album and about 'Automatic,' which is a song I wrote with two friends. The message of it (about technology's impact on nostalgic times and things) is very strong, and I haven't done it live many times ... actually, just once. It's a really special year for me, a new time in my life, and I just have a good feeling about it."
Photo/Video credit: Sony