Nicolle Galyon has been writing hit country songs for nearly two decades, but the songwriter says she's got a brand-new respect for recording artists after the release of her 2022 debut album, Firstborn.

"I have so much empathy for artists," she told Taste of Country on the red carpet before the 2022 BMI Awards in Nashville. "I just have an appreciation for how brave they are to put themselves out there like that."

Many artists have tapped Galyon to help pen some of the most vulnerable, personal songs in their catalog. She's a co-writer on Miranda Lambert's "Automatic," Lee Brice's "Boy," Keith Urban's "Female," Dan + Shay's "Tequila" and Kelsea Ballerini's CMA Award-winning 2022 hit, "Half of My Hometown," among many others.

When she released Firstborn, Galyon — for the first time ever — brought that same soul-baring immediacy to a project of her own. Even though she'd spent so many years crafting deeply personal songs for other artists, nothing could have prepared her for how intimidating it was to release vulnerable songs under her own name.

"I thought I understand by being a co-writer to artists, but I didn't understand until I did it myself," she notes.

As she pursues her own career as a recording artist, Galyon continues to maintain her role as a behind-the-scenes member of the music industry, including helming Songs & Daughters, a female-focused record label she launched in 2019 with a publishing division she added in 2020. On the 2022 BMIs carpet, she explained that she makes it a point to bring her new signees with her to industry events, because those were the nights that fueled her drive to succeed when she herself was a young songwriter fighting to make headway in Nashville.

"There's nothing like coming here for the first time and looking around and seeing what it is and getting stars in your eyes," Galyon reflects. "And this night propelled me for so many years, getting to come here with my husband [fellow songwriter Rodney Clawson], who was always winning an award and I wasn't.

"It made me sad, but it made me want it," she adds of those early experiences. "So I see that in the new crop."

Country Stars Walk the Red Carpet at the 2022 CMA Awards

Country stars flocked to Nashville on Wednesday, Nov. 9 for the 2022 CMA Awards. The artists also brought their best looks to the red carpet. Carrie Underwood brought the drama with a long blue gown, top-nominated Lainey Wilson opted for a velvet version of her classic bell bottoms and hosts Luke Bryan and Peyton Manning looked snazzy in suits. Here are some of best dressed, and biggest stars, that graced the CMA Awards red carpet.

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