'You want to recount the ballots?': London, Ont. country music star shocked to win two major awards

Aaron Allen with his awards from the Country Music Association of Ontario (CMAO) awards. (source Aaron Allen/Instagram)

Aaron Allen was so surprised to win the Country Music Association of Ontario (CMAO) Male Artist of the Year, that he wasn't even near the stage when his name was called.

"I was just like, ‘Okay, you guys want to recount the ballots?'” Allen, the London, Ont. artist told CTV News just hours after winning.

It was a huge night for Allen, 40, at the 9th annual CMAO's in Ancaster, Ont. Sunday.

He won Album of the Year for 'Highway Mile,' to go along with Male Artist of the Year.

"I was completely surprised," says Allen.

"I didn't think that I had a chance, to be honest with you, but we can clearly see that people voted. Being an independent, sometimes you think you're going up against the majors and how's this going to happen?  I guess sometimes miracles happen.”

Allen has been performing for two decades, but this past year has been a whirlwind. The former tattoo artist won the CMAO 'Rising Star' a year ago when his track "Highway Mile' took off on radio.

After his win at the drive-in awards show, Allen says it was a night of celebration, and very little sleep.

"There was a party, and we got kicked out of room 1414," says Allen.

"We went to another room and so we were up a little bit late, I've lost my voice. It was great to celebrate again and see people and talk about music. That was the best part in the night we talked about music because It's been so long.”

        View this post on Instagram                      

A post shared by CMAOntario (@thecmaontario)

With new music in production and his recently released single ‘Just getting by,' Allen plans to get that song out to radio and “see what happens.”

He plans on 'rockin' the rest of the summer and come back strong next year when the world opens up.

"I've been contracted to be on for festivals for about the last three years now but they keep getting cut so hopefully those festivals are running next year," says Allen.

"I'm really excited to play them, as I was supposed to play after Blue Rodeo which is insane.”

After a few more shows to end the summer, Allen will fly back to Nashville, Tenn. where he's working quite often.

"I've been doing it over zoom for the last couple years, and my new singles I'm always writing with people in Nashville. We're continuing to do that, but I think in January I might be flown down to Nashville, that's the earliest my label can get me out there.”

For now, he'll let his voice recover, and get ready to get back on stage.

"This was a major step we didn't see coming," says Allen.

"You don't know who's listening, and you don't know who is voting for you, so this just lets me know we're on the right path and we're doing something right. So, keep doing it, don't mess it up now."