ACM Awards 2021: Carly Pearce and Lee Brice win the single of the year for “I Hope You’re Happy Now”

Carly Pearce and Lee Brice have another reason to be happy now: On Sunday, they won the single of the year trophy for their hit duet “I Hope You’re Happy Now” at the Academy of Country Music Awards.

“I’m going to try really hard not to cry,” Pearce said while accepting the award. “I love country music more than anything in the whole world. I want to thank my cowriters — Luke Combs, Jonathan Singleton and Randy Montana — we wrote this song about my story, and I guess it resonated with everybody.”

Tending to her collaborator Brice, 41, and her late friend and producer, Busbee, who died of brain cancer at the age of 43 in 2019, Pearce, 30, said, “Thank you so much Lee for everything with this song. Thank you to my management, my record label and Busbee. This is the last song my producer worked on. Thank you.”

Brice at that point paused for a minute to say thank you to his administration and his significant other Sara, whom he said “puts up with everything every day and helps me and supports me.”

Later in the show, Pearce and Brice hit the stage to perform harmony the duet.

The award-winning single “I Hope You’re Happy Now” procured a spot on the Billboard Country Digital Song Sales list: it peaked at No. 7 on Valentine’s Day last year and charted for a whopping 32 weeks. Recently, “I Hope You’re Happy Now” procured the team the ACM award for music event of the year.

“To think about how hard I and my team fought to get this song right, and how much [Lee’s] voice lent … just exactly what I always wanted for it,” Pearce told PEOPLE after the win. “This last year has just blown my mind in so many ways. Country music, you saved me, so thank you.”

Brice then thanked Pearce for allowing him to take part in the track, clarifying, “Thank you so much for letting me be a part of this, and thank y’all so much for letting us be in this category.”

“I mean, from the label all the way through to my management and the people that work with me on a daily basis through all of this stuff this year,” he said. “Everybody’s worked extra hard to keep ourselves afloat and do things, and that’s really big for me, but for this song, thank you.”

At the ACMs, Pearce could likewise bring home the gold for female artist of the year, which she is designated for close by individual candidates Miranda Lambert, Ashley McBryde, Kelsea Ballerini and Maren Morris.

The 2021 ACM Awards are airing live from Nashville Sunday from 8-11 p.m. ET on CBS and Paramount+.