Amber Riley Reacts to 15th Anniversary of 'Glee': 'We Did Something That Was Groundbreaking' (Exclusive)

The CMT Performance of the Year nominee spoke with ET on the red carpet of the 2024 CMT Music Awards on Sunday.

It's been almost 15 years since viewers first met Will Schuester and McKinley High School's glee club, New Directions, and Amber Riley has nothing but gratitude for the anniversary.

When asked about the show's momentous anniversary by ET's Cassie DiLaura at the 2024 CMT Music Awards in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, Riley joked that it "makes me think that I'm old!"

The 38-year-old added that, although many people assumed she was a teenager during the show's airing, she was actually in her 20s.

Still, Riley had nothing but good things to say reflecting on the series that kick-started her career. "It's incredible, like, that's my family. We did something that was groundbreaking," she told ET. "I'm always grateful to Glee for being the catapult for my whole entire career, and for giving me such a vast knowledge and vocabulary of music."

"This is why I love so many different genres now, because of Glee," the Single Black Female star added. "I'm so grateful for it."

Riley was on cloud nine attending the annual awards show, for which she was a presenter and a first-time nominee. The singer earned a Performance of the Year nomination for her performance of Aretha Franklin's Otis Redding-penned anthem "Respect" during last year's CMT Smashing Glass special.

"I'm happy to be here, that's all I could say," Riley told ET about her nomination. "I wasn't expecting it whatsoever! I was really shocked when they told me that I was nominated. I was like, 'For what?!' Like, in my mind, I'm like, 'What did I do?' But it was such an amazing opportunity. I'm so grateful to CMT for asking [me] to do it."

Amber Riley at the 2024 CMT Music Awards in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, April 7, 2024. - Brynn Osborn/CBS via Getty Images

Riley didn't win the trophy in her category on Sunday night; the honor went to Jelly Roll, who pulled off a clean sweep at the star-studded awards show for the second year in a row.

The "Need a Favor" singer took home the awards for Male Video of the Year, CMT Performance of the Year and the night's biggest prize, Video of the Year.

Jelly Roll spoke with ET after the show, where he marveled at his three trophies and the significance of winning the night's top honor -- which was handed to him by the final presenter of the evening, Billy Bob Thornton.

"I don't know what to say. I'm out of words. By the last time I got up there, I was like, 'Man, this is crazy,'" the Whitsitt Chapel artist shared. "It's just unreal, man."

Reflecting on the wins, the singer remarked about an unusual significance about the trophies themselves -- and how this year's red color scheme was notably different from the three turquoise CMT Music Award trophies he took home last year.

"You want to hear how serendipitous this is? I don't want to sound weird but... this is the same color red that my jacket was last year at this awards show," Jelly Roll remarked. "That jacket announced this album, and I feel like tonight kind of ended the era for this album. It's time for new music."

The 39-year-old singer also shared that he planned on celebrating his monumental victory -- albeit somewhat responsibly. 

"Tonight is going to be a cool celebration, but I'm saving [it] because I am meeting with Gayle King in the morning," shared Jelly Roll, who is scheduled for a sit-down interview with the CBS Mornings anchor on Monday. "So, what I gonna do is try to be calm. Sorry, Gayle, if I blow it."

Hosted by Kelsea Ballerini, the 2024 CMT Music Awards were held at the Moody Center in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, April 7, at 8 p.m. ET/PT. The show aired on CBS and is available to stream live and on demand via Paramount+.