When Luke Combs made the leap and moved to Nashville to pursue his country music dreams, he never actually thought they'd come to fruition. But all of his success was validated when he scored a nomination for New Artist of the Year ahead of the 2017 CMA Awards.

"It's hard to make something like that a goal," Combs tells Taste of Country Nights' Sam Alex about the nomination. "Everything I've done in the last year seems really unattainable I guess, as crazy as that sounds."

The fast-rising star explains that many people move to Music City with big dreams and the mentality that they'll get to accomplish them all, and while that may be true for some, Combs never thought it would happen for him. "You move to Nashville because you think that you're going to do this or you think you're going to do that, and I don't ever think that anybody actually thinks that they're going to do that stuff ..." he says. "But here I am man, as thankful as ever. It's been a cool experience."

This will be the first time Combs has attended the CMA Awards. Though the nominees were revealed on Good Morning America, Combs actually heard the news that he's up for an award from a distant acquaintance. He was trying to tune into broadcast from his tour bus, but was unable to watch since the channel was blacked out. But when he turned to Facebook, he saw that a random peer from college had sent him a congratulatory post.

"So that's how I heard about it, it wasn't pomp and circumstance I was expecting," Combs admits.

The singer's debut album, This One's for You, was met with huge success — it landed at No. 1 on Billboard Country Albums chart and inside the Top 5 on the all-genre Billboard 200 in 2017. He's currently embarking on his first headlining gig, the Don't Tempt Me With a Good Time Tour, through Dec. 16 with Ray Fulcher, Josh Phillips and Faren Rachels.

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