Dierks Bentley is nominated for a total of five big awards at the 2014 CMA Awards, but he remembers a time when it wasn't that easy for him to find his name in lights during Country Music's Biggest Night.

Roughly 10 years ago, after the release of his self-titled debut album, Bentley was finding success with his first single, 'What Was I Thinkin'.' That lit a fire inside him, and he was determined to get on the CMA Awards. He didn't have a spot that year, however, so the singer did what any hard-workin' man would and took things into his own hands.

In retrospect, Bentley admits what he did was "totally crazy."

"That's why this business is good to get in when you're young and dumb and are operating off of blind determination, because yeah, I called Walter and I was like, 'We had 'What Was I Thinkin'' out and it was a hit but I wasn't on the show'," he tells Taste of Country.

"Not only did I call him, I like made him a video of us playing it, getting the crowd reaction, all these girls wearing little white tank tops and put together this little video and sent it to him," he furthers.

That "blind determination" worked in his favor: Bentley earned his first spot on the CMA Awards that year.

"We had 28 seconds. He gave me 28 seconds on the CMA Awards," the now-star remembers. "It was different back then ... it was hard for new artists to really get any time at all."

Bentley was also up for the Horizon award that year, but lost to Gretchen Wilson. He admits he's lost a lot and has perfected his losing face. Hopefully, this year he'll be able to show off his 'surprised winner' face a la Taylor Swift. The singer is up for Male Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year and Song of the Year for 'I Hold On.' 'Drunk on a Plane' also earned him nominations for Music Video of the Year -- which he won before the show even aired -- and Single of the Year.

So, You Think You Know Dierks Bentley?