Sam Hunt is one of three hot rising stars nominated for New Artist of the Year at the 2015 ACM Awards, but the newcomer knows he still needs to prove himself to country fans.

“I feel like we are very new to this world,” Hunt says during an interview with, “and we have a long way to go and definitely still have to prove our being worthy of belonging.”

Although the talented singer-songwriter recently released his debut country album, Montevallo, went on a headlining tour and found immense success with his single "Leave the Night On," he knows some country music traditionalists don't consider his style to be within the confines of the genre. Nonetheless, Hunt is eager to prove that his fresh, unique style is a worthwhile contribution to the annals of country music.

His latest single, "Take Your Time," combines his penchant for spoken-word singing with heartfelt lyrics. “People who discovered us through that song say that it caught their attention and inspired them to look up who I am as an artist and dig in and find other music,” he shares. “If nothing else, it sparked curiosity for people. That was part of the goal."

Hunt adds that part of the inspiration behind his unique singing/rapping style is the desire to stand out amidst songs that can easily blend together.

"A lot of times, songs can blend together on the radio because there’s so many great songs out there,” he notes. “I wasn’t intentionally trying to be different, but that was an element of what I naturally do that happened to be unique enough to spark a curiosity for people.”

Hunt is competing against Thomas Rhett and Cole Swindell for New Artist of the Year, but he adds that simply making it to the final three is an occasion worth celebrating.

"It’s such a big deal," he admits. “It’s such a morale boost for the team and everyone who has been working so hard to progress this whole project and everything that we’re doing. Not that we’re down and out or anything, we’ve had so many really cool things over the last several months.”

The 50th Annual ACM Awards will take place on Sunday, April 19, broadcast live from Arlington, Texas.

Watch Sam Hunt Perform 'Leave the Night On' for Taste of Country