In the mere two years since Brett Young came on to the country music scene, he's solidified himself as a mainstay act—with an impressive debut album, four No. 1 singles and tour slots alongside some of the genre's biggest names. All of this has warranted a nomination in the category of New Artist of the Year at the 2018 CMA Awards, an acknowledgment Young doesn't take lightly.

"From the bottom of my heart, the most important part is the nomination," he tells Taste of Country and other media. "Once you find yourself in a category like this, everybody deserves it at that point, in my opinion."

Young is nominated alongside fellow respected newcomers Luke Combs, Lauren Alaina, Chris Janson and Midland, and feels grateful to be in a category with such talent. He was recognized by the Academy of Country Music as New Male Vocalist of the Year in 2018.

"Actually winning, it's so flattering, it's incredible, but I don't think any more or less than getting down to that final five where you're in incredible company," he describes.

Young explains how the process of writing and creating an album, along with putting together a tour, is an exchange between artist and fans, and getting that validation from the fanbase is a significant part of the job. He believes the CMA nomination goes beyond recognizing his talent, viewing it as a token of acceptance from the Nashville community.

"You forget that there's this whole country music family here in Nashville, because you're never home. So to come home and to get that news and to get what I would call 'the nod' from the country music family, it's a real coming-of-age thing for me," he explains.

The nomination is particularly humbling, as he reflects on life before he was one of the genre's most notable new stars, feeling out-of-place amongst an industry that now embraces him.

"I remember my first awards show two and a half years ago, freaking out, going, 'What am I doing here? I don't belong here, I don't know anybody, nobody knows me'—to two and a half years later being on a ballot like this," he says. "It's flattering in a completely different kind of way, validating in a different way, and it's just really special. It feels really good."

Young finds out if he'll be named New Artist of the Year when the 2018 CMA Awards air live on ABC on Wednesday (Nov. 14) at 8PM ET. Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley will return as hosts.

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