Chase Rice debuted atop the Billboard country albums chart this week with his first release, Ignite the Night.
With more than 43,000 copies sold, Rice also lands at No. 3 on the all-genre Billboard 200.
"It's unbelievable," he told CMT Hot 20 Countdown. "I mean, it's crazy just how even the last six months -- even the last month -- have changed because of 'Ready Set Roll.' ... People are finally paying attention."
The singer-songwriter attributes his success to hitting the road hard for years and building a loyal fan base from the ground up.
"We've been touring like crazy even before," he said. "I had an album independently called Dirt Road Communion, and we were just touring like crazy. There'd be 40 people. We'd go back, and there'd be 80, go back and there'd be 120, go back and there'd be 400, you know? We just kept pounding in these people's heads that we're not going anywhere, we're gonna keep bringing the music and, hopefully, you're gonna like it."
Rice says he wants to make an impact on fans whether people like the music or hate it. He joins a new generation of mainstream country artists and says the "bro country" label from critics isn't something to be concerned about.
"It is what it is," he said. "People can call us out all they want. I mean, the Highwaymen, I love those guys and love what they did, but I'm sure they didn't want to be called 'Outlaws,' you know?
"Even Waylon (Jennings) had a song called 'Don't You Think This Outlaw Bit's Done Got Out of Hand.' It's because other people were calling them that. They weren't calling themselves 'Outlaws.' If you wanna call me a 'bro,' then call me a 'bro.' I mean, whatever. We're making our music the way we want to make it."
Though still a newcomer, Rice has already seen his share of success. He's co-written several hits, including Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise," which also debuted at No.1.
Rice's Ignite the Night tour is set to kick off in early September and will hit more than 30 cities across the U.S.
Tune in to CMT Hot 20 Countdown this Saturday and Sunday (Aug. 30-31) at 11 a.m. ET/PT.