Thomas Rhett
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty
Gabrielle Olya and Janine Rubenstein
February 12, 2017 08:10 PM

Thomas Rhett is coming off his best year ever – and hopes to top it with a Grammy win in 2017.

“There’s a lot of things that happened in 2016 that were firsts for me,” the country crooner, 26, tells PEOPLE. “Up until last year, I never won an award before. It kind of seemed like this song that I had, that I wrote about my wife, kind of seemed to just win at all these shows.”

Rhett picked up his first CMA for his single “Die a Happy Man,” which he wrote about his wife Lauren, last November. And tonight, he is nominated for best country song of the year.

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“To be nominated for a Grammy was literally that moment when I was like, 2016 was the year that I felt my career go from this level to this level,” he says. “I think it was just a combination of things.”

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