RARE COUNTRY AWARDS: Watch the recap of this year's award winners and live performances by Kane Brown, LANCO & RaeLynn
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There was a time not so long ago when most country fans did not know the name Kane Brown. Even among those who did, many didn’t know his story, and some didn’t believe he had a traditional-enough country voice to make it. And while Kane always believed in himself, even he certainly couldn’t have foreseen then just how soon it would be before he would be mentioned in the same sentence with artists such as Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton and Keith Urban.

Yet he has made it in the industry, scoring a platinum-certified, No. 1 hit this year, and he is currently nominated alongside those superstars for Rare Country’s Male Artist of the Year, a category that also includes rising stars Thomas Rhett and Sam Hunt..

RELATED: Kane Brown delighted his devoted fans with this dreamy new performance

Kane always believed he’d find his niche in country music. In a Dec. 6 Tweet, he shared with fans one of his Facebook posts from 2013 which revealed his determination to take the country industry by storm.

“I don’t even remember putting it up there in 2013,” Kane laughed about the Facebook post during a recent interview with Rare Country. “But my fans were all talking about it, so I found it and tweeted it. And yep, it’s pretty cool to see how far I have come.”

Indeed, Kane’s star power looks to show no signs of stopping after an insane 2017 that had him making history by becoming the first artist ever to achieve a No. 1 on all five “Billboard” country charts simultaneously. He was No. 1 on Top Country Albums with the deluxe edition of his self-titled debut; No. 1 on Country Airplay, Hot Country Songs and Country Streaming Songs with his last single, “What Ifs,” featuring Lauren Alaina; and No. 1 on Country Digital Songs with “Heaven.”

RELATED: Kane Brown shows off some dance skills alongside this adoring little fan

In addition to his Male Artist nomination, Kane and Lauren are also jointly nominated for Duet of the Year in the Rare Country Awards. It’s all enough to make Kane pinch himself.

“All of the nominees in the ‘Male Artist of the Year’ category are artists that have influenced me in one way or another,” Kane tells Rare Country. “I haven’t met Blake yet, but Luke has been around since day one. He was one of the first big artists to come up and talk to me and basically notice what I was doing. Keith also had said he has liked my music. And Thomas — well, we just talk about dumb boy stuff,” he added with a laugh. “It’s cool to call them friends.”

As 2017 winds down, Kane says he’s keenly aware that the year has taught him much, especially when it comes to dealing with some of the not-so-supportive people out there.

“I’ve grown up a lot, that’s for sure,” he explains. “I have gotten to a point, especially when it comes to my live shows, that I don’t care what people think. I used to think all about what people thought about how I dressed on stage or how I danced onstage, because country artists aren’t supposed to dance. But now I know that I should just have fun up there, and when I do that, people get into it even more.”

Is Kane one of your favorites? You can vote now through Dec. 13 at RareCountryAwards.com. The winners will be announced during our livestreamed concert event on Dec. 14, where Kane will be performing along with New Artist nominees LANCO and RaeLynn.

Kane Brown reflects on his career-altering year that changed everything Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP
Tricia Despres is the contributing editor for Rare Country, based out of Chicago, Illinois. Join the conversation on Twitter at @RareCountry. We would love to see y’all there.
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