On the morning of April 17, Dustin Lynch was awoken from a sound, post-ACM Awards sleep in Las Vegas to his phone ringing wildly.

"I had no idea what was going on," Lynch tells Taste of Country of how he got the news that his hit "Small Town Boy" is nominated for Top Country Song at the Billboard Music Awards.

"I woke up to a ton of texts. It’s a rare occasion that they are congratulatory texts," he adds with a laugh. "I wasn’t expecting it, so I think that added to the excitement. I think the nomination speaks loudly. I think it speaks loudly for this song and the role it has now played in my career. It’s truly an honor to be recognized this way."

The way his Tuesday unfolded was drastically different from March 3, the day that ACM Awards nominations were revealed. "Small Town Boy" wasn't on the list of nominees, and Lynch wasn't pleased about what he felt was a big snub.

"On that particular morning, that was my real life and what I was feeling," he says. Lynch was being filmed as he read the list of ACM Awards nominees and struggled to find his name — the video was later shared on his social media pages — and his reaction was genuine, he says. "It was just a moment of me showing the real raw stuff. And I wasn’t the only artist on that day to feel disappointed and let down. There were other artists on that day that were expecting a little recognition for having some of the biggest songs of the year and they didn’t get it."

A few of those artists reached out to Lynch on that March morning to thank him for showing a side of the business that fans rarely get to see. "They all thanked me for shedding light on us other guys and gals," he recalls. "I was hesitant to show that side and show myself being that vulnerable — but I’m glad I did it."

A month and a half later, Lynch admits that it feels good to have the song get the attention he feels it deserves. "This (BMA nomination) signifies that I had one of the Top 5 country songs of the year," he explains.

"I don’t take it lightly. I remember hearing the song for the first time, and I think now about the journey that the song has been on. It makes me want to do it again," Lynch admits, laughing as he says it, but it's clear he's not joking. "It makes me want to think about what made this one different and what I was feeling when I was making it. I want to have all of those feelings all over again."

The Billboard nomination is very gratifying, and Lynch says he is really looking forward to attending the May 20 awards show with some of his favorite artists and favorite people. "My fellow nominees are all artists that I look up to and acts that I love as a fan of country music," the star says of his fellow Top Country Song nominees, Kane Brown, Lauren Alaina, Florida Georgia Line, Brett Young and Sam Hunt.

"There is a different energy about that (BMA) carpet. I always walk down that carpet proud and holding my head up high for being able to represent country music there among artists from all genres, including pop and hip-hop," Lynch concludes. "It’s not the usual suspects, and its inspiring just to be around them. I can't wait."

The Billboard Music Awards — which recognize the top-selling artists of each year – will air live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 20 on NBC. It's the same venue where the ACM Awards were held.

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