2017 has been a career high for Carly Pearce, earning her first No. 1 single with "Every Little Thing" and then scoring her first nomination in the ACM Awards for New Female Vocalist of the Year. Her reaction to the news was overwhelming, to say the least.

"It's hard to explain," she confesses to Taste of Country and other media about how she felt when she saw her name listed in the category alongside Lauren Alaina, RaeLynn and Danielle Bradbery.

"As soon as it happened, I was on a flight and I screamed really loud. It's like that moment that you try to let sink in, something that you've dreamt of forever. I've sat on my couch and watched the ACMs for so long, wondering what it would be like to actually have a nomination. To have the year that I've already had and then put that on top of it is just insane to me. Just to be recognized by the ACMs as somebody who is worthy of that was really special."

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While the honor was particularly special for Pearce, it may have been even more thrilling for her parents, who fought just as hard for her dreams as the singer herself. Tears flowed when they talked to Pearce after watching the nominees announced on live TV and their daughter's name was among the elite group.

"They were sitting watching it live as I was, and there's a little text chain between us and a couple other members of my family and just freaking out. They never wanted anything else for me," she says. "This is all I've ever wanted, but times it by two for them. They devoted everything to me being able to chase this dream."

She's especially looking forward to the day of the awards show.

"I think you work so hard for something and then it's just hard to believe that you're a part of the 'cool club,' is what I call it," Pearce reflects. "I'm sure that walking the red carpet knowing that I have a nomination is going to be just as surreal."

Reba McEntire is hosting the ACMs in 2018, and she recently surprised Lauren Alaina by announcing early that she had won New Female Vocalist of the Year in the 2018 ACM Awards.

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