Darius Rucker sold more than 20 million albums as a member of the rock band Hootie & The Blowfish and charted 16 singles on the Billboard charts. Yet it wasn't until he released a country song that he scored his first No. 1 record. Rucker was in Nashville last week to celebrate that success with his 'Don't Think I Don't Think About It' co-writer, Clay Mills (pictured left).

"We (Hootie and the Blowfish) had several hit songs in rock music, but we never had a party for it!" Rucker announced at the celebration. "I never heard of anything called a 'No. 1 Party' until I went into country music."

Rucker says he is thrilled that the country industry and country fans have accepted him into the genre. "It feels so great to not be the new guy anymore, I feel like part of the family now," he said in accepting his plaque from performing rights organization ASCAP. "When I was here making this record I didn't know what to expect. I felt like one of the new guys for so long, and I wasn't sure that people would accept me. Even my record label told me not to expect a No. 1 record with my first release. So for awhile I felt like an outsider trying to get accepted, but today I feel like an insider."

Darius Rucker Performs 'Don't Think I Don't Think About It' Live: 

Rucker didn't just wake up and decide one day to record a country album. He has been coming to Nashville for years, writing with some of Music City's finest songwriters.

"I think that is one of the things that has been good for me," he explains. "The writers and other people here knew my love for country music was real so they were willing to write with me. Plus the label was willing to sign me and do what it takes to make it work and that was a cool thing."

Rucker says he was also lucky in that fans can easily relate to 'Don't Think I Don't Think About It.' "If you're married and got five kids and you're crazy about your wife or husband, and you hear that this person you lived with for two years eight years ago was getting married you're gonna think about it. Everyone's been there at one time or another," he says.

Rucker's second country single, 'It Won't Be Like This For Long,' has already been sent to country radio and he's working as hard to make it a hit as he did on his first single. He's also scheduled to tour with Brad Paisley and Dierks Bentley in early 2009.