Long before he made his seamless segue into the realm of country music, Darius Rucker was a staple in pop music, fronting the multi-platinum-selling, Grammy-winning band, Hootie and the Blowfish. Now that Darius has achieved success as both a rock and country star, he's setting the record straight about why he has both feet firmly planted in country music.

"It's totally different, from the relationship you have with radio to the relationships you have with your fans and label," Darius tells Boston.com. "You actually have relationships in country music. When we were the biggest band in the world, I didn't even know the program directors in my hometown. Now I know everybody."

While Darius may have shocked some with his move to country, his band members were not the least bit surprised. "That was the joke of our band," he says. "Ever since I was 19 or 20, the joke was that I always wrote country songs and we played rock 'n' roll songs."

His fellow Hottie members, however, didn't make the move with him to country music, a decision some of them may now regret. "A couple of the guys were actually interested and would have done it," he tells The Boot. "One of the guys didn't want to do it. I'm not sure if it would have been as successful if we had done it together."

And what a success story he's had on this career resurgence. Last year, Darius won the coveted CMA Award for Best New Artist -- a win that still surprises him almost a year later. "I was shocked," he admits. "When I told my manager four years ago that I wanted to make a country record, he told me he didn't think we could get a record deal. I think it was the Hootie [and the Blowfish] stigma. So to have been this successful was a shocker."

Darius still gets together with the members of Hootie and the Blowfish, mostly for charity events, but while he says he looks forward to making music with the guys again, there are no immediate plans. "There will be a tour and a record sometime, but not anytime soon. Years away."

Darius has a new album, 'Charleston, SC 1966,' hitting shelves in October. He is currently opening the show for good friend Brad Paisley as part of Brad's H20 World Tour. Find tour dates here.