Jon Pardi won his first-ever CMA Awards trophy on Wednesday night (Nov. 8), taking home New Artist of the Year at the 2017 CMA Awards ceremony. For Pardi, who was also nominated for Single of the Year, for "Dirt on My Boots," the win was validation that there is still a place in the genre for his more traditional style of country music.

"You can still be traditional and win a CMA," Pardi shared with The Boot and other reporters backstage during the awards ceremony. "You may not be debuting on the pop charts along with the country charts, but you’re on the country charts, and that’s what I’m playing; I’m playing country music.

"I believe in everybody. I believe everybody’s chasing their dreams, and their influences are from every genre, and that’s what makes country cool. You’ve got influences from everywhere, and they’re here tonight, "Pardi added. "Who am I to say that that’s not country? We’re all in the same genre, we’re rocking, we’re having fun. I’m just going to have a little more fiddle and steel."

The industry recognition offers encouragement for Pardi to work harder than ever before, especially as he gets ready for 2018.

"[I want to] keep playing music, and to build a career, to make fans happy, to get played on country radio, to sell tickets, to make music," he says. "To songwriters and everybody that’s helped out, it’s just to keep the wheel going. It’s been an amazing year. Next year, we’re gearing up to be bigger and better and go back to writing a third record, and acting like we’re right back to the drawing board, and hopefully get another one of these. That’s what I hope for."

Pardi also offered encouragement to others who are questioning if they are brave enough and bold enough to pursue their own passions.

"I said, ‘This is the year that my family doesn’t have to stop the recording to find me in the audience,'" quipped Pardi before sharing the secret to his own success: "Chase your dreams."

"You’re never going to know where it’s going to go until you go. You’re never going to know if you don’t go," Pardi explained. "I always said that, and when I drove here from California, I said, ‘Man, this is going to be a big, crappy ride back.' That’s a long way. But perseverance and believing in myself and constantly keeping myself around people I believed in -- just sticking with it."

Pardi is currently on the road, headlining his CMT on Tour Lucky Tonight Tour, with Midland and Runaway June serving as his opening acts. A list of all of his upcoming shows is available on his website.

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