"Then it turned into, 'Well maybe I can make a little money, make a living at it,''' said Hunt, a former college quarterback. "And then all of a sudden I was ... playing shows and they got bigger and bigger.''
Hunt's 2014 debut, "Montevallo," is a platinum success and features four hit songs, including "Leave the Night On'' and "Take Your Time.'' The album is nominated for best country album at Monday's Grammy Awards, pitting him against efforts by Little Big Town, Kacey Musgraves, Ashley Monroe and Chris Stapleton, who is also up for album of the year with "Traveller.''
"Just to be a part of the Grammys, it's really humbling, but also going to be one of the highlights of my life,'' said Hunt, who's also nominated for best new artist.
His sound is a mix of country, pop, R&B and electronica, and he's also a respected songwriter, penning songs for Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Reba McEntire and more.
He'll get a chance to hit the stage at the Staples Center on Monday with one of country music's brightest songstresses, Carrie Underwood.
"Hopefully I don't get in her way because she's a superstar and she's going to do fantastic I'm sure,'' Hunt said. "I'm excited to be performing with her and representing country music together.''
The Grammys will air live on CBS at 8 p.m. Eastern.