Frank Hoensch—Redferns/Getty Images

In this age of self-promotion, Luke Combs is letting everybody else do the talking for him. That’s big in country music, which is all about sincerity and humility. And—despite his achievements, including winning Best Album at the 2020 Country Music Awards—Luke has both of those in spades. He realizes that being a star is not up to him: the people will confirm it.

Everything Luke tries—from Brooks & Dunn to classic country, neoclassic country and today’s country—he sounds very much at home. He’s a singer who you can tell is really comfortable.

If I could pull him over and tell him one thing, it would be to just keep doing what he’s doing. Just follow that music. What resonates with him will resonate with the audience, with me, with everybody who’s listening.

Brooks is a Grammy Award–winning musical artist

More Must-Reads from TIME