EDMONTON -- In Tenille Townes’ song Come As You Are, she sings that the “elevator only goes up” — and that’s exactly what’s happening to her career.

The 26-year-old Grande Prairie country singer has a new hit album called The Lemonade Stand, leads the way with six nominations at the Canadian Country Music Awards and is up for an Academy of Country Music award for Best New Female Artist.

“It feels really surreal,” says Townes. “I used to draw pictures of what this would look like as a kid and sing the national anthems at the hockey game in Grande Prairie and just feel like “one day!"

Her day may have arrived, but it hasn’t been an overnight success. She released her first album in Canada almost a decade ago, and tirelessly toured the country as a teenager before heading to Nashville seven years ago. 

Her dad drove his daughter the 45 hours from Grande Prairie to the country music hotbed. A few years later, Townes signed with Columbia Records and recorded the number-one hits Jersey On The Wall (I’m Just Asking) and Somebody’s Daughter.

She then toured North America with Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town and Dierks Bentley

“It’s been pretty awesome, definitely worth the drive from Grande Prairie,” Townes says with a laugh.

Townes’ drive to become a musical success started was something she always had. At age nine, she got her mom to help her dress like Shania Twain and take her to see the superstar perform in Edmonton with front-row seats. Townes captured the attention of Twain, who called her up on stage.

“That moment was so pivotal,” says Townes. “It was like standing next to my hero. I will never forget that night as long as I live. It was like standing and having that moment and kind of taking it in and getting a glimpse of what it could be someday. It definitely lit a fire in me that I still feel.”

Townes calls The Lemonade Stand a collection of songs that capture the way she sees the world right now.

“I hope this record reminds people of who they are, that they are not alone, and reminds them of their dreams. This record is the dream that I had when I was a seven-year-old kid singing along in the backseat of the car. She would really be freaking out right now.”

The 26-year old singer-songwriter is in the driver’s seat of her career right now, savouring the moments by keeping a journal, but she says the final chapter hasn’t been written on her journey yet.

“I still feel like I’m at the beginning of things and I’ve so far still to go and I can’t wait for those moments and adventures to keep coming around.”