LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 22: Recording artist Meghan Trainor attends the 2015 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on
Stefanie Keenan/AMA2015/Getty Images

“Basically, we’ve been going out to dinner a lot to celebrate,” Meghan Trainor excitedly tells Fuse. And who can blame her? The 21-year-old recently scored the fourth Top 20 single from her debut album, Title; delivered a buzzed-about performance at the 2015 American Music Awards; watched Title turn platinum after a No. 1 debut in January; and scored a best new artist nomination at the GRAMMY Awards on Monday (Dec. 7). 

After scoring record of the year and song of the year GRAMMY nominations for her No. 1 smash “All About That Bass” last year, Trainor says that a best new artist nod is even more special.

“This one is extra important to me, because my whole life, I wanted to be an artist,” she says on the phone on Tuesday. “And I had a lot of people say stuff like, ‘You should go to school! You should be a teacher! It’s not going to work out for you!’ Finally being here, and having the GRAMMYS notice me as an artist, is more than any dream could come true ever. I feel like I already won, because I’m an artist now. It’s official.”

Trainor says that she had an inkling that she might get a best new artist nod to cap off a stellar year—but amazingly, didn’t realize that the nominations were being announced on Monday morning.

“I had a lot of people text me and tell me, ‘You’re gonna get that,’ but you train yourself not to get your hopes up. It’s very easy to get let down and have all your dreams crushed,” she notes. “But the crazy part is that I had no idea that yesterday was the day they were gonna announce [the nominations]. I was so busy in the studio, and no one on my team or in my family reminded me, because they knew that I was working really hard and would never sleep that night.”

When Trainor finally heard the news from her assistant (“We cried and hugged each other for like, a good 20 minutes,” Trainor says with a laugh), she was floored to see the competition she was joining. Trainor will be competing against Tori Kelly, James Bay, Sam Hunt and Courtney Barnett at the GRAMMY Awards, which will be held on Feb. 15, 2016 at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.

“I’ve been following Tori Kelly since her first YouTube video,” Trainor says. “I’m obsessed with her—she’s always been a star. Being next to a vocalist and songwriter like that is ridiculous for me. And then James Bay is crazy—my whole first tour, he was all I listened to. I’m his biggest fan, and a huge goal of mine is to finally see him live.

“And coming from Nashville and then country world, I’ve known about Sam Hunt for years,” Trainor continues. “That’s a big name, and a very attractive person. I’ve known him forever, too.”

So has Trainor reached out to any of her fellow nominees yet? “Me and Tori were already texting, like, ‘What’s happening!’” she says. “I’m so excited. I get to go to the GRAMMYS now!”