10/01/2013 at 11:15 AM EDT
For Luke Bryan, fame can have its drawbacks.
"Someone was knocking on the door last night at 3 a.m. – and that happens all the time," says Bryan's wife, Caroline. "I've seen people go through our trash."
Still, "being me right now is just amazing," Bryan says. "My life is truly everything I could have dreamed it would be."
Since Bryan's surprise Entertainer of the Year win at the Academy of Country Music Awards in April
– a fan-voted category that saw him best both Blake Shelton
and Taylor Swift
– the Georgia native has risen to superstar status.
His Crash My Party
CD sold more than half a million copies in its first week of release in August, making it the third biggest album debut of the year behind Justin Timberlake
and Jay Z.
"Who would have thought that a few songs about shaking your ass would lead to all this?" the singer wisecracks.
True, the "That's My Kind of Night" singer's posterior has its own share of fans (along with at least three Twitter accounts that have been set up in its honor). Neither is the singer shy about showing off his moves on stage.
"We're putting on a show and if I'm dancing and having fun, you can take a shot of the crowd and they've got smiles glued to their faces," he says.
Bryan's appeal, says his pal guitarist Michael Carter, is widespread: "The girls want to jump on stage and hug him and guys want to jump on stage and have a beer with him."
But beneath Bryan's good-nature lies a tragic family history: his older brother was killed in a car accident in 1996 and his older sister died in 2007. The losses tested his faith, but ultimately, "I always just chalked it up as God has a plan and I can't get caught up in questioning that too much," he says.
"I'm a really, really optimistic and really, really positive person. My main thing is enjoy life. Celebrate life."
For much more on Luke Bryan, plus stories on stars like Keith Urban, George Strait and Miranda Lambert
and free music downloads from Chris Young, The Band Perry and five other great artists, pick up the new copy of PEOPLE Country