Ryan Montgomery Met Camille Griffith on Set of His 'Whiskey & Smoke' Video: 'We Never Saw It Coming' (Exclusive)

"I just picked her up from the airport and we had dinner — nothing really crazy," he remembers. "And then as soon as we started shooting the video, that was it"

Ryan Montgomery fell in love with Camille Griffith last December on the set of his music video for his single "Whiskey & Smoke" — and things have only gotten hotter between the two smoke shows.

"I'm in Nashville right now and she's here with me," says Montgomery, 25, during an interview with PEOPLE about his girlfriend, a content creator. "It's just been crazy. We never saw it coming."

Understandably so, as Montgomery remembers first connecting with Griffith via mutual friends during CMA Fest last year, but it wasn’t until the filming of the fiery "Whiskey & Smoke" video that things heated up between the two.

"She came in the day before we shot the video, and I just picked her up from the airport and we had dinner and stuff — nothing really crazy," he remembers. "And then as soon as we started shooting the video, that was it. She was supposed to fly out the next day back to Arizona, and she ended up moving her flight and staying a couple more days. It was just crazy the way everything worked out."

It’s one of the many things that has just "worked out" for the former ice hockey player who homed in on his musical craft as a teen from the back tailgate of his pickup truck in his home state of Florida. 

"I was 18 years old, and I would just drop my tailgate down and set my speakers up and just play country music in parking lots for hours," he recalls. "My goal at that point was to have a tour where I could maybe go and do some small shows at different places. Right now, of course, my goals are way bigger, but I really can't believe that we are where we are at. It's really crazy."

<p>Bailey Accorto</p> Ryan Montgomery

Bailey Accorto

Ryan Montgomery

Where Montgomery is at right now is on his Whiskey & Smoke Tour, crisscrossing the country as a headliner through the end of the year. Montgomery also recently released his next single "Missin’ a Girl," featuring a stellar lineup of writers including Ashley Gorley, Jaren Johnston and Chris DeStefano

"I'm such a huge fan of these guys," Montgomery explains. "To get to collaborate with some of my songwriting idols is just insane. They've all written songs for Florida Georgia Line and Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan, and now me!" He laughs. "This is just really something I don't know that I ever dreamed could even be possible."

Related: Ashley Gorley: From Carrie to Luke, Everything to Know About Country Music's King of No. 1s

Nevertheless, it’s a dream that Montgomery wakes up to every day, especially as "Missin' a Girl" continues to snag some well-deserved attention over social media and such.

"'Missin’ a Girl is such a special song," he says. "I think we've all had that where we have a song with somebody or we have a drink with somebody somewhere when you're dating them, and then you break up or drift apart, and you go that same place or listen to that same song, and you start missing them."

Certainly, Montgomery has known that feeling, but it’s one that he says he hopes he doesn’t want to feel anytime soon as his relationship with Griffith seems to show no signs of slowing down. And it’s this love story that the couple say they want to continue to share with fans.

"I try to be as authentic as possible in my life," Montgomery says. "There's definitely some downsides of doing that, but we both feel like it's real and it is what it is, so why not share it with everybody?"

Because in a cruel world, Montgomery says love feels good.

"My family was able to come to my first ever headlining amphitheater show in my hometown," remembers Montgomery. "They came on the bus and stayed on the side stage and watched the show at this big amphitheater. It was really cool."

And it’s all these people that will keep the rising country star grounded in the days ahead. "My grandpa served in Vietnam," Montgomery explains, "And he's just somebody that no matter what's going on, he is always in my ear about staying grounded, appreciating everything and valuing what's really important in life."

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