The Scot has enjoyed an outstanding campaign to date, one that has already yielded 22 goals and a first international call-up.
Stewart suffered from some injury issues when he first arrived at the club in January 2021, but finished the season with momentum and from there has never looked back.
“Last season was frustrating for me but that Plymouth game [when Stewart led the line in Charlie Wyke’s absence], and then I had a good game in the play-off semi final, I think those two just gave me that confidence going into this season,” Stewart told BBC Radio Newcastle’s Nick Barnes.
“I had a good pre-season, looked after myself, and then I had the base to go and hit the ground running.
“I think the fans have seen what I was brought to the club to do, and hopefully I can keep doing that because it's been a really good season for me.”
Stewart’s goal return has been impressive but equally important for Sunderland has been his durability and his all-round play.
“I always try to contribute whatever the management ask of me,” he said.
“You've probably seen me do a bit of everything this season. I'm really happy with the goal return that I've got but I always try and offer myself as a link going forward and when you've got the players that we do in those squad, I know that if I can be that link for me, they'll then create those chances for me.
“That's been key to us doing well this season.”
With Sunderland’s promotion ambitions still very much alive, Stewart is targeting a big end to the campaign.
“It's a really big honour, especially coming from a fanbase as big as the one at this club,” he said of his award.
“I'm still trying to get my head around, it's really nice.
“Hopefully I can use it to kick on now between now and the end of the season, and finish well both individually and collectively.”
Dan Neil was named as the club’s young player of the season at the awards, with Keira Ramshaw named women’s player of the year.