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Russell Dickerson was born for the stage. “I’m just naturally that kind of dude: a big, loud and over-the-top guy,” he says with a laugh. Yes, one of country music’s most talked-about new talents -- and the voice behind the smash single “Yours,” a stunning ballad inspired by his wife of four years, Kailey, that’s racked up over 33 million streams to date on Spotify, where he’s been on the Hot Country, Country Gold Playlists and more for over a year, and exploded since being serviced to country radio in April -- need not go into “entertainer mode” before he catapults himself onstage to deliver one of his notoriously amped-up live shows.
He’s already there.
“I go out there, and I’m just me,” Dickerson, who recently tore up arenas with Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini on the Home Team Tour, says. Watch the massive-voiced singer up there, whipping the crowd into hysterics and performing with that time-honored killer instinct. He’s “running around and singing to people and messing with them and loving on them. It’s about interacting the whole time. I want people screaming their faces off. It’s all for the crowd.”
Even as a Union City, Tennessee-raised, obsessive teenage music fan, one who’d regularly wait in wraparound lines to see his favorite artists perform in Nashville (“I just got hooked on that energy”) and held up Garth Brooks and Keith Urban DVD’s as his personal Gospel, Dickerson, says being “that dude onstage was always the dream. We would scream every word of every song, and all I could think about was ‘I want to be that guy!’” Now, thanks to “Yours” and hook-heavy rockers like “Blue Tacoma” and “MGNO,” he’s steadily built a serious fan base of his own.
Now, with his forthcoming full-length debut album, Yours, Dickerson is gearing up for his most massive moment yet. “Right now I’m just so stoked on life so I wanted my record to mimic that,” the 30-year-old says of a feel-good album stuffed with equal parts swagger (“Billions,” “Float”) and sweet vibes (“All Fall Down,” “You Look Like A Love Song”). “We just kept rolling with it,” he says of the loose, freewheeling writing sessions for the LP. To that end, if there’s a palpable ease and whimsical flow to Dickerson’s melodies and lyrics it’s because he’s found trusted collaborators, the most notable of which is his wife.
Dickerson says he’d written hundreds of songs before that “gut feeling” kicked in one day in 2014 when he, Welling and Brown penned “Yours.” “When we wrote it we all said ‘This is amazing!’ And then it was just one thing after another,” he says of the song’s rocketship ride to radio. “To get that affirmation from everyone at, what felt like, every step — publishers, record label, radio — is just so incredible.” Adds Dickerson of the breakout song, which has become a wedding standard, and because of which he recorded an acoustic wedding version: “It’s such a boost of confidence. It’s validation.”
Still, even as the accomplishments pile up, including the distinct honor of playing at the Grand Ole Opry last June (“To be recognized for my craft by an establishment that’s so esteemed in the industry was emotional”), Dickerson remains steadfast in his pursuit of refining his craft and taking his career to new heights.
“For as long as we’ve prepped for this,” Dickerson says, “I hope this is just the beginning.”