As one of our featured artists on our 16 Artists to Look Out For in 2016, Russell Dickerson is no stranger to us here at The Shotgun Seat. We spoke with the artist about growing up in Nashville, his musical influences, and the inspiration behind his single “Yours.” “I have been around music my entire life,” he tells us. “I was raised in church and my dad was the choir director there and that was my first memory of anything having to do with music.” Having the desire to be on stage from a young age, he formed a band in high school and would play to a packed house at a small place in Franklin, TN once a month.
Currently an independent artist, Dickerson had no idea that he could have this much success without a major record label. “Honestly, as it started happening I was like’ ‘Alright, well we are doing this on our own,’ but prior to that, I had been turned down by every single label in Nashville,” he says. He and his manager decided to record his EP as an independent artist after seeing the incredible response to his first single. “My manager said, ‘Shoot a music video for ‘Yours,’ and let’s start there.’ He expected us to come back in six months with a video but we came back in five to six weeks. If you have seen the video it’s like a magical moment and currently has over 662,000 views,” he says. “We took that video to XM Radio and showed the head programmer and he added us in six weeks and then the rest is history and here we are now.”
The five-track EP includes not one but two versions of his first single “Yours,” the radio version and an acoustic wedding version. Inspired by his beautiful wife Kailey, this timeless love song tells the story of finding the person for whom you want to change. “You find that person that you want to spend the rest of your life with and they make you want to be a better person for them. You want to treat them as good as you possibly can,” he explains. “Before you meet somebody you are super selfish – not everybody – but for me, I was selfish and I only thought about myself and now I have this responsibility of a wife and she is the one who makes me want to be that way.” He speaks earnestly, clearly heartfelt about the love he feels and wanting to share that feeling through his music.
One of the most appealing characteristics about Dickerson is not only his beautiful voice but his humor, and his ability to laugh at himself. On his EP release date, he found himself in the middle of Times Square bubbling with excitement and so he decided to interview some of New York City’s pedestrians (and a “Despicable Me” minion) to ask them, “Do You Know What Day It Is?” ” I was expecting nobody to know who I was and I just thought it would be funny,” Dickerson says. “I am at a point where I can do that. I thought it was hilarious. I have no problem with self deprecating humor.” Be sure to watch the hysterical video below.
Currently playing shows with Billy Currington and Kelsea Ballerini, Dickerson tells us about being on stage and how it has become truly a passion. “That’s my favorite part of the whole music process, over the writing and recording and all that, I love the live performance because that’s where I get to unleash the energy in every song and connect with fans,” he says. He’s sure to head to the merch table after his electrifying performances on stage each night, and he tells us that he wouldn’t have it any other way. “I love meeting people and when I get to hang out with people they get to understand that I am not some straight faced country singer, I am super goofy and I am not behind some screen. I feel like a lot of people are scared to be themselves and that they have to fit into this country mold.” He was not ashamed to let me in on a secret – he currently loves listening to Fetty Wap and apparently does quite the impression on his snap chat (GettinRusselled).
His influences growing up taught him that you can love all sorts of music and that you didn’t have to conform to a certain genre. “Whatever was around, I listened to it,” he says. “I had the Michael Jackson greatest hits album, my sister playing Spice Girls and of course Garth Brooks.”
“It took a while for me to understand that I needed to not fit into this mold,” he continues, “and I understand I don’t have to put on this country boy thing. I grew up in TN, I am from the south, I am country so I think that’s why it took me a while to put out music into the world. I love pop music, I love country music and it’s all me. I am just doing me. Pop music doesn’t sound like the Beatles anymore and country music is the same way.”
Looking ahead in 2016, he hopes to release a full length album by May. He shares that the songs are written, it’s just about getting into the studio and recording them. As far as signing to a major label, he says, “We are going to keep doing what we are doing regardless of record labels but whenever the right partnership comes along we will definitely partner with a label. For now we are dominating and our whole team is super excited about where we are at.”
Be sure to follow Russell on his social media platforms Instagram, Twitter and grab his EP on iTunes here.