If you looked up perseverance in the dictionary, you’d likely see a picture of rising Country singer-songwriter Russell Dickerson in the definition.
Dickerson’s current single Yours was released back in 2015 and two years on, the song is still climbing up the charts. It’s also given Dickerson opportunities to take his music internationally and release his debut album of the same name, which arrives on Friday.
I caught up with Russell ahead of the album release to talk about his headline performance at this summer’s Nashville Meets London, discuss his long road to success and to find out what the album process has been like for him.
Over the summer you headlined Nashville Meets London here in the UK in the torrential rain. What was that experience like for you?
Oh man! That’s my first time playing my music overseas. I had no idea what to expect, honestly. The fact that people showed and it was raining…the lawn was packed and there were people singing my songs! It gave me chills just to see that. That was just a really crazy experience of how far music can reach.
The audience was very enthusiastic during your set. Did that take you by surprise?
Yeah they were. They started to chant and it just kept going and kept going and kept going. It was so cool to see that.
Did that experience give you the hunger to come back and do more shows over here?
Absolutely. Already working on it. I was like, ‘whatever we have to do to come back UK, whatever we have to do… that was crazy!’
You put on such a great show. It’ll be great to have you back for some headline shows in the future!
Thank you so much. It’s on my list of ASAPs to get back.
Your single Yours has been somewhat of a slow burn. Congratulations on the song being certified Gold. How has the journey of that song been for you?
It’s honestly just a story of perseverance really and tenacity. I knew I knew how special the song was, the day we wrote it. When it wasn’t validated in any other way, I knew that I had a song that deserved to be Gold and deserves to be Platinum and all of that. I just kept going. I knew that we had something special. After being turned down by so many people time after time it was like, ‘alright forget it, we’re just going to do this on our own’. My wife and I went out with a buddy and shot a music video for Yours, the black and white one with the lightning and rain. That was kind of the jumpstart to it. The next thing we knew it was getting picked up on the radio and this was at the end of 2015. It led to Spotify, it led to a record deal and now it’s being played all over the country on Country radio.
Did you feel more of a sense of satisfaction because you have got to this point through perseverance and hard work?
Absolutely. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I wouldn’t trade how hard we worked and the success we’ve had for anything easier at all. Just talking to people they look at what we’ve done and they’re just like, ‘if he can do that I definitely can!’
I remember the first time I heard Yours and I thought it would be a cracking wedding song. I love that you’ve included a ‘wedding version’ of the song on your album. Why did you decide to do that?
Honestly it started with a fan. It started out slow but I was getting a ton of people telling me they were using it for their wedding song or when they were walking down the aisle. They were asking if there was an acoustic version and I was like, ‘no, but thanks for using it’. Then I thought why couldn’t we just record a wedding version where it’s just super simple, just acoustic with a little chiller vibe as opposed to the epic drums and guitar solo. It was honestly just for the fans.
It’s proof of the power of fans and social media! What’s your relationship with social media like?
I was pretty involved in social media in the first place. But yes just too. I love it. I love keeping up with the fans. I love interacting with them on there. It’s just been really cool to keep going on social media and it hasn’t really changed. I’m always on Instagram stories and all that stuff. I’m very involved in social media.
Let’s talk about the album. It’s got a hopeful and optimistic feel to it. Did you have a concept when you went in to write and record it?
Well not necessarily writing because the writing has been compiled over a longer period than the recording. I went in to record the songs I’d written. I didn’t feel the ‘Nashville expectation’ of you got your uptempo, you’ve got your mid and we need a break-up ballad or something like that. I just didn’t feel that that fit my album at this point in my life. I’m young still and I’m not newly married but I’m four years into marriage, loving life and loving every day. I’m crazy in love with my wife and I just wanted that to be kind of a continuation of Yours. I think we really captured that and like you said it’s very optimistic, very romantic and hopeful for sure.
My favourite track on the record is the opener, Every Little Thing. Is there a story behind that song that you can share?
In the writing session we did, we didn’t have a specific title or anything like that but I just started whistling over and over and my producer Casey (Brown) said ‘yeah, there’s something there!’ Then we played it on the banjo and we just started rolling on that and I started singing the ‘every little, every little, every little’ and was kind of vibing on that for a little while. Next thing we know we’ve got these cool verses that we wrote with Parker Welling. I will it was heavily influenced by the 1975 for sure.
You wrote this album over a long period of time. Was it hard to pick the tracks to include when you had written so much material?
Yeah. I’ve been writing songs with the hopes of releasing the full length album for, I mean gosh coming up on 7 years now! I had a ton to pick from but the cool thing is that as soon as I started writing with Casey and Parker, who I wrote a bunch of the record with and Yours was the second song we’d ever written together, the other songs felt dull and not even close to the calibre of what we were getting together. It wasn’t that difficult because all of the music we’d made was the most recent and the most.
You mentioned that it’s taken around seven years to get to releasing this album. How do you feel now that it’s finally coming out?
Man! Just now me and my wife just got back to the bus and there’s five giant boxes back there of the physical copies. It’s a dream come true and something I’ve been working towards for seven years. The coolest thing is the momentum behind it, it’s not just me getting to put out an album it’s the the work we’ve put into the single and the momentum that’s gained and the excitement behind the album. There’s actually people out there that want to hear it!
What else are you managing to fit in before Christmas?
Fall is all based around the record and the single on radio so we’re finishing up with Florida Georgia Line in the first couple of weeks of October, then we head straight back out to fly here, fly there for radio, visits and all that stuff. Just keeping the ball rolling!
Russell Dickerson’s debut album Yours is released on Friday 13th October 2017.