Dustin Lynch has grown up surrounded by country music – so, it’s pretty fitting that he’s making it big as a country music star. Moving to Nashville shortly after school, Dustin’s dream was always to write and sing, and now he’s just finished a weekend of performing at C2C in the UK. He talks to us before he goes on tour about everything from de-stressing while he’s on the road, where his inspiration for songwriting comes from and who his superheroes are. Living and breathing the genre, he puts his soul into what he does – country music is a way of life for him.
“For myself it’s a lot of things. It’s more of a lifestyle than a genre,” he tells us. “Country music speaks of real life, of how I was brought up. It speaks of heartbreak and love, family and religion. It’s everything that I relate to.”We also found out what we all really want to know… what to expect from him next.
“Something I’ve learnt that I have to have, is alone time. Time to reset and be me for a minute. Recharge the batteries before I go back into that busy, crazy life.” – Dustin Lynch
Taylor Magazine: Tell us about you and what you do!
Dustin Lynch: I’m a crazy dude, with a crazy dream. It’s always been my dream to write songs and sing those songs on stage, and I’ve been blessed to have success doing that for the past decade here in Nashville. Originally, I’m from around an hour south of Nashville – our claim to fame there is that we make Jack Daniels. It’s cool because anywhere in the world I go, there’s a little bit of my hometown sitting on the shelf in a bar or pub! I moved to Nashville when I was right out of grade school with the dream to write and sing. I’ve been trying to get better everyday since, and here we are today and I’m trying to get better still. It’s been a wonderful ride.
Taylor Magazine: What inspired you to get into music?
Dustin Lynch: Growing up I was a fan of Batman, Spiderman and Ninja Turtles – but my other superheroes were Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson and they really were superhuman to me. I would watch whatever I could, whether that was concerts on TV, award shows, The Opry – I’d see those guys and want to be them. I would dress up like them in the house, run around and pretend I was them on stage. They really were what got me taking up guitar and wanting to play and sing. Fast forward a few years and of course I fall in love with rock too, rebel against Mum and Dad. My favourite band is Incubus believe it or not – they’re my number one. So, I had a little bit of an eclectic start – when I started performing and singing on stage I was covering Alan Jackson and Incubus a lot.
Taylor Magazine: Does Incubus inspire your music as well then?
Dustin Lynch: Without a doubt. I never had an official guitar lesson – I just learnt from artists that I liked and Incubus was a huge influence on me learning guitar.
Taylor Magazine: Talk to us about The Opry. You were inducted into it last year, so how was that experience for you?
Dustin Lynch: Mind-blowing! The Grand Ole Opry is the greatest stage on earth for a country singer and being invited to be a member of that family was at the very top of my career bucket list. For that to happen so early on in my life is a little bit crazy, but it’s something that I cherish because I can enjoy it for many more years that I’m here. We’re the folks who have been charged to take the history of country music forward, and broadening the reach of country music into the world. I look forward to conquering some more territories in the world over the next few years!
“You have to learn over the years to not put too much weight on yourself – doing this has allowed me to really enjoy the positives of the industry.” – Dustin Lynch
Taylor Magazine: Country music has definitely made a big impact in the UK over the past few years, it’s become really huge over here. So, you must be doing a good job! On that note, what are you hoping to achieve the next few years?
Dustin Lynch: Day by day, I want to get better as a songwriter and singer. God knows I need help being a better dancer! But everyday is just about improving my craft and my passion. In the next few years, my goal is to reach that headline status. I’m blessed to be on tour with entertainers of arenas and I’ve learned from the best, so I know what it takes to be that. I’m going to continue to learn from those guys and girls and just keep putting the best music I can out there, put on the best show that I can every night. If I continue to do that consistently, I’ll reach that point one of these days.
Taylor Magazine: And the album, Current Mood, what inspired this?
Dustin Lynch: It’s a time stamp on a couple years of my life. The Current Mood album is original because it was determined by a song that I started really liking and vibing to. It came together, song by song, and resulted in a very eclectic album. It’s the story of a young guy trying to find out who he is and trying to find love. Falling in and out of love, just trying to figure out life. I’ve learnt that I’m behind the curve of relationships, because work has got in the way, compared to the friends I grew up with. I’ve learnt that anything I’ve experienced, other people have too, so I just try to write and record songs that are real. It’s important that these songs move me and represent something I’ve been through. Moving forward, we’re about halfway through my next body of work and this time around I’m writing with a specific purpose, from a specific character. I have a very small bullseye of what I want to say and what I want to record for the next album, so I’ve had a lot of fun. I’m very proud of the songs we’ve got recorded and the ones we’re continuing to work on. I’ll continue to write pretty heavily this spring and summer too.
Taylor Magazine: And talking about that songwriting process – what’s it like for you? Do you have to prepare and be in a certain mood, or does it come naturally to you?
Dustin Lynch: I’m always trying to think about how to benefit my scheduled writing days so I’ve constantly got the antennas up, listening for ideas and conversations. Most of the time it’s something I’ll say in a text – I’ll think, “Oh that could be a song written like this, from this perspective.” That’s really how most of my songs come to be. Just being present and making sure I have that antenna up and on. Most of my songs are from real life conversations, so the process starts with something like that, or even a melody we get going on in the studio, or on the bus. And usually one of my ideas will marry with those – and we’re off to the races!
Taylor Magazine: Do you have a favourite song you’ve ever written?
Dustin Lynch: It’s really got to be Cowboys and Angels for me. When I first finished the song, I had a feeling deep down that it was next level different and something special. Something that was not going to happen again for a while. I write a lot of songs, but this one I knew was going to be a hit. I wrote it with my grandparents in mind – they inspired it entirely. They’ve been together for 64 years which is a special thing. Each time I get to sing that song I think of them. They’re part of the show, and it’s very special.
“Find what you can contribute to the craft, whether that’s writing songs, or singing, or all of the above. Find what you enjoy doing – and do the hell out of it.” – Dustin Lynch
Taylor Magazine: Tell us about the challenges you face in the music industry?
Dustin Lynch: Being patient and not second guessing myself – knowing my worth and value. It’s a tough business, because you put yourself out there every time you release a new song or video. We have critics and I’ve learnt that you’re never going to please everyone. Now I’ve realised that, it’s so much more enjoyable than it was five years ago. I used to be so insecure or scared to death that I was going to make someone mad, or not put out the right song. Now, I’m going to put out what I love and enjoy. If you like it, great! If you don’t, go listen to somebody else.
Taylor Magazine: That does sound challenging! Likewise, what advice would you give to aspiring artists who want to go into the music industry?
Dustin Lynch: Going into the music industry as an artist has changed over the years. So, find what you can contribute to the craft, whether that’s writing songs, or singing, or all of the above. Find what you enjoy doing – and do the hell out of it. Have fun – it’s about enjoying yourself. If you’re really in love and you have a dream to do it and have fun, if it’s truly what you want to do, there’s no excuse. You will find success someway. I truly believe that. It took me ten years before there was a door open in Nashville. It was a long time of chasing a career that potentially has zero return. I did that because it’s a deep down passion and brings joy to my life. Life is too short not to do something that brings you joy. So, that would be my advice.
Taylor Magazine: Good advice! What do you like to do in your spare time other than music?
Dustin Lynch: I love being outside. Anything out on the water, out in the woods, just away from city life. I love being home on the farm – whether it’s cutting down trees or whatever. I like hanging out with friends, listening to music, fishing – as long as it’s in the fresh air with some sunshine.
Taylor Magazine: When you’re on tour, what do you do to de-stress?
Dustin Lynch: What really helps me is doing a good workout. Each day, we find a gym or do a workout in the backstage area, but I prefer to go and find a gym in town because it allows me to meet and see people in different places. Otherwise, I’m just alone and isolated.
Taylor Magazine: Has there been a favourite place you’ve ever been on tour?
Dustin Lynch: That’s a hard one. Each state has things I look forward to. We got to tour Australia last year and that was a lot of fun and really exciting. The fans in Australia knew every single word. I’ve heard that the UK is very much the same – a warm welcome and the passion is great!
Taylor Magazine: What do you think makes country music so special?
Dustin Lynch: For myself, it’s a lot of things. It’s more of a lifestyle than a genre. Country music speaks of real life, of how I was brought up. It speaks of heartbreak and love, family and religion. It’s everything that I relate to. It’s something that brings people together – it’s brought me so many friends and people I think of as my family now.