We all remember our first concert. The roar of the audience as the venue goes dark and the headliner takes the stage. That feeling you get when the artist plays your favorite song. The excitement the day after when your ears won't stop ringing as you recall standing beside your best friend or significant other sharing that experience together.
For Russell Dickerson, these are the moments and memories he hopes to create for country fans during his live show as he continues to build his ever growing fan base the grassroots way city by city. It's a dream he's had since he was in high school playing gigs around his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, with his band and one that continues to get bigger with each show he sells out.
"Every time I catch myself daydreaming it’s the dream of being on stage, singing to a sold out crowd that’s singing along to every word of the songs that I’ve written and that they have connected with," Russell says with a big smile.
The outgoing singer has a bolstering personality that immediately brightens up every room he is in — the markings of a born entertainer — but he admits songwriting was what first got him on the stage. One of those songs is his debut single, "Yours," which the singer/songwriter wrote about meeting his wife, Kailey. The beautiful lyrics tell the couple's love story as Russell admits to being lost before he found his better half.
"I came to life when I first kissed you / the best me has his arms around you/ you make me better than I was before / thank God I'm yours."
Penned with longtime friends and frequent collaborators Parker Welling and Casey Brown, "Yours" has been dubbed the wedding song of the year and it's easy to see why with its vivid storytelling and soaring musical accompaniment. Russell has even surprised several couples to perform it for their first dance at their wedding. Meanwhile, his bride Kailey has been along for the entire ride, often acting as photographer and videographer for Russell. She even shot the music video for "Yours" for a very reasonable $6.
"Kailey is as much a part of this as I am," Russell explains. "Not only is she the inspiration behind 'Yours,' she's the woman behind the camera of every picture and video on social media and she's the woman behind the merch table at every show. She is keeping this whole thing rolling and I definitely could not do it without her."
Their love story is not only heard throughout the song but can be seen frequently peppered throughout Russell's heartfelt Instagram posts.
The connection between the song and listeners has been felt too as "Yours" is currently receiving airplay on SiriusXM’s The Highway and has over 39 million on-demand streams — 30 million from Spotify and 9 million from Apple Music. In addition, the song’s video has had over 3 million views on YouTube. It's a song that showcases Russell's honesty and his personal life story while at the same time, connects with couples and those in search for love around the world.
Music runs in Russell's blood as his father is the choir director at his church and his mother plays piano. As a child, Russell would come home from school to see and hear his mom teaching piano lessons so it was very natural for the singer to be drawn to music.
"I love being on stage, going crazy, the fans and the energy," he says. "I feed off of the crowd. I didn't want to play cover songs, I wanted to do my songs. Songwriting was the tool to get me to that place of being able to play my own shows."
Though he was in a band in high school, when he started writing it was country music that came out of him as an avenue for his songwriting. He grew up listening to artists like Tim McGraw and the Dixie Chicks and seeing Garth Brooks and Keith Urban live in concert. While studying at Belmont University, he also met with fellow students Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line, who he frequently wrote with and continues to do so in the midst of their busy schedules.
Russell has recently signed on with Triple Tigers Records, a joint venture between Sony Music and Thirty Tigers, for label representation and is the flagship act on the label. He admits that it took him a while to find his sound but now that he has, he hopes to break ground with his new music.
"We tapped into something that has never been made because I, as an artist, just created and wrote my story, my songs that I wanted to hear," he explains. "I discovered that this is what Russell Dickerson sounds like."
While Russell highlights his sensitive side on his beautiful love ballad, "Yours," he is multi-faceted as his Yours EP released in 2016 can attest. Alongside "Yours" is the fresh sounding opener "Every Little Thing" that begs to be danced to as well as weekend anthem "MGNO" (standing for My Girls Night Out) which highlights the singer's love of electronic music with club ready beats that are perfect in the live setting as well as on the speakers at a house party.
"I want to portray those songs exactly how they hear them but then with a little extra sauce on it," he says of his live show. "We have a lot to offer and we just give it 120% every night."
It's been quite the musical journey for Russell, but he is finally at a place where he is making those long-lasting concert memories with his own fans much like Garth Brooks and Keith Urban did for him all those years ago.