Russell Dickerson’s eponymous third studio album goes deep and wide in its 15 genre-spanning tracks, which includes the platinum single “She Likes It” featuring Jake Scott. The singer-songwriter was heavily involved with every aspect of creating Russell Dickerson, serving as a co-writer on every song and as a co-producer with Dann Huff, Zach Crowell, Casey Brown, Josh Kerr, Ben Johnson and Alysa Vanderheym.
Dickerson talked to Music Mayhem and other media about staying true to himself throughout the process of creating the album, the ironic story of his wife’s reaction to “She Likes It,” and plans for his headlining tour.
Even though he’s three albums deep into his career, Dickerson felt that now was the time to release a self-titled project. “There’s no boundaries that we set in place,” says Dickerson. “I feel like in the past I’ve been a little more conservative on this lane or that lane, but this was just wide open.”
Dickerson says that he had more time on his hands after his last album Southern Symphony was released in 2020 to reflect on the past and delve into those memories.
“I feel like I had the brain capacity to dig way deeper on this album,” he says, adding that these 15 songs are his favorite that he’s written during the past two years. “Honestly, it just felt like me. It felt so many facets of my personality and my story and my sound and was just kind of captured in these 15 songs. It starts with ‘Blame it on Being Young,’ which goes back to being 16 years old and all the dumb stuff we used to do back then to the last song on the album is ‘Just like Your Mama,’ which is about me becoming a dad. And so from the first song to the last song, so much life happens and my life happens in between.”
Dickerson says he’s had to fight against the idea that his music has to fit into a specific format.
“Yeah, I can get a little country with all the same friends, big wheels, but that doesn’t mean that every single song has to sound like what’s on the radio right now. And I think I had to fight for that. I had to fight against this whole big, ‘the format is really country right now.’ And I’m like, cool, good for them. That’s it. I’m still gonna put it out.” That determination also played into the decision to self-title the album. “That’s even more of putting my foot down, planting my flag of Russell Dickerson, the self-titled album is like, it’s not trying to fit into any format. Yes, we got some country songs, we got a little funky songs, we got some heart string ballads. It’s Russell Dickerson and it’s not gonna be trying to fit into any format. I’m gonna stay true to who I’ve always been.”
Dickerson shared that he continues to have people in his corner who have helped him stay true to himself.
“We have such a great community of people around us, not only industry friends like Thomas Rhett, Tyler Hubbard, and other great friends in the industry but our college friends. We’re still best friends with all the people that we went to college with when we had nothing and when we were broke and I was begging to play shows. We still have those people in our lives. And I think that they’re the ones that kind of keep us grounded and keep us on the same path.”
Dickerson revealed that his latest platinum hit was never meant to be a radio single. “She Likes It” was the second song that Dickerson wrote with Jake Scott and the pair decided to release the track without the intention of promoting it at radio, but fans took the song to a new level.
“It was the listeners, the fans that took over because there were no plans for this to ever be a radio single,” says Dickerson. “This was just gonna be a DSP drop and maybe sell a few extra tickets… hopefully people find this song a little quirky and fun.”
Once the song started reaching 8 million streams per week, the label decided to take it to radio and see what happened.
“I love that so much because we had four number ones in a row. And then to miss a number one with ‘Home Sweet,’ honestly just kind of opened the gates for me. It’s not about number ones, it’s about the music, it’s about the connection with the fans. And I’ve just seen so many people connect with this song.”
When writing the song with Scott, Dickerson says it started with just a guitar riff and came together quickly. But, he was concerned that the lyrics wouldn’t work for them as a duet. “How do we make this not weird? It feels like we’re talking about each other,” Dickerson recalls. Once they started talking about what their wives like, they were able to spin the lyrics to make it work.
“In the chorus I was like, I think it should be just like this anti hook,” Dickerson recalls. “There’s not this big country twist of the lyric that makes your mind explode.” He added, “It’s my favorite. I love that.”
It was an ironic, full circle moment when Dickerson’s wife Kailey heard the song for the first time. “My wife never jams music while she’s cooking or in the kitchen or anything,” says Dickerson. “She’s just content doing her thing. We walk in after we wrote the song, we all came back to our house and we walk in the door. She’s literally jamming John Denver through the speakers in the kitchen.”
Dickerson was floored, thinking about how he’d included the lyric “When I play John Denver through that little Bose speaker” in the song.
He asked his wife, “What are you doing? You never listen to music? What is happening? You’re not gonna believe this.” After he played her the song, Dickerson says “She felt known, she felt loved.”
Dickerson also celebrated his wife on the touching track “Just Like Your Mama,” admitting that he became emotional while recording the song.
“That second verse makes me cry every time too,” Dickerson shares. “My wife now is holding our baby at midnight and rocking him to sleep. And I just go back in my mind to the days where she was the only one at these concerts, she was the only one there. She was selling the merch, she was taking the pictures.” He said that there were moments in the studio when he had to compose himself, telling his team, “Dude, I just need a minute. Sorry. Just crying in the middle of the song.”
With his new album out in the world, he’s ready to bring it to fans on the road with the She Likes It Tour, which kicks off November 17 in Indianapolis.
“Now is our chance to revamp the whole show around this new album,” says Dickerson, admitting that the live show is where his head is 90% of the time. “The song order, the whole flow of the night when you walk in the door, what’s gonna be different. Even to the point of kicking off the entire show with ‘Blame It on Being Young,’ something completely different, completely weird production wise, just one spotlight… I was like, what if we do something like total curveball, just go out with a heart-string pulling song, one spotlight just standing out there, maybe in the middle of the crowd. Who knows? I don’t know. I might fly in from the ceiling. You never know. I wish I could do that. We’ll get there.”
Known for his high-energy live shows, Dickerson says that now he has established a catalog of hits and has built a solid fan base, he’s learned that he can make the show more dynamic. “I don’t have to come out of the gate swinging with a big confetti cannon and glitter everywhere,” he says. “It’s like, no, it’s just play the song, Dig into those vulnerable moments.”
Fans can also catch Dickerson in an upcoming ABC special “On The Road to the CMA Awards” which airs Monday, Nov. 7th at 9pm CT on ABC.
Russell Dickerson track list
1. Blame It On Being Young – Russell Dickerson, Josh Kerr, Parker Welling
2. Sorry – Russell Dickerson, Hunter Phelps, Ashley Gorley, Ben Johnson
3. She Likes It (Feat. Jake Scott) – Russell Dickerson, Jake Scott, Josh Kerr
4. I Still Believe – Russell Dickerson, Parker Welling, Matt Jenkins, Zach Crowell
5. Big Wheels – Russell Dickerson, Ashley Gorley, Hunter Phelps, Ben Johnson
6. I Remember – Russell Dickerson, Alysa Vanderheym, Chris Ryan, Logan Turner, Matt McGinn
7. I Wonder – Russell Dickerson, Jon Nite, Casey Brown
8. God Gave Me A Girl – Russell Dickerson, Ashley Gorley, Chase McGill, Zach Crowell
9. All The Same Friends – Russell Dickerson, Ashley Gorley, Chase McGill, Zach Crowell
10. Beers To The Summer – Russell Dickerson, Matt Jenkins, Mark Holman
11. She’s Why – Russell Dickerson, Josh Kerr, Sean Douglas
12. 18 – Russell Dickerson, Josh Kerr, Illsey Juber, Ashley Gorley
13. Over And Over – Russell Dickerson, Josh Kerr, Parker Welling, Jordan Reynolds
14. Drink To This – Russell Dickerson, Zach Crowell, Ashley Gorley, Parker Welling
15. Just Like Your Mama – Russell Dickerson, Lori McKenna, Casey Brown
Buy or Stream Russell Dickerson’s self-titled album HERE.