Russell Dickerson Talks Smirnoff Partnership, Florida Georgia Line Brotherhood, Upcoming Tour, His Son Remington & More

Russell Dickerson; Photo by Michael Hickey /Getty Images for Smirnoff

Russell Dickerson is ready to bring the RD party back on the road and this time, he’s heading out with Florida Georgia Line (FGL) on their highly-anticipated I Love My Country Tour. Before having to take a step back from the touring lifestyle during the global health crisis, Dickerson had been vigorously touring since 2016. This time around, he will also be adding a special, first time guest, his 9-month-old son Remington.

“This is actually his first full tour, and this tour, this year, is actually the first time that I will be bringing my wife and Remington, and we’ll actually have our own bus. That’s what I’m most excited about is to have our own family space,” Dickerson told Music Mayhem. “And you know, we were up to 13 people on one tour bus, and so, as you can imagine, it gets a little crowded there. So to have our own space, just be us, the three of us as a family, is gonna be such a huge game changer for life on the road.”

Although Dickerson will have his own bus on this upcoming tour, he will still be spending plenty of time with his longtime friends, Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley of FGL. This group of artists are no strangers to working with each other, as they started writing together at the start of their careers.

“I was actually still in college, and I would go to class, and then after class, I would run over to Brian and Tyler’s apartment, and we would just literally write songs,” Dickerson explained. “So, you know, that was like the foundation of our friendship there, and we just, you know, have been pretty much brothers ever since then.”

Touring allows the “Home Sweet” singer to travel and see so many different places in the U.S. and this week, Dickerson got the chance to give somebody else the incredible opportunity to do the same. As part of the Smirnoff Red, White & Berry “Smirnoff Summer of 2,021 Dreams” Promotion, Dickerson had a hand in awarding Indianapolis resident and nurse Erin Darland with her very own custom camper. This way, she will also get to pursue her dreams of seeing all 50 states and getting to have a summer full of travel adventures.

Additionally, There are still more prizes to be won from Smirnoff! From private travel experiences to custom home bars and the most epic Smirnoff swag. Any legal US residents 21+ across the continental 48 states can go to www.Smirnoff.com/2021Dreams and tell us how you want to live your best life this summer for a chance to win one of the prizes.

Music Mayhem caught up with Dickerson to find out more about his partnership with Smirnoff, the upcoming tour, parenting, working with FGL and more. Read on to find out what Dickerson has been up to in this exclusive Q&A!

Let’s talk about your collaboration with Smirnoff, surprising Erin with a custom camper and how that came to be.

Oh, yes. I mean, we just have a fantastic relationship with Smirnoff, and man it was just, I like to do things that are, you know, not just promoting my stuff because I can, so when they found Erin through the sweepstakes and everything, it was just kind of a no-brainer for us to partner with Smirnoff and make her dreams come true with this camper.

What did it mean to you to be able to surprise Erin with the custom camper and allow her to accomplish her dreams of traveling the world and be able to perform a private concert for her?

Oh, exactly, man, oh my God. Dude, like I said, I love to do stuff that’s not just kind of, hey, look at me, I want to have a purpose, and I wanted to have a meaning. So that’s why we did this, again, it’s just like, it means the world to be able to make someone’s day, much less make their next decade, you know, for however long she’s gonna have this camper, traveling around the
country, seeing all the beautiful sights.

Have you seen all fifty states yet on tour?

No, actually. You know, I think there’s… what are we missing, North Dakota, we’re missing, have we done New Mexico? So no, I haven’t. But the thing is, it’s more like, getting to park somewhere, like getting to park at the Grand Canyon, or being able to park in Yosemite, and actually enjoy it, instead of being parked backstage all day. So, that’s definitely a big goal of ours, to kind of break out on our own and see some, see this beautiful country.

For sure. What would you say is your favorite place to stop throughout the U.S. on while touring?

Probably Dino World on the way from Nashville to Indy. Just kidding. I would probably say, I mean, well, it’s not, it’s in Canada, we’ve stopped in Banff one time, and this was back in the van days. We didn’t even have a tour bus yet. We parked our little van at a campsite in Banff, and man, I will just never forget that camping trip.

Well, I mean, going back to the whole topic of being able to perform again, I mean the world’s finally starting to open back up, and everything is getting back on the road. You just announced that you’re hitting the road with your good buddies in FGL. What can your fans expect from this upcoming tour? We know you’re gonna bring the RD party, but what else can we expect?

Oh, hallelujah. Oh, dude. Honestly, it really is. As I’m trying to unpack what it’s gonna look like, I realize that I’ve had time to really step back. You know, because once we hit 2016 and 17, we really didn’t stop for three years, and so to have the time to really re-evaluate my live show and really make every single moment of that count. I think I might have to take a sedative before I go on stage for the first time, joking. I think I’m gonna use some Smirnoff before I go on stage. No, I can’t say that either. But, yes, it’s gonna be an epic, epic party.

So I know that you guys, like you and FGL have been pretty much like brothers since the beginning of time before you’ve even hit the music industry. Can you tell us a little bit about that brotherhood you’ve formed with FGL?

Oh, man, yes. they were literally at one of my first shows I ever played in Nashville, and you know, they came up to me afterwards, and were like, great show, and they didn’t even have a band name yet. They just knew that they wanted to write songs in town, and so we were like, ‘hey, let’s write together.’ So we started writing. I was actually still in college, and I would go to class, and then after class, I would run over to Brian and Tyler’s apartment, and we would just literally write songs. So, you know, that was like the foundation of our friendship there, and we just, you know, have been pretty much brothers ever since then.

So what would you say is like one piece of advice that stuck with you since the first day that you met the FGL guys, maybe something they gave you early on?

Yeah, I mean, yeah oh gosh, there have been, their wisdom, I mean they obviously took off before I did, so to be able to learn from them has been such a huge asset in my career, and I think, really, it was actually really simple. It’s like, it was like you’re not here to pinch pennies and make quick money. You’re here to basically make a legacy. And that always stuck with me, you know, not to, you know, you’re here to put on the absolute best show possible. And when you don’t spare any expense on your job, you know, the return is just, you know, multiple, multiples.

Well, on tour, are you gonna be bringing in your wife and your son out on the road? Is this gonna be his first full-length tour?

Yeah, man, this is actually his first full tour, and this tour, this year, is actually the first time that I will be bringing my wife and Remington, and we’ll actually have our own bus. And so, that’s what I’m most excited about is to have, you know, have our own family space, and you know, we were up to 13 people on one tour bus, and so, as you can imagine, it gets a little crowded there. So to have our own space, just be us, the three of us as a family, is gonna be such a huge game changer for life on the road.

Yeah, I mean, that tour’s gonna need a designated babysitter for all the kids that are gonna be out on the road with you guys. You guys, the Hubbards, it’s gonna be pretty epic.

I know, there’s gonna be four. We’re gonna have four babies out there.

That’s gonna be fun. So I mean, your latest album, Southern Symphony, man, that’s just, it was just an incredible album. I mean, the film that you released with it was just crazy, it was epic. Have you been working on any new music, like during your time off on the road?

Oh, man, yeah. I mean, if it was up to me, it would already be recorded. Because just the time off was again a very creative time, becoming a dad was almost a whole new creativity through that, and so man, there’s so many songs there in the chamber, in the barrel, in the whatever, I don’t know. There’s tons of songs that are just ready to be recorded, so man, it’s just like, and it’s not just me that thinks it, you know, my whole team knows, it’s the best stuff you’ve ever written, so I’m just so pumped to get that out there.

So these last few questions we have are mostly about Father’s Day, as you are coming up on your first Father’s Day. So, how has fatherhood been so far? Is it everything like you’ve ever imagined it would be?

Yeah, man, it is. There’s sometimes when I’m like this is easier than I thought, and there’s other times it is more difficult than I thought. It’s like getting up at 3:30 in the morning. I thought it would just be like the most difficult thing ever, and it’s really not. If he’s crying, you can go rock him, and every time I have to do that, I’m like, man, it’s not gonna be this way for long. Everybody tells me that. All the wisest people I know are just, you know, they’re like, you’re not gonna remember how great your baby slept, you’re gonna remember the nights that you were up in the middle of the night rocking him. And so, it’s memories like that that I try to soak in. In the moment, it sucks, but you know, I just try to remember that.

Remington has even become one of your workout buddies, I’ve seen on socials.

(Laughing) Bro, you have to keep that dad bod in check. So yeah, he is my workout buddy. We’ll go down first thing in the morning, and I’ll put him in his little jumper, and then he’ll just kind of hop around while I’m hopping around, and he’s the best little workout buddy, too. And he’s right at 30 pounds, so he’s like the perfect hurl.

So have you ever received any parenting advice from any fellow country artists that you’ve been around? Thomas Rhett, Tyler Hubbard, you’ve been around quite a few.

Oh, yeah. Yeah, I mean, pretty much since 2018, we’ve been out with artists that have kids on the road, and just like, with Lady A, you know, there was what…four kids on the road there, and so, just to watch how how they dealt with their kids, even down to like equipment, like what baby monitor works best on a bus, and this and that, so yeah. I mean between Hillary Scott and Cassie Kelley with Lady A and then Thomas Rhett and Lauren, and then Tyler and Hayley, we’ve gotten plenty and I mean we’ve got plenty of baby road advice.

Would you be able to share like your top three most memorable moments that you’ve shared with Remington so far?

Cool. Okay. Jeez. Number one would be being born, so that was definitely the number one experience. Jeez. Maybe, I would say our first fire. Like a big fire pit at the house, the first time that he was up there hanging out at the fire pit, and then, yeah, our first workout. He’s already cracking some teeth right now, so that’s just like a real sign of, like, oh man, he’s growing up. So yeah, when he first got teeth.

You’ve gotten to witness all those important milestone moments while you were off the road, so in a sense, it’s kind of like a blessing in disguise.

Exactly. Man, 2020, I mean it was hard and also the biggest blessing all at the same time, just being there throughout the year and finding out we were having a baby on New Year’s Day of 2020, and then to be home that whole year and then to be pretty much home for most of Remington’s first year of life.

I know that a lot of, if not most, of your songs were inspired by your wife, Kailey, but other than Home Sweet, which kind of talks about you preparing for fatherhood, have you written any other songs yet, like about or inspired by Remington, that you may be releasing in the future?

Oh, yes. Oh, yes. The song that I was talking about, you know, before in the pipeline, there is definitely some dad songs, some father-son songs, and you know, it just unlocks a whole new aspect of life, and so, just trying to tap into that and, you know, try to do it without crying because every time I start to do it, I just start to tear up, so… But no, there will definitely be some dad songs in there for sure.

Gotta write one about the zaddy shoes, right?

Oh, yeah, gotta throw the dad shoes in there. (laughs)

About Andrew Wendowski & Madeleine O'Connell

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