Dustin Lynch Is “Where It’s At” in Music and Education

Singer-Songwriter Releases New Album, Represents CMT Empowering Education

Dustin Lynch will never forget what Garth Brooks revealed to him the first time they met — the secret to choosing successful songs.

“You know, the reason I’ve had success for as long as I have is because I’ve always recorded the best song,” Brooks once told the eager singer-songwriter. “Whether I wrote it or someone else wrote it.”

“But it’s what Garth says,” Lynch said displaying his pearly-white smile during a recent interview with CMT.com. “Always record the best songs. That’s what you look for. You kind of put up the songs and let them fight it out. The best song is always the one you keep listening to over and over.”

Taking Brooks’ advice to heart, Lynch delivered a one-two punch with his 2012 self-titled debut album that produced his platinum-selling single, “Cowboys and Angels.” Hoping to continue this momentum with his new sophomore album, Where It’s At, Lynch’s current single by the same name has already edged its way into the Top 5 on Billboard’s country airplay chart and solidified a gold standing.

“There are certain moments you have in the studio where you can tell it’s magical,” he explained of the tune written by Cary Barlowe, Zach Crowell and Matt Jenkins. “You can tell when something special happens. ’Where It’s At’ was one of those songs.”

With his first album already under his belt, Lynch feels more confident in his footing this second time around.

“As songwriter, I’ve got so many more colors to paint with because I’ve traveled the country,” he went on, explaining how eye-opening it was for him to be a part of Keith Urban’s Light the Fuse tour last year.

“I wrote a lot of this album and recorded a lot of this album when we were on that tour. His energy onstage every night and just the energy in general of being on tour with him, I think, really have affected this album. I think there’s a lot bigger sound on this record. There’s a lot more energy because of that tour.”

With more confidence, Lynch hopes to also make a positive impact on his listeners.

“I truly mean it when I say I want to have music that affects people in a positive way. That’s what I’ve learned over the course of the year. These songs matter to people. Our music becomes a part of people’s lives,” he said.

Passionate not only about his music, Lynch also remains zealous in his desire to promote education.

“Education has always been important to me and to my family,” he said. “In fact, I made a promise to my family that I would graduate from college before pursuing a career in music.”

What’s more, he’s partnered with CMT to become the official spokesperson for CMT Empowering Education to encourage Americans in some of the most economically-depressed areas to go back to school. The campaign highlights the important role community colleges play in providing affordable, relevant education and training aligned with the workforce needs in rural America.

“I went to college here in Nashville, Tennessee, and had a blast,” he said. “I would not be where I am today if I didn’t go to college. So I’m happy to be a part of it,” he told CMT Hot 20 Countdown regarding the partnership. “I had people encouraging me to go to school — my parents mostly — and they made me promise I would finish. So I owed it to them, too. But I think I’m living a dream — and with that dream comes a platform, and from that platform we can reach people and hopefully affect their lives in a positive way.”

Lynch studied biology and chemistry at Lipscomb University and was also on the golf team. Playing and honing his musical craft while also attending school, time management was a huge skill he learned and developed while juggling a demanding calendar.

“The schedule was really strenuous, and that’s where time management comes into play because I would miss the first two days of classes, have to catch up and then study on the road and all that good stuff,” he explained. “So it was a good learning experience for me. (When the) radio tour hit and everybody’s talking about how busy life is when you’re a country music artist, it’s nothing compared to what I was in college.”

Earlier this year, CMT Empowering Education announced a three-year partnership at the Clinton Global Initiative America to raise visibility for education and rural workforce struggles. Lynch is also featured among these marketing efforts where students’ success stories are highlighted as well as ways to combat perceived challenges.

“I think, ’You only live once.’ And why not go after that next degree?” he suggested. “Even if you’ve got one, get another one. You always can learn, and if you’re on the fence of ’should I go to school, or should I not go to school?’ the answer is ’go.’ It’s not gonna shut any doors. It’s gonna do nothing but open doors for you.”

Visit the CMT Empowering Education website to learn more about the initiative and create a personalized action plan.

Writer/producer/voice over talent for CMT.com