When connecting with CMT.com, Dylan Scott is in the midst of a six-day break on the east coast swing of what will be 40 dates of joining Caylee Hammack in opening for Luke Bryan on his Proud To Be Right Here tour. “It’s so slow right now,” Scott offers during a Wednesday morning Zoom call. However, Scott’s success of late has him excited about the future and chomping at the bit for more. In the past five years, his singles “My Girl,” “Nobody,” and “Hooked” have all achieved either chart-topping or top-five Billboard Hot Country Songs chart success. As well, he’s been streamed over a billion times, plus for “Nobody,” he won a 2021 CMT Music Award for Breakthrough Video of the Year. As well, May 2021 saw him play the Grand Ole Opry, too. “[My recent success] confirms to me that I belong in Nashville. Everyone wakes up every day doubting themselves and their life choices. But right now, I’ve [clearly] made the right choices, and this feels cool, says the Bastrop, Louisiana, native.
Marcus K. Dowling, CMT.com: So, what are your thoughts about falling back into the swing of touring so quickly? One day you’re at home, the next day you’re playing in a stadium. What has been the most gratifying part of being right back into the touring cycle?
Dylan Scott: [My 2020 hit single] “Nobody” started rising during the pandemic, so I didn’t get to see the growth of it — from the stage — as a single. So to see 15,000 to 20,000 people singing it back to me now, it’s been a cool, exciting whirlwind. But I’ve also got a new album done, and have a new single, too. So, yeah, I’m definitely in a bit of a whirlwind right now.
CMT: As far as how you occupied yourself during the pandemic, what were some of your non-musical highlights of the past 16 months?
DS: I got to spend time back home in Louisiana with my two young kids — I have a boy who will be four in December and a girl who is two — and watch them grow. Doing that taught me patience because they’re getting into everything. It was a fun time at my house. I’m also a big outdoorsman, so I did go on many hunting trips as well.
CMT: So, “New Truck” is the next single. What about it made it attractive to fall in line with your other recent chart-topping hits?
DS: When the songwriters pitched “New Truck” to me, the concept and lyrics stood out immediately. It’s not just a song about a truck, but there are elements of a story about a relationship ending, where you get into your truck, and you find a picture of them, a tube of Chapstick, or their ponytail holder under the seat. The lyrics are [written] in a way that I’ve never heard before. To say, “I need a new truck because I’m still seeing [my ex] over in the passenger seat,” that’s cool. It’s different.
CMT: So, what exactly connected the song to you? Moreover, how do you find yourself in a song that you didn’t write, necessarily?
DS: I’ve been with my wife since we were 15 years old. However, there was a little stint where we broke up for a few months, and it was tough! That’s where I found my lived-in experience in “New Truck”’s lyrics. That’s how the song fits who I am. Also, I ask myself: “Can I relate to this?” Then I ask, “Have I lived the life this song is describing?” or “Is this relatable to my life currently?” If I say yes to both of those questions, then I listen to it a few more times — I’m a big melody guy — and if I like the melody to the point where I can see myself singing it every night, then I record it.
CMT: So, as far as your development of new fans because of the explosion of hits, what do you feel is causing fans to stick to keeping an eye on your work?
DS: It’s the music, man. The music and social media. I’ve got some great songs, but I’m also on Instagram and TikTok. That’s blowing up for me because people love seeing my son’s big personality and his fearlessness in front of the camera. From my songs to everything about me, honestly, I am just trying to show people my life and that I’m a regular person who happens to get on a stage in front of thousands of people, too.
CMT: As far as watching for those moments when the songs get the entire crowd to sing, that’s what it’s all about, right? In your estimation, what’s the thing that makes that happen?
DS: Wow. Good question. I would love to say that it’s the beat or the feel of the song. But “My Girl” is uptempo, and “Nobody” is a piano song, and they get the same loud response. I don’t know! But something in the song deeply connects with people, and when it hits them, it really hits them, and it’s the response you’re looking for.
CMT: As far as what’s inspiring you for your next goals, what are your most significant motivations moving forward?
DS: As a writer, I used to write and sing songs based on everyone else’s life. But now, I’m learning that what I am going through personally relates to others, too. So, on that level, I’ve matured as a performer and songwriter, but I still remember to keep a few songs that are fun to sing along with at live concerts, too. My main goal is to continue to have success and have hit songs that allow me to tour the nation for years to come. [Related], one day, I want to be the artist where 20,000 people are showing up for me as a headliner, and I’m bringing on opening acts.