Russell Dickerson is seeing a lifetime of work coming to fruition with his breakout ballad "Yours." After a 37-week climb up Billboard's Country Airplay chart, it has become Dickerson's first Top Five hit, and it's virtually inescapable. When Dickerson recently visited the CMT headquarters, he said he's still processing everything.
"We started this whole thing on our own," he tells CMT.com. "After all of the hours, miles and flights, now finally we're seeing a return. We're seeing the seed that we planted has now turned into a big tree. It's not fully grown yet, but we're starting to see some harvest from that."
Dickerson can remember the times when he predicted his rise to prominence would happen overnight. One of them was in 2011 when he graduated from Nashville's Belmont University. His classmates Florida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley had graduated the year prior, and "Cruise" was approximately a year away from its release. At the time, Dickerson thought determination and hard work would land him offers quickly.
"I thought it was going to happen super fast," he said. "I was already writing, touring, getting publishing deal offers and all this stuff, and I honestly thought, 'Man, I can do this pretty quick.' I was like, 'Within six months or a year, we'll be climbing up the charts.' And then it was another five years from when I graduated in 2011."
Before the Sony imprint Triple Tigers Records released the full-length Yours album in October 2017, touring independently to support his 2016 EP of the same title was what built him a loyal underground following.
"We released 'Yours' before we signed, and we had sold over 100,000 copies of just that song alone," he said. "And we really took pride in the start of this underground thing because we worked so hard for that. Just those four songs were all we had for almost two years, and we were selling out shows all across America. We obviously played a full set, but people were just coming to hear those four songs."
As Dickerson's journey in music continues, he hopes his songs provide fans an uplifting escape from the world around them.
"I want them to feel uplifted," Dickerson says. "That's like Michael Jackson. I'm a huge fan of him, and that music takes you somewhere. It's so good that you're not thinking about anything else but how the song makes you feel.
"And that's what I try to keep in mind when I'm writing. I want whatever feels right. If it's weird, and it feels good, I want to do that. There's so much going on in this crazy world that when people listen to my music, I hope they feel lighter, joy and happiness."
Dickerson is a member of CMT's "18 for 2018" Listen Up campaign. His year ahead includes performances at Australia's CMC Rocks festivals in March, Florida's Tortuga Music Festival in April and sets on Thomas Rhett's Life Changes tour in May.