Dustin Lynch on Firing Up Luke Bryan's Crowd & the Slow Burn of 'Hell of a Night'

Justin Nolan Key
Dustin Lynch

The singer will play a Pandora concert in Nashville on Friday before next week's CMA Music Festival.

Though the CMA Music Festival doesn't start until next Thursday, early birds flying into Nashville will have plenty of musical options before then.

Maybe the earliest event of all will take place Friday, with a special concert hosted by Pandora at Marathon Music Works featuring Thompson Square, Kelsea Ballerini and Dustin Lynch. Each of the artists have had successful runs on Pandora, with Thompson Square logging close to 400 million spins on the online radio service, while Ballerini has logged close to 35 million in less than six months.

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Billboard had a chance to catch up with Lynch about his Pandora experience -- logging 323 million spins so far -- and he was quick to say how valuable a tool it has been in his career. "Pandora has really been important in my career -- just the fact that it allows you to reach an audience that might have never heard you on country radio. It helps put a name and a face to a song. One of the great things about Pandora is that you look down, and your face is there. It helps give you recognition of 'This guy sings this.' That's a very critical part of a young artist's career, is creating that identity and putting a face with that sound. Pandora is a really good tool for that, as well as for new music discovery. They've been a very big supporter of ours, and we've seen them play a huge role in the current single, 'Hell of a Night,' as it has developed. We've been able to show terrestrial radio the Pandora numbers. People are liking the song and are seeking the song out. Pandora has played a huge role in that," he said, adding that it has helped him gain a career edge over the three years that have passed since "Cowboys and Angels" first hit the charts for the Tennessee native.

The Pandora date comes in the midst of a busy run for the singer, but he says accommodating their request was a no-brainer. "We're very excited. It's going to be a crazy day for us. We're going to be flying in from Albuquerque from the Luke Bryan tour and then flying out of Nashville to Denver the next morning to play our first stadium show with Luke. It's going to be a crazy weekend, but for Pandora to ask us to be a part of their show is an honor."

Being out on the road with the CMA and ACM Entertainer of the Year is an experience Lynch treasures. "What an outstanding tour to be on, and we're only about a third into it. His crowds are really hungry for new music, and we've seen that already. It's a big party crowd, and to get out on that stage and kick the tour off every night is so much fun, because of the energy that is in the room already. We get them fired up for Randy Houser and then Luke. It's been nothing but a good thing and everything we've dreamed of. He's great to work with, and so is his camp."

Fans have also been clamoring for latest single "Hell of a Night," which just broke into the top 20 on the Country Airplay chart, sitting at No. 19. "It's been a nice, slow climb but has really caught fire in the past month or two. People have really seemed to latch on to it. It's a great summertime song -- I think that's been a factor in the song really taking off like it has. It's a great song for us in a band because it really showcases what we do as a band and shows that side of our music that we haven't showcased to the world. It also lets people know what they have stepped into when they come to one of our shows: We are going to have one hell of a party, and it's going to be one hell of a night. This summer, we're just going to take the music out to everybody. We're playing more shows than we ever have before -- about 160 or 170. We're halfway through the year, so here we go!"


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