Dustin Lynch on Touring With Luke Bryan and Why He Wishes Little Big Town's Kimberly Schlapman 'Went Totally Diva'

Dustin Lynch
Justin Nolan

Dustin Lynch 

Dustin Lynch is on a roll these days. “Mind Reader,” the seductive third single from his Where It’s At album, is currently at No. 85 on the Hot 100, and he is on tour with Luke Bryan and Little Big Town as part of the Kill The Lights tour. He also just wrapped up his own Hell Of A Night tour, which he says was a learning experience. Lynch recently caught up with Billboard about the headlining life -- and why he wished Little Big Town’s Kimberly Schlapman went "totally diva mode."

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With the Hell Of A Night tour completed, how do you think it went?
It’s been a huge success. We were so surprised. We had so much fun in putting together the show. We got to carry a whole new stage and light show, and got to create some really cool moments that we’ve never done before. It was a lot of fun that offered a lot of experience. I can’t wait until the next one.

Knowing that the fans were coming there to see you instead of another headliner had to feel liberating. 
It was a powerful feeling, but also quite nerve-racking. I couldn’t blame anybody else. You can’t rely on "Uncle Luke" to get butts in the door. It was all on me. That added some pressure, but also it made it fun. We found out that we had more of a fan base in certain markets than we realized.

I understand that the west coast was one of those markets.
We did three nights in Anaheim, (Calif.) and that was a big shock to be sold out there along with two other nights on the west coast. Within minutes, we had sold out the House of Blues, and we decided to add another one....and then another. We could have probably done four nights there, but ran into a scheduling conflict.

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What did you come away with as a learning experience from headlining? 
It allowed me to become a better performer and create moments that were Snapchatable or tweetable. You want to create events that make people get their phones out to record them so they can show their friends what they’re missing out on. I think I found out what songs allow us to get there, and dialing in the timing for those moments.

Can you imagine the concert experience without cell phones?
Wow. That’s tough. You’re trying to be a videographer the whole time. As a new artist, I love people that use the phone and spread the word online about how much fun they’re having. It’s free advertising. But, I would love to see someone step out and make people leave their phones at the front door. It would be incredible to see what that environment would be like. That would be interesting.

The tour with Luke and Little Big Town seems like it would be a great experience all the way around -- for fans and artists alike. 
I can tell that it’s going to be an incredible year. We’ve toured with them both, and we’re all friends. We know each other and each other’s families. What’s exciting is we all have new music. Little Big Town and I are about to start working on some new music, and I assume that Luke will start before the year’s up. I’m looking forward to running some of my new stuff by both of them, and getting their take on it. It will be a fun year of watching the blank page of album three for me.

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So, is Little Big Town as nice as they seem?
They really are completely genuine. We hung out last night for a couple of hours after the show and caught up. It’s fun to have this much fun with friends. It’s not an act. If you tour with someone that much, you can uncover if it’s an act or not, but they are sweet people all the way around.

There’s no moments of Kimberly Schlapman totally losing it and yelling at everyone backstage?
(Laughs) We have all joked backstage that we would love to see that day where she just lost it and went totally diva mode and started screaming at everyone. I don’t know if she’s capable of it, but it would be so much fun to watch.

You mentioned new music. What kind of timetable are you looking at?
We take a little break from the tour in March, and we’ll probably start messing around then. There’s no solid plans, but we’ll go in and see what happens on a few songs. This is always a scary thing for me, starting with a blank page. Once you get in and get a few songs back under your belt, you kind of fall in to the confidence part, but it’s kind of scary trying to figure out which direction to go in first.