With three consecutive No. 1 singles under his belt — “Yours,” “Blue Tacoma” and “Every Little Thing” — Russell Dickerson admits to feeling the pressure today (Feb.11), as he drops “Love You Liked I Used To,” the first single from his upcoming album.
“It definitely is pressure, but I think I operate better under pressure,” he tells Billboard. “Pressure makes me work harder. It took so long to get to ‘Yours’ being double platinum. I had to build my own confidence in myself to believe that these songs were big ole hits before I even had these plaques on the wall. So I’m going into this the same way.
“Even if it sells 25 copies, I’ll still know that this is one of my favorite songs and one of the best songs I’ve ever written. I’m super proud of it.”
Dickerson wrote “Love You Liked I Used To” with Parker Welling and Casey Brown, the same collaborators that co-wrote his three No. 1 singles. He’ll be introducing the song to fans live when he hits the road later this month opening for Kane Brown as part of the Worldwide Beautiful Tour, kicking off in Atlantic City on Feb. 29.
Dickerson’s success has helped propel the scrappy Triple Tigers Records, a joint venture with Sony Music, to major player status since their launch in the fall of 2016. Dickerson recently celebrated a RIAA Gold Certification for his full-length debut album Yours. “Every Little Thing” is Dickerson’s third single to earn gold certification. The hit single has amassed over 175,000,000 worldwide streams to date with the album nearing 925,000,000 worldwide streams.
On the eve of his new single releasing, Dickerson took time to catch up with Billboard.
You’ve developed a reputation for writing and recording love songs. Are you comfortable carrying that mantle?
I have no problem with that at all. Love songs last longer than drinking songs or any other songs. I feel like love songs live on forever and ever.
Why was “Love You Liked I Used To” your choice for the first single to introduce the new album?
I feel it’s a continuation of the first album because “Yours” is like the wedding song. I was six months married when I wrote “Yours” and now I’ve been married six-and-a-half years. This is a song that shows the growth and continuation of my relationship and same with “Blue Tacoma” and “Every Little Thing.” It’s kind of this maturity and continuation from the first album.
What was your wife’s response the first time she heard the new single?
After I played it she was like, “Oh, I don’t think you nailed it on this one.” I was like, “Wow. Okay.” And that’s why I love her. She’s brutally honest no matter what. Then we [Dickerson and his co-writers] got back together I think about six months later and we were like, “Alright, let’s see if we can fix this song.” We completely rewrote the entire song, but kept the chorus. We restructured the song and then after we finished, we had a couple of people from our team and my wife and we played it for them. They were like “Holy crap! There we go!”
We didn’t have that attention grabbing twist in the first write, so when we came back with the song sounding like a breakup song in the first verse and then it hit that twist in the first chorus, it was like boom!
How much do you have recorded for the next album??
We’ve recorded six songs so far, so we have at least four more to go. I feel like the first album was a little young and little poppy in some elements. This one I feel is bigger. The sound is bigger. It’s more boisterous and has more of a mature sound and even more mature content like “Love You Like I Used To.”
I feel like on the first album there were some things I may have been chasing that weren’t 100% me, but on this album I’m just writing the best songs I can and being as honest and open as I can. I just want to express my growth in my life and what I’ve learned.
How has being on the road impacted the new songs you are doing for the album?
I really do think it impacts this because the songwriters that I bring out get to watch my show and see the fans react. I think that really changes their mindset as songwriters because in a little office in Nashville, Tenn. writing songs, you don’t get to see that. So when you get out on the road, these people want to hear an anthem, a big ole love song or just something that they can connect with, and the songwriters get to see that.
We actually wrote “Love You Like I Used To” out on tour with Lady Antebellum. It was really cool to write that song and now we’ll get to see it in huge arenas all around the country this year.
Who is producing the new album?
The first album started with just the EP that Casey Brown and I just recorded via Dropbox. We’d send it off and a drummer would play on it and send it back. We finished the first album in an actual studio, but now the new album is Casey Brown, myself and we brought in Dann Huff this time to be like the overseer. His guitar playing and his knowledge, obviously his accolades go on for decades and this just could not have been a better situation for Casey to learn from Dann and me to learn from Dann.
Dann Huff is the most humble guy and any idea, there’s no stupid ideas, with Dann. That really makes for a comfortable creating environment for me. I have a lot of crazy ideas and for them to sit and filter through those, it’s been amazing. It’s an amazing experience to make a record with Dann and Casey.
Listen to “Love You Liked I Used To” below.