Thinking ‘bout them! Country star Dustin Lynch is known for his infectious stage energy — and he credits his fans for keeping his love for music alive.
“I’ve been [touring for] a long time. I played in a lot of honkey-tonks in Nashville and all over the southeast before we started touring nationally at this level and worldwide now,” Lynch, 37, exclusively told Us Weekly at the 2023 CMT Awards red carpet on Sunday, April 2. “I just love being on stage. There’s no other adrenaline hit like that. There’s no other drug like it on earth. And that connection with fans, I think what fuels me is just seeing the joy on other people’s faces. I don’t know why it’s the case, but the fact that we’re playing songs and singing and dancing and they’re joining and smiling, that’s the best thing of all time.”
The “Ridin’ Roads” crooner, who has released five studio albums throughout his career, has been on the country music circuit for eight years and has garnered a slew of awards nominations in his wake. In 2014, he took home the trophy for Top New Artist of the Year at the ACMs, and in 2018, he won big at the CMT Awards with Male Video of the Year for his hit single, “Small Town Boy.”
For Lynch, finding success came from trusting his instincts — and believing in his own talent.
“There’s a lot of outside influence artistically in everything you do. But I think what I’ve learned through the years is to find people that you’re a fan of, and if they wanna be a part of your team, usually good things happen,” he explained to Us. “Trust your gut. I think there’s, there’s been a list of instances where I had a gut feeling, but then I was listening to outside opinions and it always seems like my gut was the right decision.”
The Tennessee native previously made headlines in January after fellow country crooner Luke Bryan made questionable comments about him at the Crash My Playa festival in Mexico.
“No one has drank more liquor. No one has vomited more. No one has taken more drugs. No one has taken more IVs,” the American Idol judge, 46, quipped of Lynch while introducing him on stage. “No one has passed more STD tests than this next gentleman, ladies and gentlemen. He got a clean bill. He does not have diseases. Give it up for Dustin Lynch!”
After the remarks received fan backlash following the event — which Bryan founded in 2015 — the “Country Girl” singer took to social media to clarify the situation and apologize to his good pal.
“Dustin Lynch is one of my dearest friends on the planet,” Bryan said in an Instagram video at the time. “No one respects him more than I do … My introduction of him was complete sarcasm. Those words that I used were so absurd, I figured everybody would take it as sarcasm. Obviously, some people didn’t.”
The “Play It Again” crooner added: “I spoke to Dustin. I love him. He and I are all good, and I apologize to anybody that doesn’t understand my humor and sarcasm. It’s been going on like that down there for years.”
Lynch, for his part, reposted Bryan’s apology via his own Instagram Stories, writing, “Thx for the call, love ya bro. All good. We had a lot of fun down there with the pirates.”
While Bryan may have taken his joke a step too far, Lynch is no stranger to having a good time. The “Seein’ Red” artist is a big fan of karaoke, but his song choice depends on “how many tequilas” he’s had.
“‘Forgot About Dre’ is a go-to for me. I can do Dr. Dre and Eminem’s part takes a lot of air, but I can do that. And my favorite band is Incubus” he told Us on Sunday, adding that his love for spontaneous song has helped him make friends during his travels.
“Last time I was [in Austin, Texas] I found a guy playing just solo acoustic, but when I walked in, I’m like, ‘Man, he sounds like he could do a good Incubus cover.’ And I went out, I tipped him some money, I was like, ‘You know Incubus?’ He goes, ‘This is my favorite band.’ And he started playing Incubus covers all afternoon for me,” he gushed. “I stayed there the whole afternoon, caught a buzz. We had a blast and exchanged numbers. He and I text all the time. Still.”
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With reporting by Kayla Aldecoa