Dylan Brady's Tourette Syndrome Advocacy Leads to Rascal Flatts' Joe Don Rooney Co-Producing Single 'Over Us'

Dylan Brady just released his debut single, "Over You," from an upcoming new album. Brady, who moved to Nashville on his own, from his native New York when he was just 17 years old, has had to work hard, like any rising star, to have his music heard. But unlike most other artists, Brady has had to overcome a potentially debilitating disease, Tourette Syndrome, which he takes in stride.

"I never heard of Tourette's until I was around 12," Brady told PopCulture.com. "I had moved schools and I met my best friend to this day, Danny, who is back home. And all of a sudden, I was at school, and I was noticing he was going like this (moves his head) and [going] 'hmm,' like doing that. I just didn't know what he was doing, had never heard of Tourrette's. I just asked him what he was doing, and he's like, 'Oh I have Tourrette's.'

"He explained it, and it was like a light bulb, it just went off," he continued. "My entire life, I was always saying 'Sorry,' just randomly hitting my hands together, and moving ... we never knew what it was."

Brady went to a neurologist and received an official diagnosis of Tourrette Syndrome when he was 13 years old. The condition might be devastating for some, but even as an adolescent, Brady looked for the silver lining.

"Immediately I just wanted to find the good in it," Brady said. "It is something that I'm very grateful, first off, that it's not very outward and it doesn't totally affect me every day. It does in certain ways, internally and I feel that no one else really notices it. But I wanted to find something. I wanted to take advantage of what I had. And I wanted to find an opportunity within the difference I had."

It was his Tourette's diagnosis that led him to get a huge boost in his career from one of his favorite singers, after Brady started speaking at schools and camps about celebrating differences in people, whatever they might be.

"My favorite band ever, ever, ever, ever is Rascal Flatts, since I was 2 years old," Brady recalled. "I'm from Long Island, New York so no one would listen to it but me, but it was Flatts, Dixie Chicks, Tim McGraw, Collin Raye, and Flatts hands down are my favorite. I ended up meeting Joe Don Rooney from Rascal Flatts two years ago. I do a lot of work with Zac Brown Band. Zac has a camp for kids with disabilities called Camp Southern Ground.

Zac Brown saw Brady on the Disney Channel, and invited him to not only perform at the camp, but also to the event where he met Rooney.

"I wasn't supposed to play that night, and they made me play two songs," Brady recounted. "Joe Don was to play after me, but he was supposed to be the only one playing, and they made me play two songs before him. He's filming me and I'm like, my throat's closing up ... And then, I was walking off stage and he was just like, 'Hey, can I borrow your guitar?'"

Rooney ended up inviting Brady to sing the trio's hit, "Life Is a Highway," which unexpectedly kicked off a friendship between the two.

"He gave me his number," said Brady. "I gave him mine. He said, 'Let's work on something," and I didn't think anything. Obviously, I thought he was just being nice. He's in Rascal Flatts, the most awarded country band in history, my legit idols, the reason I play country music. I didn't think it was going to be anything more than him being nice, and two days later, he started texting me asking me if I have management, if I'm with a label, if I'm working on anything.

"We co-produced a solo together way back," he added. "I signed an artist development deal with him and he co-produced this record with Andy Sheridan and myself and him."

Not only is Rooney championing Brady's career, but they have stayed close, even when not working on music.

"He's also become one of my best friends and it's really, really, cool," Brady said. "I go to his daughter's basketball games, and her plays, and I hang out with the family. We're at his pool house until three in the morning just hanging out, listening to songs. It's really full circle; it's like we're best friends and we're boys and now all of a sudden, I look on his wall and I see 15 million records sold. I'm like, 'What is going on right now?'"

"He's just been a huge champion," Brady remarked. "Walking in doors and having his name with it and his belief and his support and everything just, it's just really cool.

Brady may not need Rooney's help in promoting "Over You," which is already becoming an early hit at radio. The song was inspired by a girl he loved, who moved to California.

"I've written hundreds of songs about her," Brady admitted. "Pretty much the whole EP is about her. 'Over Us' was pretty much the start of all those songs if that makes any sense. And not all – each moment didn't have to be a real moment, but all the feelings were there and hopefully people can connect with it 'cause I do. I mean, every time I listen to it, I feel it and when I wrote it, I felt it and I'm really excited about it."

Brady doesn't have a timeline for his new EP, but says all six songs are already completed.

"All I've ever loved is music and that girl," conceded the singer. "But my entire life, I've wanted to find what is Dylan and find something that's different and what makes me stand out 'cause obviously, I love country music. I love pop music, but an artist is somebody who differentiates himself. And so, I think I found this thing in this music that really makes it different and it still has its country root and has its pop side elements to it and feel like it's really Dylan. So, I'm really excited for people to hear it."

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Listen to more of Brady's music and download "Over You" on Brady's website.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of EB Media/Dawson Waters

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