Russell Dickerson has been slowly building his career for years, and the 31-year-old is poised to make a major splash after releasing his debut album, Yours, last year and seeing his debut single of the same name hit No. 1 in January.
From his optimistic music to his swoon-worthy relationship with wife Kailey, Dickerson has given fans plenty to love, with full-crowd sing-a-longs at his shows, proving that this is one artist who is on the way to the top. While Dickerson celebrates at every show as an #RDParty, he officially celebrated his birthday on May 7, with the fun-loving singer ready for another year climbing the charts.
Read on to learn more about the rising star.
He has a degree in music from Belmont University
Born in Union City, Tennessee, Dickerson's family moved to Nashville when he was 10 years old, making him one of the rare few raised in Music City. He attended Belmont University in Nashville and enrolled in the vocal performance program.prevnext
He went to Belmont with Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley from Florida Georgia Line
Dickerson, Hubbard and Kelley became friends in college and are still close today, with Dickerson having toured with Florida Georgia Line. He was also a groomsman in Hubbard's wedding.
"They came to one of my very first shows, ever, in Nashville. And, afterward, they were like, 'Man, it's so good, we should write songs together,'" Dickerson told The Boot. "They didn't have a band name yet. And so we were writing songs just because we love writing songs. At the time, they were super cool for us, the best songs we'd ever written, all of us."prevnext
He and his wife, Kailey, were both dating other people before they fell in love with each other
Dickerson and his wife were both in the same circle of friends but were with other people before falling for each other. "And we're like, we can't do this – we're friends, and so we stopped," the singer recalled to People. "Then it was like, all in."
The couple celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary on May 5, and their relationship was the inspiration for nearly all of the songs on Dickerson's debut album.
"It's an album that doesn't cover every emotion," he told Billboard of the LP. "I don't feel like an album is supposed to do that. It's supposed to represent this time in your life, and I feel like that just naturally kind of happened... I'm ecstatically married and right now we're stoked on life."prevnext
Kailey is a photographer and videographer
Kailey is a seasoned pro behind the camera, shooting the video for her husband's debut single, "Yours," as well as the cover for his debut album of the same name. She also snapped the first photos of friend Thomas Rhett and Lauren Akins' daughter Willa Grey after the couple adopted the toddler from Uganda.prevnext
He used to work as a guitar tech for a Christian artist
He took the gig after high school, and his time there instilled in him a love of life on the road.
"I love the tour buses, the bunks, the stage, the arenas, the setup, the teardown," he told People. "I just got hooked. I love the touring – just the different cities. It's even better now because I have time to look around and go hang."
It’s HUMP DAYYYYYYYY ? pic.twitter.com/hA0HAUApZW— Russell Dickerson (@russelled) May 3, 2018
His mom is a piano teacher
Dickerson was musical from a young age, starting to learn to play piano by age eight. He also played snare drum in his high school marching band but taught himself how to play guitar.prevnext
He cites Michael Jackson as one of his influences
The "Blue Tacoma" singer cited the King of Pop's uplifting music as a tone he wants to emulate with his own songs. That joyful style is evident on Yours, as well as in Dickerson's energetic live performances.
"I want them to feel uplifted," he told CMT of his fans "That's like Michael Jackson. I'm a huge fan of him, and that music takes you somewhere. It's so good that you're not thinking about anything else but how the song makes you feel."prevnext
There were 650 guests at Russell and Kailey's wedding
The couple invited 650 people to watch them tie the knot, but the pair kept their most personal moment just between the two of them. Rather than exchanging personalized vows during the ceremony, they exchanged letters before walking down the aisle.
"We exchanged letters and closed our eyes and read our letters with our backs to each other," Kailey told The Knot. "Then we held our hands and prayed, but we didn't see each other reading the letters."prevnext
He wore swim trunks and cowboy boots to his college graduation
In classic Dickerson fashion, the singer went out of the box when it came to his graduation outfit.1comments
"Took me 6 years to finally graduate so I had to go out in RD fashion!" he told Just Jared. "As I walked across the stage you could totally see I definitely wasn't wearing pants and my parents thought for sure I was naked and about to moon the entire arena! Pops was not amused however my mom, the next year for Christmas, gave me a graduation nutcracker with swim trunks and all."
Photo Credit: Getty / Jason Koerneprev