So Fit to be a Star


Following a string of hits that put him on country music’s radar, artist Russel Dickerson shares how he’s taken to life on the road and stayed fit in the process.

You probably wouldn’t know from observing him onstage, but composing and performing chart-topping country hits are just two of Russell Dickerson’s talents. 
He also does a mean Donald Duck impression. 

“And I’m a major wine nerd,” he adds. 

Donald Duck quacks aside, Dickerson has fine-tuned his low but lush vocals since graduating with a music degree from Belmont University over eight years ago.   

“Every night, I have to do my vocal warm-ups while also eating greasy Lay’s potato chips and [drinking] a little bourbon to grease up and loosen the ole pipes,” Dickerson explains. 
His method has, so far, yielded a consistently smooth, strong range of music, making his style distinctive in a genre populated with more than a few bourbon buffs. Dickerson’s library of songs, going back to those released off his first EP, “Die To Live Again,” in 2011 to his most recent, “Yours,” in 2017, lay claim to more than 200 million streams on Spotify. 

From the addictive tune of “Blue Tacoma” to the single responsible for a thousand slow dances and putting him on the radar and radios across the nation, “Yours,” Dickerson has risen steadily and gracefully through the ranks of country music artistry. 

That said, don’t expect him to slow down anytime soon.  

His current tour schedule finds him traveling the U.S. with Darius Rucker, an invaluable source of career advice and, as Dickerson refers to him, “one of the wisest in the biz.” 
“Love that guy,” he exclaims. “Usually we’re just sitting around after a show and we just start talking about the whole thing.”

Though Lay’s and bourbon play a vital part in his vocal warm-ups, Dickerson says the majority of his on-the-road diet involves less grease and more greens.  

“I pretty much stick to this whole Keto low-carb thing. It’s worked really well for me to stay in shape and give me the energy I need every day. I also try to get a decent shred session in a few times a week as well.”

Dickerson says he and his wife, Kailey, are “total foodies,” and enjoy sampling the local fare of each city they visit on tour. “We love to first find a great coffee spot and later a nice dinner spot with a major vibe.”

As for his exercise regime, “It’s always different at this point,” he says. 

“We aren’t consistent enough to have a full-time trainer yet, but when we were out with Lady Antebellum, they had a sick workout trailer with anything we needed to get a nice lil pump in.”

Dickerson admits he is still figuring out how to most effectively adapt his workout regime to his concert calendar. 

“Geez. It’s so hard. Finding time and energy at this point to work out in a hotel gym, eat healthy and keep the beer to a minimum is a struggle. But that’s what you gotta do—adapt. Great buzzword.” 

When he and Kailey are not at the mercy of adapting to life on the road, they embrace the outdoors in Dickerson’s native Tennessee. 

“When I’m home, I love waking up first thing and building a fire. I love being outside. I can often be found mountain biking, running trails at Percy Warner Park or hiking at Lake Radnor in Nashville.”

Back on tour, “Yours” continues to be his number-one crowd-pleaser both in the U.S. and across the pond in Europe, but when Dickerson wants to get everyone clapping and screaming, “MGNO” off “Yours” is the way to go. 

“I’ve got a lot of energy to get out of my ADHD self, so this song involves a lot of jumping, running and dancing.”

The vigor radiating through Dickerson’s persona and high-energy performances makes him a magnetic for fellow artists and life-enthusiasts, and the headlining country acts he opens for provide him and his music with both generous exposure and unforgettable memories. One artist in particular he still can’t believe he opened for is Keith Urban.  

“I was walking back from front of house on his last two songs, and when he came off stage he was like, ‘Bro where were you?’ I watched the whole thing from the soundboard! He had called me up onstage to sing ‘The Joker’ with him and I freaking missed it. Oh well. Next time, Keith!”

For Dickerson, the inspiration for his music mirrors his perpetual love for life, and no one can deny his genuine gusto when the beat drops and sparks the hum of his next hit. 
“Whatever it is I believe, it’s got to be real. The process happens all different ways. Sometimes it starts with a beat, a song title or even just a quick melody,” he says. “As an artist, my only goal is to take this as far and wide as possible. So I dream of arenas and stadiums. Will I be there in three years? Who knows, but that’s what I have my sights set on.”
He chuckles. “Personally, I think we will definitely have a baby by then. Wow that’s weird to say.”

The pride in Dickerson’s professional life intersects with that of his personal, a common makeup of many a country artist’s post-breakthrough gratification. Fans of his work are quick to mention Kailey directed the music video for “Yours” as well as co-directed the one for “Blue Tacoma.”  

“My wife is definitely my good luck charm. She’s been with me since before any of this started happening.”

This lean country-music-making machine knows he’s blessed and what’s best for his health and craft, but also who stood with him when the world was not yet singing along.    

“This career I built from the absolute ground up. My wife has helped me in so many ways and I’m just so proud of us for sticking to what we knew was going to be a breakthrough song and video and we never gave up. That’s what I’m most proud of.” •

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South's Greatest Moms Contest 2019

We're looking for the greatest, most authentic and sincere, southern moms. Taking nominations through February 4th!

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Show your dad some love and enter him in the South's Greatest Dads contest and get him some votes!
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Events Calendar

  • "The Prints of Dame Laura Knight" Exhibition at Telfair Museums

    Jan 19, 2019
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Telfair Museums' Jepson Center

    Telfair Museums exhibits nine prints by Dame Laura Knight (British, 1877-1970), together for the first time since they were acquired by the museum...

  • "Keita Takahashi: Zooming Out" Exhibition at Telfair Musuems

    Jan 24, 2019
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Telfair Museums hosts the first museum survey of the work of visionary videogame designer Keita Takahashi (Japanese, b. 1975). Takahashi is noted...

  • 2019 American Traditions Vocal Competition

    Feb 18, 2019
    12:00 PM - 12:00 PM @ Skidaway Island UMC & The Trustees Theater

    The 2019 American Traditions Vocal Competition (ATC) will be held Feb. 18-22, 2019. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit...

  • Fundamentals of Salsa On2 (Mambo Style)

    Jan 16, 2019
    7:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ Fit912savannah

    Fundamentals of Salsa On2 (Mambo Style)    Fundamentals of Salsa On2 (Mambo style) is for beginners and advanced beginners  of this type of...

  • 23rd Annual Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration

    Feb 01, 2019
    All Day @ Hilton Head Island

    The Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration showcases the rich cultural heritage of theGullah people and their history on Hilton Head Island. Hilton...

  • Savannah Black Heritage Festival

    Feb 01, 2019
    All Day @ Savannah

    The Savannah Black Heritage Festival (SBHF) is a professionally produced, multi-disciplinary festival, and it is one of the many ethnic cultural...

  • License to Chill Snow Island

    Nov 16, 2018
    All Day @ Margaritaville at Lanier Islands

    Margaritaville at Lanier Islands is preparing for a winter wonderland makeover that will surprise and delight local residents and travelers...

  • Balletomane: Paintings by Spain’s Antonio Torres

    Feb 01, 2019
    All Day @ R. Alexander Fine Art

    The show will be on display at R. Alexander from February 1- March 2, 2019. In conjunction with Atlanta Ballet, a special opening reception will be...

  • Fashion Show & Luncheon

    Feb 20, 2019
    11:00 AM - 2:00 PM @ The Plantation Club, The Landings

    Vendor Fair Fun Runway Fashion Show with local celebrities including former Mayor Edna Jackson, Tina Tyus-Shaw, Dawn Baker, Cynthia DeLoach,...

  • 2019 Groundhog Day 2.2 Mile Virtual Race

    Feb 20, 2019
    1:00 PM - 3:00 PM @ YOUR CHOICE

    February 20th is Love Your Pet Day! We want to celebrate all of the animals we love so much with a Love Your Pet Day 5K & 10K! We will be...

  • "A Star is Born"

    Feb 20, 2019
    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    The last feature in our run up to the Academy Awards Feb. 24 is, of course, “A Star is Born!!”In this new take on the tragic love story,...

  • Fundamentals of Bachata

    Jan 16, 2019
    8:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ fit912savannah

    Fundamentals of Bachata    Come learn the sensual dance of Bachata with us. We're a small Savannah group and  would love to expand it with dance...

  • Opioid Alternatives & Resources Seminar

    Feb 21, 2019
    4:00 PM - 7:00 PM @ Richmond Hill City Center

    The Bryan County Opioid Prevention Project (BCOPP) is hosting an Opioid Alternatives & Resources Seminar for healthcare professionals Thursday,...

  • Girl Scouts Thin Mint Throwdown

    Feb 21, 2019
    5:30 PM @ Cohen's Retreat

    Join Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia and Buy Local Savannah for the Fourth Annual Thin Mint Throwdown! Enjoy the best networking in town and...

  • Brews for a Cause

    Feb 21, 2019
    5:30 PM - 7:00 PM @ Jazz'd Tapas Bar

    South Magazine and Southern Eagle presents BREWS FOR A CAUSE, Thursday February 21st, 2019.  Once a month, join a collection of like-minded...

  • Piano in the Arts-Music of the Americas

    Feb 21, 2019
    7:30 PM @ Armstrong Fine Arts Auditorium

  • Cinema Circle: The Kid

    Feb 21, 2019
    8:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Trustees Theater

    Journey through the era of silent film with "The Kid" (1921), Charlie Chaplin's first full-length feature masterpiece, where he served as director,...

  • World of Illusion at Savannah Theatre

    Feb 21, 2019
    8:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Savannah Theatre

    The Savannah Theatre is presenting this incredible blend of comedy, close-up magic, and grand illusion featuring two dynamic, world-class acts for...

  • Will Gruver - LLS ALL STAR Campaign Kick-Off

    Feb 22, 2019
    5:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Service Brewing

    Come join All-Star, Will Gruver, and his band mates as they kick-off ‘Getting the Band Back Together’ for the Will Gruver - LLS ALL STAR...

  • Chefs & Chocolates

    Feb 22, 2019
    7:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Kehoe Ironworks at Trustees' Garden

    Please join Urban Hope for our 9th Annual Chefs and Chocolates Taste of Hope!

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Scenes of the South

Hearts for Healing Gala

The Faith Equestrian's Annual Hearts for Healing Gala at Tybee Wedding Chapel on Friday evening started out with a bang as the Free Spirit Orchestra' violin twins played their rendition of some of the greatest musical hits. The attendees were reminded what the event was all about as the founder Bonnie Rachael was recognized after story after story was shared to a room of teary eyed party-goers. Congrats to event director Bonnie Karr and her amazing team for a job well done!

The Cure Gala

Sisters on a journey sold out to a crowd of over 600 mainly female partygoers as they celebrated a night dedicated to finding a cure for childhood cancer.This special dinner featured unique, individually-themed table decorations, a silent auction, live auction, and a room full of big generous hearts. The event was held at the beautiful trustees garden, Charlie Morris's masterpiece of a venue.

Southern Coast Heart Ball

The American Heart Association's 22nd Annual Southern Heart Ball took place on February 2, 2019 and celebrated all the life-saving advances made so far while raising funds to continue to further AHA's mission. The black-tie gala brought together more than 400 guests to enjoy a night of dining, dancing, live entertainment and both live and silent auctions. Those in attendance got to hear the story of Lily Cochran, who was born with several congenital heart defects. Her father, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, also had a heart disease and was honored at the event.

PUTTING Away Crime

On Saturday, January 12, 2019 Savannah helped McGruff the Crime Dog take a bite out of crime at the Crimestoppers Savannah's 3rd Annual Putt Putt Mini Golf Tournament held at Island Miniature Golf and Game on Wilmington Island. Proceeds went to helping fund rewards for the Crimestopper's anonymous crime tip line.

Dining in the Dark

On Saturday, January 12, 2019, the 3rd Annual Dining in the Dark event presented by The Charles C. Taylor and Samir Nikocevic Charitable Foundation benefitting the Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision, was held at the Embassy Suites/Downtown Savannah.

Beaujolais Nouveau Day 2018

Savannah's 39 Rue De Jean celebrated Beaujolais Nouveau Day, the official end of this year’s growing season. Harvest is complete and vintners—especially in France—are ready to celebrate the completion of the harvest. Beaujolais Nouveau is a red wine that is annually released on the third Thursday in November. Nouveau wine undergoes a very short fermentation process, and yields an extremely fresh and fruity wine.

A Chefs Collaborative

This five course dinner held at Pacci Italian Kitchen and Bar allowed guests to taste exceptional flavors steeped in tradition. Included were the culinary skills of Chef Adam Barnett of The Katharine Brasserie & Bar, Winston-Salem, NC, Chef Robert Hoffman of Angeline’s Charlotte, NC, Chef Daniel Gorman of The Henley Nashville, TN, Chef Sebastien Rondier of Brabo, Alexandria, VA, and Chef Lauren Teague of PACCI Italian Kitchen + Bar.

East and West BBQ

A whole hog BBQ showcase, from two of the south’s most legendary Pitmasters, Pat Martin and Sam Jones. Hosted by Alida Hotel this event was a fabulous juxtaposition between Eastern North Carolina style BBQ and Western Tennessee style. Made possible by the Savannah Food and Wine Festival.

Savannah Food & Wine Fest

Hundreds came to experience Southern charm and hospitality, Savannah Style. The South's best culinary happenings - one exceptional week in Savannah. Iconic and historic coastal venues provided the perfect backdrop for gourmet and fun. South magazine captured the experience at the VIP tent.

Big Wig Boat Bash

Savannah's Riverboat, The Georgia Queen set sail to host the final fundraiser for the 2018 class of Big Wigs, together raising over $100,000 for the Susan G. Komen Coastal Georgia Foundation. This evening included heavy hors d’oeuvres, beverages, a silent auction, music and dancing and a contest to crown the Biggest BigWig! Contest categories included: The Biggest Wig, The Pink Ribbon Award and Best Pink Personality.