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 2018

We're looking for the greatest, most authentic and sincere, southern moms. Taking nominations November 1st!

South's Greatest Photographers 2018

We're looking for the greatest, most creative photographers. If that is you, or you know of any, don't hesitate to nominate!
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Events Calendar

  • Designer's Showcase: Dressed for the Season

    Nov 12, 2018
    11:00 AM - 3:00 PM @ Kaminski House Museum

    The Kaminski House Museum in historic Georgetown, South Carolina will be dressing the rooms of the Kaminski House Museum this holiday season with...

  • Tybee Marsh Treks

    Sep 01, 2018
    4:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Tybee Island Marine Science Center

    On a marsh trek, you’ll enjoy a hands-on exploration of Georgia’s salt marsh, searching the mud for fiddler crabs, snails, and more. Learn...

  • Bonaventure Cemetery: After Hours Stories Eternal

    Nov 17, 2018
    5:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ Bonaventure Cemetery

    Savannah's only after hours cemetery tour awaits! Few places are more invoking of Easter and life's great questions and mysteries than that...

  • Lights of the South

    Nov 16, 2018
    5:30 PM - 10:00 PM

  • 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...

  • Toddler Touch Tanks

    Dec 06, 2018
    All Day @ UGA Marine Education Center and Aquarium

    Explore the coast with your child in a unique setting perfect for inspiring wonder and curiosity! During select Thursdays in January and December,...

  • Skatefest

    Dec 07, 2018
    All Day @ Savannah Civic Center

  • Santa's Wonderland

    Nov 14, 2018
    All Day @ Bass Pro Shops

    The magic returns to Bass Pro Shops and Savannah-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering FREE 4x6...

  • 2018 National Gingerbread House Competition™ Display

    Nov 25, 2018
    All Day

    What started as a small group of gingerbread houses built by community members in 1992 has evolved into one of our most treasured traditions at The...

  • Girls' Night Out: "Meet Me in St. Louis"

    Dec 20, 2018
    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    Not many movies rate 100 % on the Rotten Tomatometer, but this 1944 classic MGM romantic musical comedy does. So that’s why we’re screening it...

  • Big Bon Pizza Pop Up

    Dec 21, 2018
    5:30 PM - 8:00 PM @ Henny Penny Cafe

    Join us as we host a Big Bon Pizza Pop Up. Grab a slice (or two, who's counting?!) and take a breather from all the holiday hustle bustle. Big...

  • Stardusted Circus Winter Solstice

    Dec 21, 2018
    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    An Evening of Light, Magic, and Wonders to Behold!As you walk up to the enchanting Tybee Post Theater you will be greeted by a Festival of...

  • "Green Book"

    Dec 22, 2018
    3:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    There’s a lot of Oscar buzz around this new film about a working-class Italian-American bouncer, who becomes the driver of an African-American...

  • Holidays on the Big Screen

    Dec 22, 2018
    6:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ Ellis Square

    A family friendly event, bring everyone down along with chairs & blankets and watch a favorite holiday movie under the stars in Ellis Square. This...

  • Holidays on the Big Screen

    Dec 22, 2018
    6:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ Ellis Square at City Market

    Bring everyone to downtown Savannah along with chairs & blankets and watch a favorite holiday movie under the stars in Ellis Square. This is an...

  • Gregg Russell Christmas Concert

    Dec 23, 2018
    5:30 PM - 9:00 PM @ Harbour Town

    Relish the spirit of the holidays with an evening in Harbour Town. Listen as Gregg Russell plays his guitar and sings songs of the season for...

  • Christmas Eve Lunch Cruise

    Dec 24, 2018
    12:00 PM - 2:30 PM @ Savannah Riverboat Cruises

    CHRISTMAS EVE LUNCH CRUISE Start your Christmas Eve celebration off with some delicious Southern fare this year on board with us! Delight yourself...

  • Christmas Eve Dinner Cruise

    Dec 24, 2018
    3:00 PM - 6:00 PM @ Savannah Riverboat Cruises

    CHRISTMAS EVE DINNER ENTERTAINMENT CRUISE Join Savannah Riverboat Cruises this Christmas Eve, along with family and friends, for a...

  • Cocktail Classes in Cocktail Street Up

    Dec 24, 2018
    6:00 PM - 7:30 PM @ Congress Street Up

    Are you looking for something a little bit different, but still totally unique? Cocktail Classes in Congress Street Up are sure to wet your...

  • Islands Christian Church Christmas Eve Service

    Dec 24, 2018
    All Day @ Islands Christian Church

    Come join Islands Christian Church for a great Christmas Eve service!  Service times are 3, 4:30, and 6 P.M.

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Scenes of the South

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.

Boo Bash

This spooktacular evening included hors d’oeuvres, “spirits,” music and dancing, a Halloween costume contest with cash prizes, Halloween-themed entertainment, a 50/50 raffle, live auction and talent contest. Contest categories included: Dancing, Singing, Rapping, Stand-up Comedy and Lip Syncing.

Masquerade at the Mansion

Plenty of patrons donned masks and beads for an unforgettable Mardi Gras at the Mansion. There unique entertainment, food, and decor including magic fire, beignets, king cake and a photo booth, plus music and dancing, libations, late-night treats, and lots of surprises.

DineSouth After Party

This year's DineSouth ended in a blast. Dozens headed over to Barrellhouse, who hosted the after party. They enjoyed great drinks and live music by Individually Twisted.

DineSouth 2018

This year's DineSouth sponsored by was the greatest yet! South magazine has once again put on a night filled with fantastic food and entertainment. Guests enjoyed delicious food & drinks in the city while getting the opportunity to meet and mingle with the best chefs in the South. The entertainment was amazing with American Idol winner Candice Glover, unique band Velvet Caravan and the acoustic sounds of Annie Allman. The event supported the local Salvation Army.

Grand Opening of 201 Seafood

Mixing the traditional tastes of the south with the local flair of the city, 201 Seafood and Tapas Lounge showcases Savannah's culinary community and their grand opening now gives us full access to some of the best seafood in the Coastal Empire.