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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Greatest Chefs 2019

Chefs are invisible artists. They keep us salivating, our minds fixated on the last time we ate at our favorite restaurant, and when the next time we plan on going. Nominate your favorite chef now!

Greatest Pets 2019

Man's Best Friend can be South's Greatest Pet with the right amount of love. Enter your pet and get those votes! Limited to southeast Georgia and the Lowcountry. Voting begins June 10 and ends July 1.
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Events Calendar

  • SS Savannah (1819-2019)

    May 23, 2019
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Ships of the Sea Museum

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

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

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  • Love Your Hair at Bluemercury!

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  • Girl Scout QuestFest 2019

    Jul 18, 2019
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  • Harper's Desserts Birthday Party

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  • Disney Summer Classics: The Aristocats

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    3:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Lucas Theatre for the Arts

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    Jun 27, 2019
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  • French Moderns: Monet to Matisse, 1850-1950

    Jun 15, 2019
    All Day @ Consumer Museum of Art and Garden

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    Jul 15, 2019
    8:00 AM - 1:00 PM @ Middleton Park, Oak Island

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  • Summer Sea Camp

    May 27, 2019
    9:30 AM - 4:00 PM @ Tybee Island Marine Science Center

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  • Summer Reading Program

    Jun 01, 2019
    10:00 AM - 5:15 PM @ Live Oak Public Libraries

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  • FREE Info Session: Costa Rica Yoga Camp 2020

    Jul 22, 2019
    7:30 PM - 8:30 PM @ Savannah Power Yoga

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  • Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show Hunter Jumper I

    Jul 23, 2019
    8:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Broyhill Equestrian Preserve

    See competitors complete the courses in several Classics and Divisions. Outdoor show on grounds adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

  • "Spider-Man: Far From Home"

    Jul 24, 2019
    3:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

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  • 8th Annual Savannah Ambucs/Vaden Nissan Celebrity Bowlapalooza Kickoff and Auction

    Jul 25, 2019
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  • Literary Love: Authors Rock Savannah

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  • Blowing Rock Tour of Homes

    Jul 26, 2019
    9:00 AM - 4:00 PM @ Various homes & gardens

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  • Friday Concert Series

    May 03, 2019
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    Jul 19, 2019
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Scenes of the South

Bohemian Hotel 10th Anniversary

Stonewall50 - A Legendary Block Party

The Stonewall 50 block party, held on June 28th outside the LGBTQ Center on Bull Street, commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Protest — one of the most important moments in LGBTQ history and the catalyst for the gay rights movement.

Pelindaba Lavender Savannah Grand Opening

Pelindaba Lavender Grand Opening was this past Thursday, June 28th! This fun night included ribbon cutting, product sampling, lavender refreshments and special prizes! During this festive evening 10% of sales benefitted the good work of Coastal Pet Rescue. Stop by the store at 112 E Broughton St, Savannah, Ga to see the many products they offer!

Sonja Griffin Evans Gullah Art Exhibit

The Sonja Griffin Evans Gullah Art Event in Hilton Head displayed several paintings featuring the culture and heritage of the African-American Lowcountry. Sonja Griffin Evans paints with bright vibrant colors — while also incorporating materials such as tin and wood — to emphasize the traditional Gullah style, evoking an emotional response by bringing to life historical and cultural events.

JCB MudRun 2019

Participants hit the ground running at this year's JCB Mud Fest, climbing through tough obstacles in either the 5k or the 5 mile run. At the end of the race was a long slide where, upon finishing, contestants found themselves in the Party Pit. Winners from various age groups were presented with trophies, and all the proceeds from the JCB Mud Fest benefited the Lady Bamford Center for Early Childhood Development.

Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum's 200th Anniversary!

This past Wednesday, May 22, we celebrated with Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum for for the 200th anniversary of the SS Savannah's historic trans-Atlantic crossing — the WORLD'S FIRST oceanic voyage under steam! On this year's Maritime Day, Ships of the Sea celebrated the Savannah's 200th anniversary with a commemorative ceremony provided by the PROPELLER CLUB, where Robert Morris unveiled two eight-foot paintings. The evening also included an amazing performance by the Parris Island MARINE BAND, complimentary hors d'oeuvres and celebratory beverages!

Brews For A Cause at Top Deck

This past Tuesday, May 21 we celebrated another successful Brews for a Cause at Top Deck Bar! We joined up with Southern Eagle and a great group of like minded people to benefit Two Hundred Club of the Coastal Empire in their efforts to provide financial assistance to the surviving families of local law enforcement officers and firefighters who lose their lives in the line of duty. It was another memorable night in the South filled with great people and even greater crafted beer! This month's Featured Craft Beer: Island Coastal Lager Sponsors: Island Coastal Lager, Two Hundred Club of the Coastal Empire, Southern Eagle, South Magazine

Brews for a Cause at Churchill's

This Thursday, Churchill's was pack as we celebrated another successful Brews for a Cause at Churchill's! We joined Southern Eagle and The Coastal Heritage Society. Southern Eagle provided great craft beer, Sista Rae Rae performed live, and the silent auction was a huge success. All the proceeds from the silent auction — including a diamond necklace from International Diamond — benefitted the Coastal Heritage Society.

Nine Line Foundation Dinner

On Friday, May 17, Nine Line hosted their Foundation Dinner that included special guests WWE Superstars Mark Calaway aka The Undertaker, Dustin Rhodes aka Goldust, John “Tig” Tiegen, hero of Benghazi portrayed in the movie “13 Hours,” Chad Prather, comedian and social media celebrity, and Graham Allen, social media celebrity. Guests mingled with the superstars and bid on auction items to raise money for the foundation. Matt Lyda put on a stellar performance as the MC of the event and kept the crowd entertained and bidding.

6th Annual Nine Line Run for the Wounded

The Nine Line Foundation and Nine Line Apparel celebrate Armed Forces Day for their 6th Annual 5K/10K Run for the Wounded in Savannah, Georgia. Proceeds from the race go directly towards their newest initiative: building a transitional community, a Veterans Village, for homeless veterans right here in Savannah, Georgia. With both 5K and 10K options available, this twilight run turned out to be another great success.