Russell Dickerson, who will spend this summer as the opening act for Thomas Rhett, performs at Jiffy Lube Live in June. (Courtesy of Russell Dickerson)

It’s easy to lose track of the days when you’re a country singer who spends most of your time on the road, but Russell Dickerson always knows when it’s Saturday — his Instagram and Twitter notifications inevitably start blowing up as his debut single and biggest hit, “Yours,” starts playing at weddings nationwide for a happy couple’s first dance.

“I get chills just thinking about it,” Dickerson, 32, said during a recent interview in Nashville. “It’s such a common thing now. Wedding season is in full swing, and I’m excited to look every Saturday: ‘Who’s getting married today?!’ ”

In 2016, the Knot named “Yours” (which he co-wrote with Parker Welling and Casey Brown) one of the hottest wedding songs of the year. The success of the love-struck ballad, inspired by Dickerson’s relationship with his wife, Kailey, helped make him a breakout star — which is still somewhat surreal to him, as he spent years being turned down by Nashville labels. When he signed a record deal in late 2016, it became a near-constant grind, especially as he embarked on a radio tour during the week and then opened for other artists on the weekends. He guesses that in 2017, he was home for “about 40 days.”


Russell Dickerson and his wife, Kailey, the inspiration behind his breakout song, “Yours.” (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

“My body was so exhausted, but my spirit was so alive because my dreams were coming true,” Dickerson said. “Like, so many years of just no one caring, and then, holy crap, these radio stations playing my song, I finally got signed, I have a whole radio team working to get the entire world to hear this song. And so my spirit — that’s just what kept me going.”

These days, the schedule has become a bit easier. His radio tour paid off big time, as “Yours” and sophomore single “Blue Tacoma” both hit No. 1. His third single, “Every Little Thing,” is currently in the mid-20s on the airplay charts. Between dates opening for Thomas Rhett this summer (the tour hits Jiffy Lube Live on Saturday), he’s headed back in the studio in July to record his second album.

Dickerson was always well-versed in the ups and downs of a country music career; he grew up in Nashville and attended Belmont University, a popular choice for aspiring singer-songwriters. He met two guys a couple years ahead of him in school named Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley. The three of them would write songs together, even before Hubbard and Kelley decided to become Florida Georgia Line. FGL’s smash“Cruise” launched their career in 2012, and now, Dickerson is especially grateful to have close friends who know how the industry works.

“We’ve all spent less time together, but this whole journey has definitely brought us closer. Because you just get it,” he said. “As much as you want to tell your best friends from college what you’re going through, no one understands it like someone who’s been right there doing the same thing you are.”

Dickerson wrote songs and played venues around town while trying to get a record deal, he also self-released his music online. In July 2015, he posted a music video for “Yours,” directed by Kailey, on YouTube. The song was noticed by SiriusXM’s “The Highway” and then took off on Spotify (it currently has more than 150 million streams). The next year, Dickerson was the first singer signed to Triple Tigers, an independent record label. It wound up being an ideal home, as the staff had lots of time to devote to pushing his single to radio; the label has since signed two more acts, Scotty McCreery and Gone West, a new country quartet with Colbie Caillat.

While Dickerson admits he felt a bit of pressure as the flagship artist, he tried to “turn that pressure into excitement — just to prove everybody wrong who turned me down for seven years,” he joked.

“I’m never one to be like, ‘Haha, told you so,’ ” he said, adding that executives from labels that rejected him are “super kind” and “very congratulatory” about his recent success. “They weren’t in a place to sign me then. And it’s all good. I found my people.”

If you go

Russell Dickerson

With Thomas Rhett, Dustin Lynch and Rhett Akins on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Jiffy Lube Live, 7800 Cellar Door Drive, Bristow. $49.75-$88.50.