BY NAOMI GRACE
Dustin Hensley is a modern artist from Nashville, with a new sound fresh to the music landscape. His debut EP is a blend of synth and electronic feels with a contrast of country-esque story telling. His single ‘Nobody But You’ is being released on November 11th and his debut EP to follow. His authenticity in his music does not go unnoticed as he claims “no matter what, it’s me telling stories. My life and my truth” You can expect big things from Dustin and his journey as an artist.
What is the main inspiration behind your upcoming EP?
DUSTIN: I’m so excited about this new music. I feel like I’ve grown so much in the last couple of years, and this is a full representation of where I’m at in my life. With this EP we really went into it not thinking of where it would fit, but just creating what felt good to us. It was a blast to be a part of.
How would you describe your unique music style?
DUSTIN: I get that question a lot, and you’d think I’d had a definitive answer on that. I’m a lot of things. I’m influenced by a lot of different styles and music, and I think people will see that. I’m a total product of the “iPOD generation.” At any given time my top 3 favorite songs are completely different from each other. But that’s whats so great about music- as long as it makes me feel something, I’m going to dig it. But to try and answer your question, I would describe it as a mix of R&B and country. Both of those genres have influenced me the most, so I definitely take bits and pieces from both of those. All the way from both George’s to Waylon, to Usher and Chris Brown, and everything in between. Anything I do is going to be inherently country, because that’s how I was raised and that’s who I am. Especially with the theory and make-up of the songs. They came to together in a very “country” way. And they tell stories that everyone can relate to in some way or another.
What is your idea behind mixing genres into one unique sound?
DUSTIN: I’m a walking contradiction. My favorite songs are all across the map and they span from straight up bluegrass to hardcore rap, back to pop, then up to gospel, and down around to folk. Sooner or later you get to country and classic rock. This past summer I was given some advice that ultimately changed my entire way of thinking. I was told to “Go have fun. You’re not having any fun. Don’t go and write a pop song, don’t go and write a country song- just have fun. Do what feels right,” and that’s what we did. This EP is all over the place, but I’m all over the place. I feel like this music is a true reflection of me. It almost doesn’t make sense on paper- but it works.
Your preference: recording process or song writing process?
DUSTIN: This is Nashville. I’m supposed to say something like “writing is first and foremost, blah blah blah.. haha.” But I love being in the studio and recording. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing and I love that you walk into a room (most of the time with people you’ve never met) and then a couple hours later you come out with something that wasn’t there before. There’s something really beautiful in that. Creating something out of nothing. But you get that same thing with recording. I mean, growing up I’ve always dreamed of being on the radio and being an artist. Recording is how that happens. It’s my favorite thing. Besides Lunchables. Lunchables are everything.
What is the funniest thing you’ve done to impress a girl?
DUSTIN: My whole track record with women has been laughable. I don’t know that I’ve ever done a singular thing to try and impress anyone, but it’s been a train wreck all the way around haha. Maybe I should start trying? haha. Either way I get songs out of it, so it’s a win.
Who would you most want to have a musical love child with?
DUSTIN: Can I get a little rowdy? Can I jump in somewhere with Lee Ann Womack and Ciara and see what happens? haha. I’ve always been a huge fan of the Avett Brothers. I would love to do something with them. They are who really got me into songwriting. There is something so pure about what they do.
Have you played in any bands prior to branching off as a solo artist?
DUSTIN: Yeah, two of them since I’ve been in Nashville. They obviously didn’t work out, but I learned so much from those experiences and everyone involved. The last band I was in, I got two best friends out of it so I can’t be upset about it ending. ’Twas what it ’twas. I’m sure we’ll end up doing something later on though.
What is something about yourself that we don’t see evidently through your music?
DUSTIN: Oh wow. Uh, I feel like I’m an open book for the most part. I’ve always been a little left of center and quirky in a way. But I love Disney movies haha. I don’t know that you’d know that automatically by listening to my music. Fox and The Hound and The Lion king are the best ever. And I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise.
On your website you discuss the importance of having fun with what you do - what do you find is the most fun in your career as a musician?
DUSTIN: The fact that I get to make music at all is an amazing gift, and I know that I often take that for granted sometimes. It’s easy to get caught up in the “mess” of all of it, you know? The business side of it can be taxing, but at the end of the day it’s the greatest job in the world. I love when I get to work with my friends. Thankfully, my best friends in town (who are also in music), we’d be friends if music wasn’t even a factor. They’re just amazing people to be around. So whenever I get to work with them is awesome. We’re just a bunch of grown up kids that get to make up words for a living. It doesn’t get better than that.
What can listeners expect from your upcoming EP?
DUSTIN: Well, I’d really love it if people didn’t hate it haha. That’s goal number one. But I want these songs to be played anywhere and everywhere. Whether you need something to listen to while you’re getting ready to go out, or just driving in your car, or cleaning the dishes. I want someone to listen and say “Oh my God. That’s me. I’m going through that. Or I’ve went through that. This was written to me.” That’s what I want. I think the folks who have been with me since the beginning can expect a growth from me. Vocally and lyrically. We definitely experimented with the production and instrumentation, but I think those who have been with me will love it, and hopefully I’ll get some new followers along the way.
What is your biggest aspiration as an artist?
DUSTIN: I’ve got a couple. Ready? I worship Kelly Ripa and I want to co-host, and sing on the show on the same day. I wanna do a bluegrass Christmas record and have a duet with Lee Ann Womack. I wouldn’t hate being some sort of character in the next movie Dolly Parton makes. And be in a Muppet Movie.