Tennessee native Dustin Hensley admits that he has always struggled with defining himself, but when asked how he would best describe his style to those who have yet to hear his music, one word came to mind — wild.
“I grew up in a really small, southern town and I love that way of life. But, I also always had a gypsy heart and yearning for things outside of the country lines,” Hensley told CelebMix. “I’ve always felt that I had two different people fighting themselves on the inside, and I’ve always straddled the fence of what’s country and what’s not. This music reflects that. It welds all of those country influences together with really intricate pop and electronic sensibilities.”
Earlier this month, the singer-songwriter released his latest single, “Nobody But You.” Choosing the track as a single was an easy choice for Hensley, who refers to “Nobody But You” as a strong statement song. “The instrumentation hits you hard, and it just kicks you right in the face. It’s not timid. Compared to what I was doing before, it was such a natural progression to say, ‘this is where I’m at in my life,'” he explained.
“Nobody But You” follows a country, R&B vibe that has worked well for Sam Hunt, whose roots are steeped in classic and contemporary country but possess occasional hip-hop vocals and beats. When asked if Hunt is one of his musical influences, Hensley responded that he is influenced by anyone who is passionate about what they do. “Sam is brilliant and definitely carved out his own lane and went for it. I just love people who make you feel something and who are themselves.” Hensley also credits Lee Ann Womack, The Avett Brothers and Michael Buble as artists on the top of his inspiration list.
Along with a phenomenal lead single, the singer has also been working towards releasing his debut EP, which he describes as “a bit of a roller coaster.” Hensley shared that every song is about a relationship, whether it was good, bad, ugly, or indifferent. The EP has some bold country moments, along with a mixture of pop elements, resulting to a fun vibe that will be a treat for listeners to hear.
One of Hensley’s favorite songs from the EP that he’s most excited to release is titled “Our Town,” which has a country lyric and feel; however, is contrasted against a pulsing electronic beat. “It was one of those that as I was writing, I could see the video for it. That song is my life in a sense, but in different ways,” he spilled. Lyrically, it’s about having to get out of your hometown because you can’t stand the memories that it brings up from a former relationship. Everywhere you go, you see that person and you are always bombarded by what was. But, on the flip side of that, while I love where I’m from, I always felt this restlessness to get out and see the world. So even though I loved being there, everything I loved also reminded me of other things waiting for me.”
As for overcoming any obstacles that stand between him and his musical journey, Hensley makes sure to stay true to who he is. “Find the people who believe in you and who are willing to help you. Whether that’s career-wise, or as a sounding board to say ‘that’s awesome,’ or more importantly, ‘that sucks, you can do better.’ Be willing to put in the work and trust the process.”
Dustin’s EP is set to release in January. You can visit his official website to learn more or stay connected with him on Facebook and Twitter.
Listen to “Nobody But You” below.