About Dustin Collins
The sight and feel of a recording studio is nothing new to Dustin Collins. As his father was a musician and artist, time spent in that setting stand among his earliest memories.
“My dad and uncle played music my whole life. They cut a record back in the 90's. I grew up in a recording studio, just sitting and watching.” Interestingly enough, Collins said that he wasn’t that enamored with the life of a recording artist.
“At first I thought it was boring,” he says. “I brought this little case of Matchbox cars, and I'd be playing with them. It's hard as a child to be quiet, and you’ve got to be quiet in the studio. I remember all the lights and buttons. I was like, "What's that do? What's that do?”
As he grew older, music began to grab him more and more. He remembers the exact moment that he became bit by the performing bug. He and his friends played a cover version of Matchbox Twenty’s “3 A.M” in the Nelson County (KY) High School parking lot – and his path was set.
“Everybody was singing along. It was a great moment, and playing music meant you'd get togo to bonfires, you'd get invited to all the coolstuff and parties because you're the guitar guy.” As his musical talent grew, he played in other bands and shows in the central area of the Bluegrass state – performing everything from Thin Lizzy to Ozzy Osbourne to Hank Williams, Jr. “I stayed in my room most of the time as a teenager learning how to play guitar,” he recalls.
It was through the music of ‘Bocephus’ that would lead him to discovering some of the biggest Country acts of the day, such as Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson. Collins would take a microphone, plug it in to his boombox, and make recordings of him singing along with those acts – and others like them. “I think my mom’s got some of those still,” he says with a laugh, “and I don’t think she’s going to give any of those up.”
His mom – as well as his other fans – will soon be able to pick up brand new music from Collins, as he releases his new album, "It's Been Awhile." Fresh off of the recent chart-topping (#1 on the Billboard Singles Sales chart) success of his song “Cold Dead Hands,” the singer feels that he is starting to come into his own musically on this, his third overall project.
“The first time I went into a studio, and I put the headphones on, it was very different than trying to play a live show. The first time we learned how a studio is actually ran and just where you're at, and your surroundings. Then, with the "She Does" record, I really learned how to sing into the microphone, as I had taken voice lessons to make myself better.” With "It's Been Awhile," Dustin feels he has refined his approach. “Then this last time going into the studio “I've learned how to take construction from the producer – which has made me better - and we've gotten the best vocal sound we've ever gotten.”
He also feels that he has raised his game as a tunesmith, as well, admitting that the lyrics he sings must be ones that he feels the emotion from first-hand. “I have had to live it for it to come out,” he states. “I usually write alone. The best stuff that I write comes when I can be by myself and just put my feelings out there and rewrite until I feel like it's something I want to show somebody else. Songwriting is the muscle.You’ve got to do it every single day, write a hundred bad songs sometimes before you get one.”
And, that’s exactly what Dustin Collins aims to do with his approach to crafting a song. “I try to write at least one song a day - Even if it's going to go into a closet some place and never get seen. You can always take little bits and pieces and splice them together to get another idea. Sometimes it's a combination of things that I've heard people say or talk about, and then something that relates to me, and then I try to go about it the same way you'd write this article, or you'd write a short story. Just go into it and see the story in your mind and try to use all the words to describe exactly what you're talking about.” He stresses that though he thinks his fans will be impressed with the music on "It's Been Awhile," he also feels that he’s always going to be in search of improvement.
“Anybody that says that they are where they want to be, they don’t have that fire anymore,” he says. “They don't have the passion for it, because you can always do better.”
As he progresses along his musical journey, Collins wants to keep true to his mission of writing and performing songs that will mean something to them, just like a Rob Thomas performance once did to him in that parking lot at the home of the Cardinals. “If I want to communicate with my fans, that's the best way to do that, is through your music. After all, they're the ones listening to you and what you have to say, and coming to the shows, buying the merch and supporting you. Those people that do that, they care about you. To me, that's the most important thing is to deliver a message to them that makes them want to come to the shows.”
For Dustin Collins, the opinion of those who support him means everything. “I don't ever want to play something that the guys that have been supporting me for years and years, that they would be like, ‘Ugh.’ I always will try to be true to what I want to do - to write music that means something.”