Dustin Lynch on the Platinum-Seller That Almost Wasn't

Singer explains why he was hesitant to release "Where It's At (Yep Yep)" to radio

Dustin Lynch has received a platinum certification for "Where It's At (Yep Yep)." Credit: Mireya Acierto/WireImage

Dustin Lynch's first Number One song is now his second platinum-seller. "Where It's At," the lead single from the country star's 2014 album of the same name was given the RIAA's heavy metal certification this week, joining "Cowboys and Angels" as the two million-selling hits on his résumé.

With its gleaming meld of modern drum programming and euphoric disco rock, "Where It's At" (officially titled "Where It's At (Yep Yep)") has tendrils of pedal-steel hanging over its hook that serve to tug the tune gently back towards country. It was an out-of-the-box hit, but actually wasn't Lynch's initial choice for the big introduction to his sophomore album.

"It was the kind of a song that came in really early," the singer explains to Rolling Stone Country. "In the making of an album when we're writing songs and listening for months and months, sometimes the stuff that comes in first you get tired of. We didn't think it was a single. Something magical happened with the guitars when we recorded it. Here's a song that took me a while to even consider it in the game, and now I'm the one championing it to be the first single. It was like the Cinderella story of the album."

"Where It's At" was co-written by Zach Crowell, who played an important role in modernizing Lynch's sound between the singer's first and second full-lengths. (Crowell also has a writing credit on Lynch's latest single, "Hell of a Night.") Between "Where It's At" and his work on Sam Hunt's Montevallo, Crowell did a lot to push the sonic boundaries of country music last year.

"Zach's great," Lynch exclaims. "We've got a bright future together. We're going to keep on working together a lot. He's a very smart guy and brings a unique flavor to the table for me. I can countrify him up a little bit, too. We meet in the middle perfectly."

Crowell was one of many established hitmakers who helped Lynch on Where It's At, and the singer sees this as a key to longevity in a fiercely competitive business. "I still write really hard," he says. "I write nonstop. But I'm also getting songs pitched to me from the best songwriters in the world. All my heroes, guys who have been around country music for a long, long time, they always record the best songs. It's never anything selfish. Yeah, I can record all the ones I wrote. But I don't think that would be very smart."

Lynch is spending his summer as an opening act for Luke Bryan, calling the gig "life changing." It's a commercial career-boost, of course: "We're getting our music out in front of so many new fans and seeing our world change because of that in every way possible," he says. But more importantly, the Tennessee native has taken away crucial personal lessons about the music business. "[Bryan]'s still having a great time," he continues. "I've seen [headlining] not be as fun for other people. It's exciting for me to see somebody that's ten years ahead of me in his career still having as much fun as he is, to know that it's possible."

Playing at New York's FarmBorough Festival last month, Lynch also seemed to be having a great time. He was feeling good enough to insert a cover of Drake's "Hold On We're Going Home" in the middle of his set. Naturally, he ended the show with "Where It's At," a song about enjoying the moment from an artist who's making sure to relish each one.