Ask Texas native Dustin Massey about his music, the humble 31 year old will say "I'm pretty ok." Growing up surrounded by classic Texas music, Massey didn't discover his voice till a series of events lead him to take himself seriously as a talented artist. Now with a heart full of confidence and the talent to match, Dustin Massey is ready to join the Red Dirt scene he grew up dreaming of being apart of!
Check Out The IGTV Interview and Performance At https://www.instagram.com/tv/CNgaGwECwKG/
To kick us off, I have to know about your amazing long hair!
Oh my gosh. Well, thank you. I I'm sure I could use a lot of hair tips from you. All, all of the sweet ladies in my life continually tell me all the things I'm doing wrong. And I'm like, I don't know. I just stopped cutting it one day and I wake up and it does its thing.
So I moved to Colorado in, I think it was December 1st, 2013. I quit my job and there's a whole story, but I'd said to move up there. When I moved I was working this corporate job or whatever, where I had to have a good clean cut and all this. I was like, I'm never doing that again. And I'm going to prove it. I'm going to grow my hair out. So I grew my hair out for like four years Then my best friend was getting married and as a surprise to his bride, I cut all my hair off really short to look clean, cut for the wedding. Everybody's like, you didn't have to do that. I was like, nah, I need to do it anyway. I haven't cut it since. I've been growing it out for nearly five years.
You alluded to quitting your job and moving to Colorado to pursue music. So talk to me a little more about that story.
I was a basketball player growing up. I'm 6”5’. I'm pretty tall, dude. And so not that I was a great basketball player, but if you're 6”5’ and you like try a little bit, you might get a little bit out there, you know? I played basketball in college. I didn't love it. It kind of felt like the thing I was supposed to do. That's when I started like picking up a guitar and really writing and playing music. I just did it back in the dorm or in the apartment or eventually in the house I was living in. I'm just such a big fan of the Texas music scene. I would just go see all the, everybody from Casey Donahue to Mike Ryan, Stoney LaRue, Cody Canada. I would go see these guys play all the time.
And it just kind of became like this. I really want to do this and I'm working this job. I didn't really have a clue what it took. This is all while I'm working my first real big boy job out of college. I had worked there nearly two years and they were like, Hey, you have all this PTO, like, don't come to work on Monday. You got to go on vacation. Leave, take the company truck and go somewhere. And so I picked my best friend up in Lubbock. We drove out to California, we drove all over California. We'd like New Mexico, Arizona, California drove back through, like, we went to Vegas, we went to Colorado and back and I kind of just got back and was bold and was like, I'm going to just give like a month notice.
I told my bosses, I just want to like go back to school, maybe pursue music or whatnot. Then, I moved to Colorado. Didn't pursue music. I was there for five years. I was still riding and whatnot, but I was really scared. Honestly, I didn't, I didn't know how to. I didn't know who I was as a musician. I was writing all the time and playing at home, but even just like open mic nights were kind of terrifying still. After about four years of being there, I had some really cool friends really encourage me to go out to like some open mics.
So there's a guy named Luke Wade. He he lives in California. Now a lot of people know him. He was on The Voice, but he was a Fort worth guy that I'd kind of grown up listening to. And I had met him after some of his shows before, and I just really geeked out! Especially for Dallas and Fort worth musicians, because it just seemed like they were very close. They're like right here, close to home. Some were along the way I friended Luke on Facebook.
Don't remember when, but I logged on to Facebook when I'm in Colorado. I think I'd been there almost four years. And Luke had just finished being on The Voice and posted this thing. He said, ’m looking to like get off the road for awhile. I'm going to be doing like a songwriter mentorship, fill out this application and I'll get back to you. I like filled it all out and everything. I'm gonna fill this out. I'm gonna do it. And like right. As you're about to submit it into is like, I like backed out, I’m not doing this.
I walked out of the room and I had this moment, this was this moment. I said to myself, you love music so much. You've been telling like people close to you. You want to do it for so long. And it's literally been like, you know, my whole life, I'm not doing it. And I was in my mid twenties. I just kinda like got up and went back in there and did it again. And he called me the next day and I was like, what's going on? You know? And so we kind of started this relationship over the next couple of months. He helped me with the album coming out later this year!
I had written lots of songs. It was the first time I wrote a song that this is going to be something, whether it's just me thinking, like I wrote a really good song or whatnot. But I got to go play it. So I finally went and signed up for like the songwriter showcase in Fort Collins, Colorado, where I was living. I didn't even put my name on the list. I'll never forget this night. I was calling a buddy who was a musician, like pacing outside. Like, I'm going to do this, I'm going to do this. Didn't put my name on the list. Wait until the very end when they were about to wrap up. I was like, Hey, I didn't get on the list. And I played and I played like a cover song. I played another song I'd written. And I played this song at the end. The response afterwards was magic. Just closing my eyes and pouring my heart into the song I wrote that was really, really close to my heart. I was one of the, first times I had like this overwhelming response of like, I don't think these people are like bullshitting me. People were coming in like, Hey, we really enjoyed this. You've got a great voice or like that song is that your song? And I'm like, y'all stayed around to hear that. I didn't even know how to like, react. So it was kind of the first taste of like ok, I got this.
It seems to me that you've kind of had to come over this imposter syndrome a little bit.
Oh yeah. Like imposter syndrome is like my brand basically.
Still like, I mean, it's been a really exciting couple months and like things have grown and things are happening a lot more. But, the imposter syndrome stuff and the questioning myself, I think most artists feel this, especially in early stages, but it's still completely there all the time.
But the biggest thing for me is the support of my band. I swear I have one of the best bands in Texas and I I'm stealing this from somebody what I'm about to say. But it's as if I like went to go rent a Honda at the dealership and I got to leave in like a BMW. That’s kinda how I feel with my band. Like every time we go play, I’m like is this for real!
I had this moment. I talked a lot about trying to get going with the music, Clearly a few years later things are really happening, but we were one of the most like impactful moments to me was , going to go play music was I was in the studio in January of 2020. And I had finally had the band, like my dream band. There was just like a moment in there seeing them like really, really be into it and care and like pumped me up like, like, Oh my gosh, this song is great. This writing's great. Or your vocal take was great and just very sincere you know, affirmation from these people that I look up to and admire as musicians, as well as my producer, Bo Bedford. Who's just incredible. It's really hard to sit there and see these people. Like you can tell they're actually believing in what you're doing. I have to be confident in myself because look at these people who are, these guys are great. They let it be the Dustin Massey show, and are really supportive!
Who are some of your other favorite collaborators or creatives in the red dirt scene?
I feel like I'm almost being at the death whenever I talk about it. But Jonathan Tyler in the Northern Lights. Jonathan Tyler, he came out of Dallas and he's done everything from rock and roll to focusing or songwriter stuff he's playing at Billy Bob's with Midland tonight. His stuff was very much like singer songwriter with some kind of little element of like pop vibes. And I don't mean pop as in like just being commercial sellout type of thing. Just like tons of Southern rock influence. So that was really influential.
The cool thing about it is, it’s not just Texas country anymore. It's not just red dirt. It's the Texas music scene and it's really growing all the way up, you know, Nashville, Colorado up to the Pacific Northwest or Chicago, you know?
I feel that your new single “Pretty Okay” has a doubling meaning, correct me if I am wrong.
No, you're you're right there. I've tried not to give too much away about the song before it came out I'm talking about it a little bit more now. There was kind of like when I wrote that song, I was living back in Colorado. I had friends there. I had a relationship when I was there and I was like struggling with like, am I going to move back to Texas? Do I want to be a songwriter and all these things. I went back to Colorado to play the Aggie theater, Fort Collins in fall 2019. And it was one of the biggest shows I got to play. And it was cool going back to where I lived for five years, a lot of people came out to support and we were opening for Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights.
So that was kind of a dream thing. I was reflecting on the way home about the feeling of certain people who came to that show, old friends and things. Thinking about there was, there was some life-changing things in sadness that was involved in leaving there. I was there for five years and kind of like realizing, ah, you know, you can be all right, but it doesn't mean you're like really just got over everything like real quick. But it was a moment of reflection when I was like in the van on the way back from Colorado and being like, I'm doing pretty okay. Like, I'm better than I was. From that perspective of like, Hey man, is your heart hurting? Or like, how's things feeling now at the same time, like we just played this bad-ass stage.
It was just crazy. All these crazy like production in lights. And it was a lot of people there and you feel like a rockstar for a minute and, and people like, Hey dude, you're really doing. And it's like, Hey, I guess we're doing pretty.
It is that double perspective of I tried to chalk it up to like trying to keep perspective during like the highs and the lows, the lows aren't as low as you think the highs aren't as high as you think everything comes back together and we're all just trying to like be “Pretty Okay”