How Dallas Remington Learned to Trust Her Gut: Family, Focus + the Rise of ‘Uncommon Man’
Dallas Remington isn't waiting around for anyone's permission to release music.
"I had all these songs that I loved," the singer tells Taste of Country, remembering a conversation she had in late 2021 with a music career advisor. He'd just finished breaking down a music roll-out strategy intended to optimize impact — including single and acoustic single releases on about an eight-week timeline — and Remington decided to do him one better.
"I was like, 'Let's just do one every month,'" she recalls. And she did: The singer put out a new song every month in 2022, and she even wound up releasing two in February, for a total of 13 new songs last year.
"It was like ... we could sit here and wait for a record deal. We could sit here and wait for somebody to cut them," she continues. "You can sit there and wait on 'em for years, or you can trust your gut and see what the world thinks."
It turns out, the world thought a lot. The Kentucky native's year of rapid-fire releases both sharpened her songwriting and expanded her grassroots fanbase. It built on a brand that placed Remington squarely in the lineage of stars like Miranda Lambert and Gretchen Wilson, thanks to the viral success as tough-as-nails, traditional bangers "Steal Your Dad" and "Princess." It also brought the singer closer to her inner compass, as fan reaction confirmed the gut decisions she made to release one song over another.
As an example, Remington points to a Zoom meeting she had with her creative team in early 2020. It was the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and they were determining which song to release as her next single.
"I think we were actually scheduled to release 'Princess' — which ended up being my biggest radio single for me, later — but I was like, 'It's not right right now,'" she says.
She sent out a batch of songs for consideration, and at the last second, included a ballad she'd written for her dad called "Uncommon Man." It was a favorite in Remington's family, but she thought it was a personal song just for them — not one she'd ever share with the world. Still, she tossed out a rough work tape of the track to her team.
"And then we got on the Zoom, and my vocal producer Kim said, 'Before anyone says anything, Dallas, what's the single?' And I said, 'Uncommon Man.' And every one of them said, 'Thank God, because the single's 'Uncommon Man.'"
The ballad is a tender tribute to Remington's father and all the hard-working, blue-collar family men like him, switching out the rock edge and humor of many of her other songs for vulnerable authenticity and a close-to-the-chest homage to her status as a fifth-generation farming family member and Kentuckian. Its lyrics are specific and personal — so personal, in fact, that Remington says she still had her doubts about dropping "Uncommon Man" the night before release day.
"I had the first panic attack I ever remember having. To me, it seemed like such a niche [subject.] Not many people talk about that anymore, but there are so many farm kids out there, and so many ways you can relate to 'Uncommon Man,'" she details. She texted her dad, and when he asked her why she was up so late, she admitted how nervous she was about the single release.
"He sent me a Bible verse, and it was like, 'Be still and know that I am with you.' I sat there and was like, 'God, let it find its audience. Let it do what it's supposed to do,'" Remington continues. "And it did. Every day. It still is. Now, I have to look at it like that with every single: This is gonna find its audience. It might take a while; it could be instant. But it's gonna end up where it needs to be."
"Uncommon Man" took off, becoming Remington's first Billboard single with a No. 43 spot on the Billboard Country Indicator chart and over 700K organic streams on Spotify. But the reaction she values most is the one she gets from her family members — specifically, from the family member who inspired the song.
"[When] all the playlists and stuff started adding it, he looked at me and [went], 'Told you so,'" she explains. "Dads know best. It was really sweet, though, to play it for him. He cried the first time he heard it, and my dad doesn't cry a lot."
To this day, Remington says, she consults her family about every song she releases. She seldom curses in her songs, and if she writes a song that doesn't align well with her family's values, she'll pitch it to another artist instead of cutting it herself. "I have a [career] team, but my family's my team, because when everything's said and done, they're gonna be with me 'til the day I die," she reasons.
"Like, I don't do a ton of drinking songs. There are people that wanna fight me on that," she continues. "But I don't really relate to them that much. Why should I release something I don't relate to?"
Remington has always prided herself on knowing who she is and sticking to it, but as she's released more and more new songs, the response she gets back continues to confirm her gut decisions.
"The moment I knew ['Uncommon Man'] was something really, really special is when I played it at our family Halloween party, and we had all of our community back home there. This farmer where I'm from — he was an older guy — he came up to me with tears in his eyes," Remington relates. "He said, 'I just pray my kids look at me the way that song is. That was my daddy. That was my granddaddy. That's my uncles. That's my son, how I see my son. And I hope they see me like that.'
"That changed everything for me, because again, I thought this was a song for my family," Remington adds after a pause. "I didn't think it would be for anyone else. And then it found its people."