Dustin Lynch Met His Current Tour Opener, Sean Stemaly, During a Night Out in Nashville
When it comes time to pick an opening act for a tour, most country stars find a rising act to join their bill by getting advice from their labels or listening to a selection of songs from a variety of different up-and-comers. But Dustin Lynch isn't most country stars: He met Sean Stemaly, the singer opening up his shows on the 2022 Party Mode Tour, while bar-hopping with friends in downtown Nashville.
"Me and the boys were out having some beers down on Lower Broadway, bouncing around, and Sean came up to me," the singer tells Taste of Country.
"I think he asked for a picture and said, 'Man, you're one of the reasons I moved to Nashville. Can I hang out with y'all tonight?'" Lynch goes on to recount. "I was like, 'Absolutely. I'm flattered.' So we hung out that night, which is crazy, to think that that's how we met."
At the time, Stemaly was meeting Lynch simply as a fan, though he was already mounting a country career of his own behind the scenes. Not long after, he started releasing his own music, and in February of 2022, he dropped his major-label debut, Product of a Small Town, via Big Loud Records.
"He's come on to be a great songwriter and put out some great music. And even before I knew Sean, he was watching what I was doing," Lynch details.
It's not the first time Lynch has gotten connected with an up-and-coming collaborator through unconventional methods. When he decided to release "Thinking 'Bout You" as a radio single, he went searching for a female artist to record the song as a duet with him. He wanted to make sure that the artist's name or record label wouldn't color his decision, so he held blind auditions. He and his team voted on their favorites, and quickly settled on MacKenzie Porter, a rising Canadian artist who had already begun picking up steam in the industry opening for Blake Shelton and Kenny Chesney.
His creativity paid off: "Thinking 'Bout You" not only topped the country charts, but it's also become the longest-running No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart of Lynch's career, with a six-week stay at the top spot.
Now, out on the road with Stemaly, Lynch is just trying to be a good tour boss.
"I keep in mind, really, what I've learned from the guys that had me out on tour. Like, what did I appreciate?" the singer shares. "The small things they did for me: Making sure that we were comfortable and felt like rock stars. I try to keep that at the top of my mind and take care of him."
Lynch's 2022 Party Mode tour continues through mid-May.