In March of 2019, Dylan Schneider came back to Nashville after a busy two years of pounding pavement, promoting his music at radio and traveling to play shows. He hadn’t put a studio project out for a while — his last EP, Spotlight’s on You, dropped in 2017 — and for the first time in a long time, he found himself settled in one spot for the foreseeable future. The rising singer settled in to work on new music, determined to immerse himself in the songwriting process.
At the time, Schneider says, he didn’t have much of a relationship with Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line. He’d met them a couple of years back to discuss a deal that never ultimately came to fruition with their publishing company, Tree Vibez Music. That spring, though, he hadn’t talked to the duo in a while, although he remained a massive fan who even named FGL as his dream tourmates in interviews.
The singer embarked into a deeply creative, prolific stretch of time that spring. “I was very, very active for like, three months straight, just getting stuff done,” Schneider recalls to Country Now. “I wrote a couple of songs with a few of the Tree Vibez writers, actually, and they got back to BK. I hadn’t talked to him, shoot, in a few years. I had gotten a new phone number.”
Even so, Kelley tracked him down. “He called me super excited, like, ‘Dude, your voice sounds amazing, and these songs are great.’ He wanted to know what was going on record deal-wise, and management, and publishing, stuff like that,” Schneider recalls. After that call, the bandmates of FGL kept in touch, assessing the different ways that they might throw their weight behind Schneider’s career.
Though they hadn’t announced it at the time, Hubbard and Kelley were hard at work on their brand-new label, Round Here Records. In mid-August, the duo unveiled the new project, announcing that Canaan Smith (who also has a publishing deal with TreeVibez) would be their flagship artist. About a week later, they made the announcement that Schneider had also joined their roster in partnership with Interscope Records. That same day, Schneider dropped the EP he’d been working so hard to perfect all spring, Whole Town Talk, the same body of work that reignited his relationship with FGL just months before.
That’s not all. Schneider also joined the duo’s Can’t Say I Ain’t Country Tour, beginning on August 23 in Cleveland, Ohio, with dates to continue throughout the summer of 2019. For Schneider the team-up represents a trifecta of major opportunities, and — particularly as an FGL fan — a wildest dream come true.
“Oh my gosh, it’s crazy. It feels like I’m in a movie,” the singer relates. “This past week, it’s been unbelievable. It’s all happening so fast, and everything’s going down so quick. I don’t even have time to sit back and process it.”
During their headlining set each night, FGL bring him back to the stage to perform the feature vocals in their song, “Y’all Boys,” originally recorded with another mentee of theirs — HARDY. The first time Hubbard and Kelley invited him out in front of the full, sold-out crowd, Schneider admits, was a blur.
“They called me up there, like, ‘We’re gonna bring our boy Dylan Schneider out, so y’all make some noise for him” — it was like I walked onstage and snapped my finger and I was walking off,” he remembers. “Biggest crowds I’ve ever been in front of. It’s always been a dream to stand onstage in an amphitheatre like that.”
Even aside from his dream of touring with FGL, Schneider says that he’s realizing a major goal by simply expanding his reach as a performer. Though songwriting is a major part of his musicality — it was important to him to have a hand in writing every song on Whole Town Talk — Schneider feels most in his element as a performer, and he thinks his newest project represents that. When asked which of its four songs he thinks would best introduce a new fan to the kind of musician he is, he pauses for a minute before naming the title track.
“I guess to kind of see who as I am as an artist, and understand the kind of music and the kind of lane that I feel myself going down, [new fans should listen to ‘Whole Town Talk,’” he says. “It’s something that’s fun, something that everybody can get rowdy to. I love to perform. I love to get onstage and see everybody partying and enjoying themselves. That’s what I model my music around.”