As Dillon Carmichael took the Spotify stage at the 91st National FFA Expo, he had flashbacks of being there with his high school buddies. They felt forever young, and FFA kept his heart forever blue. Joining FFA instilled values of leadership and agriculture in Carmichael that continue to resonate in his music today. Read on to learn the inspiration of Carmichael’s new album and how his family showed him dreams do come true.
Q. What was it like growing up in Kentucky, and how did it influence your music?
A. I was surrounded by two things growing up: agriculture and music. I had family who were farmers and in agribusiness. The majority of my experience through agriculture was through FFA. For my family, there’s a lot of people who worked really hard and wanted to embed that for generations.
Q. Why did you decide to join FFA, and what did you enjoy most?
A. I was a freshman, so at first it was because my friends were doing it [FFA]. I learned leadership values and ended up becoming treasurer. I became obsessed with FFA and all the activities. I came to National FFA Convention every year, went to FFA camp and participated in the FFA talent shows. It became a big part of me and to this day I still use a lot of the values I learned in FFA.
Q. What does it mean to you to perform for FFA members today?
A. I remember when I was here [as a member], Toby Keith played the concert. It’s on my bucket list to play the big show at the National FFA Convention, but Spotify is the stop for music these days, and it’s a big deal. As soon as I walked in, I had flashbacks of me walking through here with my buddies at school when we were young.
Q. Your new album, “Hell on an Angel,” releases this Friday. Can you tell us about your musical style and what we can expect from the album?
A. It’s more of a traditional country sound with some southern rock. Eight of the 10 songs I wrote. It’s my dream album, so every song and every aspect of this album, I love.
Q. What goals do you have?
A. I want to play the big show at national convention, and I want to play the arena in my hometown. I want to find a home as far as charities go, to be a part of something special and raise money. Another goal is to have a number one on the radio and have a platinum record. I have pretty big goals!
Q. What advice would you give to FFA members who have big goals?
A. I have to go back to my family. I have two uncles who both put their mind to it and have been successful in music. When I was growing up I had people say music wasn’t a real job and yet [my uncles] both made it. My mom’s brothers are John Michael Montgomery and Eddie Montgomery from Montgomery Gentry. I saw firsthand [that] it’s possible. I haven’t even scratched the surface yet myself, but I’ve accomplished a lot that part of me thought I’d never accomplish. Anything is possible and dreams do come true.
Lauren Schwab is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She works full time on her family’s pig farm as the farrowing house manager. She is a freelance writer and blogger at farmgirlwithcurls.com.