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Dustin Lynch Celebrates Third No. 1 With ‘Mind Reader’

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Terry Wyatt, Getty Images

Dustin Lynch celebrated his third consecutive No. 1 single “Mind Reader” on Wednesday (Aug. 24) at South in Nashville. The event brought out a room full of friends, family, band members and industry.

At a press sit-down before the awards reception, Taste of Country spoke with Lynch and songwriters Rhett Akins and Ben Hayslip to learn the story behind the chart topper and what made Lynch decide to record “Mind Reader” for his second album, Where It’s At.

Longtime friends and Georgia natives, Hayslip and Akins wrote “Mind Reader” together and as Hayslip explains, the song idea came after Akins returned from a date.

“He comes in and he’s been out with a girl the night before,” Hayslip recalls. “I ask, ‘How’d it go?’ He’s like, ‘Man, I’m pretty into this girl. The scary thing is I thought she could read my mind.’ I’m like, ‘Man, the last thing you need is a girl to read your mind!'”

Meanwhile, Rhett chimes in and explains that he was thinking about where to take her to dinner and she suggested Kentucky Fried Chicken.

“I was like, ‘She’s reading my mind, buddy!’ It was like [let’s] write that,” Rhett adds. “We didn’t know what that was but somehow, the title of ‘Mind Reader’ got thrown out, and that’s where we took it.

Lynch tells Taste of Country that he loved the song the moment he heard it while on the road between Seattle and Portland.

“When a big song comes to you, you remember where you were,” he says, recalling his radio promo trip where he had the track on repeat. “We were doing some radio appearances and I get a text. I think from Rhett, or from Rusty [Gaston] that says, ‘Check your inbox, it should be a good one.’ I listened to it and it was really good. We were just starting to listen and decide what to cut for the Where It’s At album. About to go in with our first round and I loved the song, but at the time knowing what we had, it [didn’t] feel like the first single.”

Lynch decided to put the song on the back burner, and months later he was pitched the song one more time by the president of Broken Bow Records, Benny Brown, and knew he still loved it. “Mind Reader” resurfaced at the end of Lynch’s album recording session and eventually made the cut for the record.

A songwriter in his own right, Lynch says when it comes to selecting a song he didn’t write, his criteria is always “the best song wins.”

“I’m the last person to vote for one of my songs because I’m always scared that I’ll like it because I wrote it,” he tells ToC with a hearty laugh. “It takes a lot of buzz from my village for me to even think one of my songs is good just because I’m afraid that I wrote it, so I think it’s good. Outside songs are easier. It’s one of those first listen things for me. I’ve been around long enough. I’ve been guessing long enough to know if something’s unique and will stand out on the radio. That’s what it really comes down to.”

After Lynch spoke with the press, he and the songwriters and producer Mickey Jack Cones were honored by the industry. While Lynch garnered his third No. 1 hit, the song marked Rhett’s 24th No. 1 and Hayslip’s 19th. Additionally, the songwriting duo have amassed nearly 100 major label cuts together.

“This next album I’m so fired up about and we’re only halfway done with it. It’s going to be a big, big, moment,” Lynch said after thanking his label for allowing him to continue to stretch his wings.

A full-circle moment, Lynch recalled performing his first time in Nashville two doors down from South before thanking those in the room once again: “Thank you guys for making our dreams come true, cheers.”

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