Exclusive: Dasha talks first Top 10 single Austin and a UK country renaissance

From signing a new major label deal to sifting through A-list artists to collaborate with on a new remix, Dasha is having the time of her life right now.
dasha interview

Did your boots stop working? Did your truck break down? Dasha's Austin is a country banger that has taken the UK by storm. Coming out of seemingly nowhere, it's now into its third consecutive week inside the Official Top 10, where it plans to stay for a fourth, if everything goes well.

For the artist born Anna Dasha Novotny, it's been an extraordinary rise. But that, of course, doesn't mean that this success has happened overnight.

"I've been releasing music since I was 13," Dasha tells us one morning in her hotel room during a whistle-stop tour to London. "I've worked my ass off for this, but of course to everyone else it looks like this all happened really quickly, overnight."

Originally released by Dasha independently, Austin's success has seen her ink a deal with Warner Records and hit the promo trail, both in her native US and the UK, where the song has - alongside the likes of Beyoncé's COWBOY CARTER record - blazed a trail for country music in a market that has, typically, not embraced the genre. 

"That month and a half before we signed with Warners was, genuinely, insane," Dasha remembers. "I think it just shows that with the right idea and intention behind it, anything could happen. When I first saw Austin rising in the UK, I saw my name by Beyoncé, Zach Bryan and Kacey Musgraves..."

Fittingly, we have to pause the chat at one point because we see something sticking out behind Dasha's shoulder - a vinyl copy of Kacey Musgraves' magnum opus Golden Hour, one of the most influential country albums of the last 20 years. 

"We were listening to that all day yesterday," Dasha says, of Golden Hour's success and influence on her, leading up to this moment and her first UK Top 10 single. "This is very valid. Kacey is the queen."

Is this your first time in London?

No, this is actually my third time. I was here like two years on vacation with my girlfriends and before that, I came here for the first time with my dad and brother. We went crop circle hunting. It was fun!

Austin has just spent its third week in the Top 10, a lot of people want it to go all the way...

Well, I can say that we all personally agree on that. We're all on the same team here! 

This is your first Top 10 single in the UK - how are you feeling?

Honestly? Last night my manager told me that, besides Beyoncé, I'm the highest-charting country act in the world right now. I'm just trying wrap my head around it. Like, globally, people who like country music probably know who I am and know my song? That's insane! It feels so good [being in London] now, everyone I've met here has been awesome. 

To genuinely see how excited people are for this new era in music...I think we're entering a new era for country music, and it brings a touch of authenticity that's been missing from pop music for a while. It's so exciting to be a part of that.

Country music is having a massive moment now in the UK, a place where it's been overlooked commercially before. How does it feel to be a part of this shift, alongside acts like Beyoncé, Luke Combs, Kacey Musgraves...

I mean, you've just put my name alongside some of my favourite acts of all time. It feels good to be bringing this new wave of music around the world, honestly. It's like a dream come true to me.

Do you almost feel like an ambassador for country music now? 

I know what you're saying, but to me it's always been such a part of my music and my artistry. At this point, it's not even a separate thing for me. It's one and the same; I literally spend all day thinking about music and songwriting, that's how my brain works.  

dasha austin interview official charts

Could you take us back to the beginning of writing Austin? It's certainly not a love story - more like a f*ck you story

That's exactly what it is. It's a "wow, you've been treating me like shit, see you later!" song. When I wrote Austin, I was obviously very upset. It just felt really good to write a banger about someone who hurt me that much. After I finished it, everyone I played it to was like "girl, this is a hit!" To know I've tuned my pain into something so fruitful that it's changed my life forever...I feel like such a badass.

We have to ask...is he still in Austin?

No, he's in Nashville now.

He can stay there!

Stay there, honey!

As your career kicks into the next level, who are the ideal collaborators on your hit list?

Well...I happen to be in a very unique position right now, I can kind of work with whoever I want. I want to an Austin remix and I'm thinking...do we want a male vocalist, to give us the guy's perspective? Or do we want another country girl, to bring the ex's perspective into it? All I can say is...we've reached out to some people! But some of my favourites would be Post Malone, Kelsea Ballerini, Kacey...

We look forward to hearing the Dolly Parton remix of Austin soon?

Right? Dolly, call me!

Austin by Dasha is out now via Version III/Warner.

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