Thu. Apr 18th, 2024

‘Austin’ Hitmaker Dasha Signs to Warner Records

By Michael Mar 25, 2024

Dasha, the singer-songwriter behind the viral hit “Austin,” has signed a label deal with Warner Records.

“We met with every label, and all of the labels were incredible,” Dasha tells Billboard of selecting Warner Records. “It was a difficult decision, but Warner just felt like they had the most heart. Everyone on that team are genuinely fans of the music. It just came down to a gut feeling. They were so passionate about my songwriting, which is my priority. First and foremost, I’m a songwriter and they champion my storytelling.”

“Dasha is a star,” says Warner Records co-chairman/CEO Aaron Bay-Schuck via email. “She’s a force of nature when she walks in the room, she has real passion, significant talent, clear vision, and really strong music that extends far beyond ‘Austin.’”

In November 2023, as an independent artist, Dasha released “Austin,” a mesh of vengeful lyrics and immense dance grooves, in which she declares that while she hightails it to Los Angeles, her ex-lover will “still be here, drunk, washed up in Austin.”

“Austin” spiked on TikTok earlier this year before surging up the Spotify Viral 50 chart. The song now resides at No. 74 on the Billboard Hot 100 and at No. 17 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, while Dasha is at No. 11 on Billboard’s Emerging Artists chart. The song comes from Dasha’s eight-song project What Happens Now?, which came out Feb. 16. “Austin” is also the soundtrack to a corresponding line dance launched by Dasha via a TikTok video last month. To date, “Austin” has earned nearly 450,000 unique video creations on the platform.

The song is resonating on other outlets as well. “It’s been surreal because the song hasn’t slowed down. Yesterday, we did 2.2 million streams on Spotify alone,” says Dasha, who is managed by Alex Lunt of Type A Management.

DASHA

Dasha was raised in San Luis Obispo, California, and is now based in Nashville. She wrote her first song at age 13, inspired by her love of country, pop, rock, and Americana, with influences including Kacey Musgraves, SZA, Tyler Childers and Noah Kahan. Dasha enrolled at Nashville’s Belmont University, but after the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, she returned to California. After releasing the 17-track R&B/pop-oriented album Dirty Blonde in 2023, she reconnected with her love of country music.

She wrote “Austin” in early 2023, with co-writers Adam Wendler, Cheyenne Rose Arnspiger and Kenneth Heidelman.

“Once we kind of got the idea and the chords going, the song flew out in less than an hour,” Dasha recalls. “It just felt natural and everyone I showed that song to after that session was just like, ‘This is going to be a really big song.’ I never doubted it once and no one else did and we were right.”

Warner Records plans to initially take “Austin” to country radio, working in tandem with the promotion team at Warner Music Nashville. This same strategy recently yielded a No. 1 Country Airplay hit for Warner Records artist Warren Zeiders with “Pretty Little Poison.”

“We’ll take this to country radio first, but then we will also take it to pop radio because it is a global song and it deserves that,” Dasha says. “So, I think we are going to work both angles.”

“It’s a two-pronged approach,” Bay-Schuck says. “Obviously, it is everyone’s goal to make ‘Austin’ one of the biggest songs in the world, but never at the sacrifice of telling the artist’s story and solidifying the artist’s proposition. The building of a proper foundation is critical to the mission of never letting a song become bigger than the artist. Our artist development approach will work towards Dasha being accepted and respected by both country audiences and pop audiences, alike.”

It’s not only fans who have taken notice of Dasha’s chart-busting success with “Austin.” She notes that several artists — in the country genre and beyond — have reached out and shown support, but also interest in collaborating.

Dasha says a duet version of “Austin” could potentially be on the horizon. “We’re just trying to figure out what the right collaboration is,” Dasha says. “We’re in no rush, because this song is really just starting, so I think we will wait and see what opportunities come up. I want it to be organic and not a planned business thing — I want to expand the life of the song and give it a new twist.”

Dasha made her television debut of “Austin” on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on March 21. Looking ahead, Dasha will make her debut at California’s Stagecoach Music Festival, with performances at Hangout Music Festival, CMA Fest, Lollapalooza and Country Calling Festival set for later this year.

Though she is now signed with a major label, Dasha praises the independent collective that has helped propel the song thus far, including Type A Management and King Publicity.

“Everything you see now is because of the independent, small team of people we put together who believe in me and the song. As a country artist, to be on the cover of the [Spotify] Pop Rising and all this crazy stuff, has been mind-blowing and bigger than I ever could have imagined. I’m so, so grateful.”

By Michael

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