Ronnie Dunn doesn’t mind admitting he was “scared to death” to start a solo career.
The Texas native does, of course, have a track record of more than 30 million albums sold and 20 No. hits. But all that was during his 20 years as a duo with Kix Brooks — the most successful musical duo, in fact, of all time. Now he’s out on his own with his self-titled solo album, feeling like he’s starting over.
“I think fear and insecurity are great motivators,” says Dunn, 58. “I worked overtime — not that I have to — to stay neurotic. I never take anything for granted. I look at my age. I look at the length of time that we were in the marketplace with Brooks & Dunn, and I don’t know how people are going to accept me and I don’t assume in any way they’re gonna come running to this project.”
The audience has been there, however. “Ronnie Dunn” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard country charts and at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 when it was released in June. “Bleed Red” was a Top 10 country single, and “Cost of Livin’” is making its way up the charts.
And perhaps more importantly, Dunn says he’s having “the most fun I’ve ever had” and feeling more free in his musicmaking than he has in quite some time.
“Any time you do a group or you’re involved with a duo, there’s a certain degree of compromise involved,” he explains. “This time I didn’t have to work through the committee and the natural process of working with a group or someone else — including another producer. That was fun.”
He quickly adds, “At the same time I know there’s a potential downside — I’m exposed to take the hit for anything that goes awry.”
“There’s nobody to share the blame. But I’m good with that. I’m a big boy.”
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