Dylan Schneider was doing everything right. At the end of 2019, the teen who had caught the attention of much of the country music industry had just wrapped a tour opening for superstar duo Florida Georgia Line, and had since found himself back in the writing rooms of Nashville, working on new music to take into the year 2020.
But then, his world started to unravel.
First, the pandemic hit. Mere days later, he was dropped from his label. And as Music City began shutting its doors in preparation for an extended yet totally unexpected break, Schneider, 21, decided to go back to the only place where he knew he truly belonged.
He went home.
"I had been so busy on the road, running around and doing tours and everything that it was actually nice to slow down," the country music young gun remembers about his return to his hometown of Terre Haute, Indiana. "I spent six or seven months writing songs, and towards the end of the summer last year, we decided to go in and record some of the songs that we were excited about."
Robby Klein Dylan Schneider
Now, Schneider finds himself with a new label, a new game plan and an endearing new song "Lost in a Small Town" — his first new music after a two-year hiatus.
"We actually had to write the song twice," admits Schneider, who started songwriting at 14 years old and ended up making his first trip to Nashville when he was 16 years old. "The first time we wrote it was at the end of 2019, but when we listened to it again, we just felt like we needed to re-write it. It was to different music and a totally different lyric, everything like that. There was just a lot riding on this one, since it was a re-introduction to my music after such a long time."
"I mean, if you were to listen to the two, you'd probably be like, 'Thank God this wasn't the one we ended up with,'" he states about the song he co-wrote alongside Gabe Foust, James McNair and producer Mark Holman. "It's not that bad, but it's like night and day to me. The second time around, it was perfect."
The lyrical undertones of the song certainly play within the lane of not only his young legion of fans, but also within the various situations that the 21-year-old has lived out in his own life thus far.
"I've obviously had a few breakups and I've been on the opposite side of that whole thing," he explains. "It sucks to see somebody that you had some special things with for so long be upset and I've heard, you know, it's just hard. But it wasn't like I was saying I've ever been in that situation at this point… thank God. Actually, after one of my last relationships, I do feel the song a little bit more."
Robby Klein Dylan Schneider
He refrains from going into much more detail. For now, his focus is on his career and the loved ones that he has surrounded himself with, some of whom recently joined him as he checked off another task on his relatively young to-do list.
"I got my first tattoo with all four of my siblings," explains Schneider, who shared a pic of his new ink in a July 17 Instagram post. "We had talked about getting it last March, and it was all scheduled and everything, but then COVID happened."
And how does Mom like it?
"Oh, she loves it," he says with a laugh. "She has a few tattoos herself, but all of her tattoos are about us. So the fact that we were all getting our first tattoo together made it really cool for her."
In fact, it was with one of his siblings that he shared "Lost in a Small Town" for the first time.
"My family are my biggest supporters," explains Schneider, who has also amassed over one million social media followers. "And it's a driving force for me to know that, even though I'm four and a half hours away from where I live now, it's never too far to go back home. Being able to go back last year and get away from it all for a minute and spend time with them was so special. And now, after having those moments, getting back into this makes me more excited, just knowing that they have my back."
Despite the ups and downs and all of the stops and starts, Schneider says that he currently finds himself in an incredibly sweet time right now, especially since he admits there were times when he wondered if he would find ever himself back in the country music spotlight.
"There are times when things don't exactly work out, but it's those times where I realized that maybe, I just needed to work harder," he says. "Figure some things out and move some things around and try something new. It was far too early to ever think it was over. Maybe it was just time to try a little harder."