Dustin Lynch Finds Some Much-Needed Freedom with His Beach Break-Up and Latest Album: 'A New Page'

"I'm trusting my intuition a whole lot more these days," Lynch tells PEOPLE of his new album, Blue in the Sky

Dustin Lynch
Dustin Lynch. Photo: Broken Bow Records

Dustin Lynch has had his head up in the clouds as of late.

And it's certainly not a bad thing.

Currently working towards his pilot license, the country hitmaker of chart-toppers such as "Ridin' Roads" and "Good Girl" has spent the last couple of years up in the air in a small plane, admiring the vast farms of this fine country from up above, basking in the silence that comes when there is nothing to listen to.

"It's quite peaceful up there," Lynch, 36, tells PEOPLE in a recent interview. "My new plane that I got has [Sirius] XM Satellite Radio, so once you get autopilot all locked in, you can throw the radio on and really chill."

Dustin Lynch
Dustin Lynch. The Dwyers

The ability to chill somewhat is something that Lynch certainly is deserving of at this point of his career, a career that has included its share of highs and lows and all sorts of in-betweens. But as far as the Tennessee native is concerned, this is a time of his life when he simply listens to his gut, not only professionally but personally. Take, for example, his breakup with live-in girlfriend Kelli Seymour last year.

"I don't regret that relationship and those years of my life with her," he says. "I found out a lot about myself and what makes me tick creatively. But I also found out what I want out of life and really what inspires me to wake up and be excited. And so, it was a good thing."

But dang, it still hurt.

"I mean, it was not fun," he declares. "Whenever you rip the Band-Aid off, it hurts for a while. But, for me, it was a sense of relief just knowing that it was a new page. And now, I know really what I want out of life and what this journey's all about. And a lot of that is the unknown. I'm inspired by the unknowns."

Exploring these unknowns played a part in the creation of Lynch's fifth studio album Blue in the Sky, a 12-track collection that showcases the sheer versatility of Lynch as an artist, and what he continues to bring to the country music table.

"I'm trusting my intuition a whole lot more these days," the Grand Ole Opry member explains of the creation of the new album, which includes collaborations with artists such as Riley Green and Chris Lane. "That has allowed me to really enjoy the creative process a lot more. When I think about the younger artists out there, there's very few that can really put their foot down early on, at least in this town. There's a lot of outside opinions and execs that love to have their fingerprints on things. And that's fine, but I'm at a point now where I think I've learned to trust not only my team, but myself."

Certainly, Blue in the Sky has already been bolstered by the success of Lynch's recent six-week No. 1 "Thinking 'Bout You," his duet with fellow country music hotshot MacKenzie Porter that he co-wrote alongside Andy Albert, Hunter Phelps and Will Weatherly.

"I always knew that song was special," says Lynch, who recently announced plans for his 17-city Party Mode Tour, kicking off March 17 in Texas. "That's why I fought so hard for it. We went through so many ups and downs with that thing. (The song was originally released on Lynch's 2020 album Tullahoma as a duet with Lauren Alaina.) Something just kept telling me deep inside that 'Thinking 'Bout You' was the song. In hindsight, I'm glad that I trusted my gut because it has definitely paid off."

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Lynch's new album concludes with "Not Every Cowboy," a powerful yet gentle song that harkens back to the days of 2012's "Cowboys and Angels" that offers up a fresh yet familiar-sounding Lynch.

"The emotion is what I was really attracted to," he says of the song written by Casey Brown, Parker Welling, Conner Smith and Heather Morgan. "It allows me to show off a little bit of that side of myself. Most of my time is spent thinking about how a song is going to play at a big festival and such. When I go into a writing room, I'm very rarely going, 'Hey, let's write an emotional heartfelt ballad. That's a rare day for me. It happens, but not often."

Nevertheless, Lynch is leading with his heart these days, leaving him to use the little time he currently has on his hands with the friends that have never left his side through it all.

"One of the perfect scenarios for me if I have a few days off is to go hang out with my buds and get outside of town a long ways, where you're just surrounded by falling stars and clear skies," says Lynch of the scenario that plays out on the song "Stars Like Confetti," which was written by Josh Thompson, Thomas Rhett and Zach Crowell. "It is just a song that really reminds me of those special nights. I now have a song that I can at least sing every night and be in that place."

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