Dusty Black Was Moving People into Their Dream Homes — Until His Own Dreams Moved Him to Become a Country Artist

"How in the world can I look at my daughters and tell them that all of their dreams — no matter how crazy they might be — are within reach if I'm not following my biggest dreams?" asks the singer-songwriter

Singer/songwriter Dusty Black likes to consider himself a pretty tough guy. But even he admits he can't get through his new song "Somebody's Mama" without shedding some tears.

"It's hard to perform that sucker on stage," the father of two little girls admits during a recent interview with PEOPLE of the song that was first introduced to him by country artist Colt Ford. "Every time I play it, I have to warn the crowd that I might get 'choked up a little bit up here.'"

Black laughs, but he isn't kidding. Premiering exclusively on PEOPLE, "Somebody's Mama" featuring Gary LeVox serves up a heartfelt cup of sentimentality, telling the story from a father's point of view of watching daughters turn into grown women who turn into the loves of someone else's life. And it's a song that hit Black smack dab in the heart since the moment he first heard it.

"It's always been one of those that just made the hair on my arms stand up," says Black, 38, of the song written by Monty Criswell, Derek George and Houston Phillips. "I dang near cry almost every time I hear it."

It's not only a tearjerker of a song, but it's a tearjerker of a story that got Black to this precious moment. It's a story of undeniable talent and strange coincidences, a story that further establishes that one step in a different direction can change the trajectory of one's entire life, a story that proves that a moving guy can turn into a country music star.

dusty black
Dusty Black. Chase Lauer

This particular story started in Memphis, as Black grew up in a musical family, with his grandfather Floyd Black "Junior," playing banjo for the legendary Johnny Cash on the Louisiana Hayride. Black's father Allen Black also inherited a steadfast love of music.

"My dad had to give up his love of music to focus on making money and providing for his family rather than following his passion," Black says quietly. "Music was my grandfather's dream and my dad's dream… but it was also my dream."

But dreams have a way of fading as life moves on and reality sets in, and Black soon found himself making the decision to not follow any sort of musical footsteps. Instead, he decided to begin working for the family's rapidly growing moving company — and in 2012, Black would go on to open one of his own. Now, as founder and CEO of Black Tie Moving Company, he has worked to make it the fastest-growing moving company in history.

But then, in 2019, his father died.

"I just realized how short life is and how precious it is and how important it is to follow your dreams and your passions as much as it is to follow money," says Black, who first moved from Memphis to Nashville at the age of 31 years old and began pursuing music at the age of 36. "Success and money became far less important to me after he passed, because you realize you can't take it with you and that at the end of the day, it's not really what defines you."

Black then grows quiet.

"A lot of my best friends are some of the biggest artists and songwriters in town," says Black, whose first single "Right Church, Wrong Pew" came out on the first anniversary of his father's death. "I've sat side stage and watched them follow my dream for a long time."

dusty black
Gary LeVox, Dusty Black and Shay Mooney. courtesy

One of those artists is Rascal Flatts' Gary LeVox, whom Black first met when his moving company was hired to move LeVox's family from one home to another just about six years ago. But as the two became fast friends at the time, Black was reluctant to share his dream of becoming a country artist himself.

But once he did, LeVox was blown away.

"He was just like, 'Man, I can't believe you've been holding out on me for all this time,'" remembers Black, who is now business partners with LeVox within the Ohio-based portion of the Black Tie Moving Company. "And when I heard 'Somebody's Mama,' Gary was the first person that I sent it to. And I said, 'Man, you've got to do this with me.' He too is a girl dad. We both have two daughters and that was one of the first things we connected on. I knew he could bring this song to life in a way that nobody else in this world can."

And now, this song has found its way into the world, and into people's hearts. But for Black, this song means so much more than he ever could have envisioned before.

"How in the world can I look at my daughters and tell them that all of their dreams — no matter how crazy they might be — are within reach and they can do anything they want to if I'm not following those same words and following my biggest dreams?" says Black, whose new EP Who Are You is set for release Friday. "It's never too late to chase those childhood dreams."

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