Dusty Leigh Huston has had quite the impressive rise in the last two years of her music career. The now-Nashville based singer/songwriter, with an EP and a handful of singles over that span to her name, recently earned five nominations at this year’s International Singer Songwriters Association Awards, taking home Female Vocalist of the Year.
We caught up with Huston to talk about the win, the emotions she felt when she heard her name called, her big plans for the future and more!
Pro Country: When did you find out about your nomination for the ISSA Female Vocalist of the Year?
Dusty Leigh Huston: Nominations were announced in April, and I was completely humbled to learn that I was nominated in five categories!
PC: When you hear your name called as the winner, what emotions went through you?
DLH: ALL of them! Shock at first, I kept saying “Did they say MY name?”“MY NAME?!” and then I had the immediate urge to throw up! I was proud of myself for keeping it together (mostly) while giving a speech. Something that terrifies me. I get so emotional during things like that because I so incredibly grateful and never want to forget anyone. Plus, I always think of my dad, and the entire time I’m up there all I can think is, “WE DID IT, DAD! WE REALLY DID IT!” It was certainly a bucket of emotions, but real ones came the next morning. Reading everyone’s texts, social media comments, man, I felt like a rockstar. I was pretty emotional and got chocked up for a few days. SUCH an honor.
PC: There’s obviously a lot of talent that was sifted through by the judges. What kind of validation do you feel that not only did you make it through the initial stage, but eventually won the award?
DLH: To even be nominated amongst such talent was such a proud moment for me. You don’t chase this dream looking for validation; at least I don’t. I chase it because it’s what I love and who I am. I create music and perform in hopes that people can connect with me and my story.
PC: Who have been some of the most important people who have helped you along the way to winning your ISSA Award?
DLH: I always say my tribe is mall, but fierce. Without my husband, none of this would be possible. He is the driving force behind everything I do. He is relentless at moving mountains to help me achieve everything I set out to do. And also my band guys. What a JACKPOT I hit when I moved to Tennessee and found these guys. Their level of professional ability is unmeasurable, but not only that, they have become family. Being on stage with them is such a damn dream! We seriously have the best time, and every show we leave that stage knowing we burned it down and left nothing on the table.
PC: You recently moved from Idaho to Tennessee within the last year. How can you describe the journey from moving to Music City to winning an ISSA Award in just a year?
DLH: It’s been a wild ride for sure! I knew I had to leave Idaho in order to accomplish everything else I wanted to do. It was sad, but I was SO excited to finally be able to chase my dream without hesitation. I’d like to say everything fell into place smoothly, but we all know that’s never the case, and I wouldn’t be who I am if my life ran smoothly! [laughs]. I will say this, I know what I want; I know what I’m willing to tolerate and what I’m not and I have finally gotten to a place where I no longer apologize for making decisions that benefit me and my dreams. I can say without a doubt that moving to Tennessee was the best decision I ever made. And winning Female Vocalist of the Year was that proof.
PC: 2021 and 2022 have been massive years for you professionally. How do you look back on them and the successes you’ve earned?
DLH: I often say I should create a slide show of my life, so that when I’m old I can watch it back and remember the amazing things I’ve done, places I’ve lived and the things I’ve accomplished. I will always be so humbled that I have reached this point. And every milestone thereafter is just gravy! I don’t know how to slow down and just “be,” so I don’t see that happening anytime soon, but every day that I wake up and get to sing and perform on stages I’ve dreamed about being on is just more reason to continue grinding. I LOVE THIS LIFE! The accomplishments, the failures; all of it makes every day worth it. And the best part is doing it with people that know my story, support my journey and love me unconditionally.
PC: What are your plans for the rest of 2022 and beyond?
DLH: I have some amazing shows left this year and will be headed back home to Idaho for four shows in September, and I can hardly wait! 2023 is shaping up to be nothing short of amazing as well. Lots of great tour dates added and finally dropping my next album too!