Watch now: How "Dark Horse" Devin Dawson went from metal maniac to country star

ABC/Image Group LAThanks to his first big hit, "All On Me," the lead single from his debut album Dark Horse, Devin Dawson is one 2018's country stars to watch.  It's hard to believe the Orangevale, CA native once thought he'd make his living playing heavy metal music.

Though Devin grew up listening to country music, he cut his musical teeth playing in a metal band.  But he says switching genres wasn't as difficult as you might think.

"[F]or me, it was more of like a renaissance...going back to what I started with," Devin explains to ABC Radio. "I wrote my own songs in my room, by myself, for myself, and I was kinda trying to emulate these country songs that I had grown up listening to."

Devin laughs, "I remember sitting in the front of the van being like, 'I'm never gonna stop playing metal! I'm gonna rock out for the rest of my life!' And I grew out of it pretty quick, man."

According to Devin, writing those songs in his bedroom was "fulfilling" than metal. "Those songs eventually took over more of my heart," he says.

But his time as a heavy metal rocker definitely left its mark on Devin's album, Dark Horse -- and he's proud of that.

"I will never stray away from...the way that it's shaped me, being in a metal band," he tells ABC Radio. "Whether it's my live show, or whether it's songs...on my record that kind of tip the hat a little bit to the angst, and the rock influence in my sonic identity.  "I will never hide from it...It's something that shaped me for the better."

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