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Dasha performs her hit ‘Austin’ at the CMT Music Awards — her first time visiting the Texas city

The California-native created a line dance that has quickly become a popular trend on TikTok.
/ Source: TODAY

“Did your boots stop working? Did your truck break down?”

Dasha Novotny, who simply goes by Dasha, says as soon as she sang those lyrics for the first time, she knew she had a hit on her hands.

After she improvised the chorus, the studio went quiet, and that recording session, when she created “Austin,” is when she realized the song would put her “on the map.”

Dasha released "Austin" in November 2023. She then dropped her second album, "What Happens Now?" in February, and now, she performed her viral hit at the CMT Music Awards on Sunday, April 7.

For the second year in a row, the CMT Awards were hosted in Austin, Texas, which brought a shocking revelation.

“This is my first time ever coming to Austin,” she tells

Despite never before visiting the city featured in her viral song, which has garnered over 3 billion views on TikTok and 75 million streams on Spotify, Dasha says the emotions and storyline are “so real.”

“But I made up the place just because it didn’t really matter,” she says. “I was fabricating a very fun story about what was happening.”

“What Happens Now?” marks Dasha's country debut and contains eight tracks written by Dasha herself, including one that she says she considers the sequel to “Austin”: “King of California.”

Dasha adds that, though difficult to choose, her other favorite tracks from the work include titular song "What Happens Now?," which she calls a "stadium banger banjo anthem," as well as "42." She says the latter song is the "most vulnerable" she's ever been with fans.

Here's everything to know about rising country star Dasha.

She grew up making music with her family in San Luis Obispo, California

Dasha says her love of performing started in her hometown of San Luis Obispo, California.

"I found my love of performing and entertaining people at a very young age," she says. "I was 5 when I started doing musical theater productions, and then I was dancing — ballet and hip hop and stuff growing up."

The singer-songwriter says she won national poetry competitions in school, which helped after she decided to pick up guitar and piano and start writing songs.

Music is in her blood, though. Dasha says her dad was her first manager and started booking gigs in coffee shops and wineries to start. Then, she began working with her older brother, who is a music producer.

“I released my first song when I was 13 and it was my birthday present for my dad,” she says. “He gave me a small budget and goes ‘OK, go record your song.’ Then we record a little music video and that is when I say that I caught the bug for being an artist.”

How ‘Austin’ came to be

In a recording session in Los Angeles, Dasha says her team was working on a “completely different song” when she finally said: “It’s not me.”

“I wanted to write my scorned woman song like my ‘Before He Cheats,’ my ‘Mama’s Broken Heart’ by Miranda Lambert, you know that type of vibe,” she says.

After a break mid-session, Dasha says she began freestyling the now-viral chorus and the room went “silent.”

“Everyone’s like, ‘Wait, what did you just say?’ And it was the coolest thing ever. I mean, we wrote the song in less than an hour,” she says.

“I just always knew in my gut that it was gonna be the song that put me on the map,” she adds.

Choreographing the viral ‘Austin’ line dance

Along with the popular country song, a corresponding line dance has now become a TikTok trend — and the moves were choreographed by Dasha and her manager.

“We had the idea of making a line dance because I thought it would be so incredible to have people at my shows bringing back the culture of line dancing and the fun of it, and everyone knowing the steps and dancing together,” Dasha says. “It’s such a community building thing.”

Dasha, who did ballet for 15 years, says she goes line dancing on a weekly basis, so she pieced the dance together from various moves she's picked up.

“I wanted to make it simple enough so anybody could do it, but I wanted to make it kind of fun, a little sexy and I think we killed it,” Dasha says.

Accompanied by influencer Zoey Aune, Dasha filmed the dance and posted it online, where she's received over 50 million views.

"(Zoey and I) went to American Legion, where I go line dancing every Tuesday, and we had a couple of drinks and we’re having a good time and are like, 'OK let's do this line dance' And we shot the video and then it just went crazy viral."

In February, she posted another video of herself doing the dance at a barn she says she works at in Franklin, Tennessee, writing, "me cuz my album dropped last night and my entire fyp is people doing my line dance," with the crying and orange heart emoji.

What's next for Dasha?

In addition to promoting her newly released songs and performing at one of the biggest nights in country music, Dasha says a deluxe version of her album is coming soon.

“I don’t have a date yet, but it is happening. The writing is happening,” she says. “Oh, I’m so, so excited to share all these amazing songs with the audiences that love ‘What Happens Now?’”

“It’s going to be awesome,” she adds.