This week we were lucky enough to catch up with the wonderful Lainey Wilson for a video Q and A! We talk her Opry debut, the Rolling Stones, Dolly Parton, a round of fun quick-fire questions and more!
About Lainey Wilson
Lainey Wilson’s music is by equal measures richly textured and forthright – much like her honeyed Louisiana drawl, which is as likely to offer you a warm word of encouragement as it is to call you on your B.S. Signed to BBR Music Group’s flagship imprint, Broken Bow Records, Wilson has spent years honing her song craft and developing her own “bell bottom country” sound, which is unapologetic, gritty, free-spirited, and exemplary of both her personality and her preferred fashion aesthetic.
Her songs and live performances are anchored in straightforward, raw emotion that doesn’t beat around the bush about who Lainey Wilson is – either as a person or an artist. NPR’s Jewly Hight calls Wilson “unabashedly down-home and unflappably worldly,” noting that “with a pronounced drawl and sweetened sting, [she sings] of willful recklessness, wielding the power of damaging secrets and feeling empowered by allowing herself outbursts of irreverence.” It’s these sensibilities that continue to draw listeners to Wilson’s music and led CMT to proclaim her one of their “Next Women of Country” for 2019. She’s a blue-collar daughter filled with ambition, humility, and perseverance; the value of an honest day’s work having been ingrained in her from the moment she could walk.
Hailing from the rural farming community of Baskin, Louisiana (pop. 300), where her family has tilled the land for five generations, Wilson cultivated her tenacious work ethic just as her family cultivated corn, wheat, soybeans, oats, and more. She learned that daily chores on the farm were a family affair, and every member had to do their part.
Music was also a family affair. Wilson’s father played guitar, her mother loved to dance, and her grandparents often took her to bluegrass festivals. She wrote her first song at age nine, and her dad taught her how to play guitar at age 11. Wilson’s love for writing and performing continued to grow as she booked herself gigs throughout high school, even working for a stint as a Hannah Montana impersonator performing at children’s birthday parties and events – with up-and-coming artist Lainey Wilson opening for Montana, of course.
It wasn’t long until Wilson moved to Nashville to pursue her dream of making music, with little more to her name than that dream and a Flagstaff bumper-pull camper trailer. She lived in that camper outside of a longtime family friend’s recording studio for three years. It was during this time that Wilson began to make inroads with Nashville’s tight-knit songwriting community, forging invaluable creative relationships with other up-and-coming songwriters in town and steadily developing her own voice as both a writer and an artist.
“My songs are a part of who I am. As my artistry has grown, it’s just kind of taught me not to be ashamed of who I am. To love everything about my life – even the harder parts – because all those things make me who I am,” she says. “We never want to go through the hard times, but I’m thankful for the ones I’ve had, because I’ve gotten the songs I have from those experiences. I’ve found that the more vulnerable I am and the more truthful I am, whether it is funny, or sad, or whatever — the more honestly people connect with me and my music.”
Wilson’s determined openness and salt-of-the-earth upbringing have prepared her well for the road ahead. She recently released her first project for Broken Bow Records, the Jay Joyce-produced EP Redneck Hollywood, and is currently on her first radio tour in support of the new music, which includes “LA,” a funky, up-tempo nod to her Louisiana roots, as well as “Dirty Looks,” a sultry, slow-burning number and Wilson’s first radio single.
“‘Redneck Hollywood’” is simply who I am, what I stand for, and what I’ve overcome,” Wilson explains. “Where I grew up, ‘redneck’ was a word outsiders would call us and a word we would proudly call ourselves. Hollywood has always been a place that seemed very far away in my mind. It was a place only movie stars went. But I had stars in my eyes from a very early age, and I knew someday I would have the opportunity to go places my little redneck heart never imagined.”
So far, those places already include the UK, where Wilson has performed on three different occasions including this year’s sold-out C2C Festival in London, and Germany, where Wilson opened for chart-topping country artist Eric Paslay on his 2019 Mr. Nice Guy Tour.
In the past year alone, she has also toured the US as part of Morgan Wallen’s If I Know Me Tour and shared stages with other major country acts such as Rodney Atkins, Tyler Farr, Randy Houser, Ashley McBryde, Justin Moore, and Josh Turner.
The year ahead may be full of early mornings, late nights, and many more firsts for the charismatic singer/songwriter, but Wilson remains undaunted – energized, even – by the long days ahead of her.
“I feel like I’ve been writing for this project my whole life, and I’m so happy I can finally share these songs that I’m so proud of,” she notes. “Whether you’re a farmer from northeastern Louisiana or an artist with a story and a song, we get up every single day and we work toward that harvest. And we do what it takes, because it’s in our blood, and we don’t know any other way.”