This month, we’re shining a spotlight on women in music who are making their voice heard - on and off the stage. This week’s headliner? Give it up for Lainey Wilson! A lover of music since she was a young girl growing up in Louisiana, Lainey has blazed her own trail in Nashville ever since. In addition to being named MusicRow’s Next Big Thing in 2021, the country crooner has been setting the streaming world on fire with singles such as, “Things A Man Oughta Know” and “WWDD” - aka What Would Dolly Do. Hot off her 2021 release, Sayin’ What I’m Thinkin’, she sat down with us to discuss the importance of female representation in the songwriting field, promoting music during a global pandemic, and the exact moment she knew she wanted to become a singer. Read on and rock on!

We can’t stop putting your music on repeat! Who or what inspired you to make music? Did you grow up around music? When did you decide to make a career out of songwriting and singing?

I grew up around a family that loved music, specifically country music. My Mama loves to dance, my Granddeddy would take me to little bluegrass festivals when I was a kid, and my Deddy can play a little guitar too. When I was nine years old I was having a playdate with my friend and we both wrote songs while we were pretending to be superstars; she was Shania Twain and I was Britney Spears. That was when I wrote my first song “Lucky Me” and I’ve been writing ever since. 

That same year (at nine years old) I was on a family vacation passing through Nashville and I saw the “Batman building” from the interstate and I said out loud, "This is my home.” My Mama responded, “Lainey don’t say that, you’re my baby…” But I always knew I was going to make Music City my home at some point. It wasn’t until 10 years later that I bought a camper and finally made the move to Nashville to figure out how to take my love for writing and entertaining to the next level.

We all have one song or one album that will always have a special place in our hearts. What is that song or album for you? How has that artist inspired your work?

I remember I was sitting in the front of my classroom in 2000 when I first heard LeeAnn Womack’s “I Hope You Dance.” It was like the world stopped turning just for a second and I hung onto every word she sang. It made me feel like I could do anything I set my mind to. I will never forget how that song made me feel in that moment. It’s a hope and goal of mine for my music to have that kind of impact on the folks who listen.

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting female singer-songwriters who aren’t afraid to raise their voices. What’s a cause or issue with the music industry that you wish more people knew about? What’s a small action we can take to combat it?

I have found that a lot of male songwriters tend to change their writing style when they are writing with a female artist. At the end of the day, a good song idea is a good song idea, no matter if it’s sung by a boy or girl. We don’t always want to sing about lipstick and hair blowing in the wind. Sometimes we want to sing about whiskey and trucks too.

If the Grammy nominations are any indication, it seems like women in music dominated in 2020. Is there a recent female singer or songwriter who has been a source of inspiration for you?

My dear friend and co-writer, Ashley McBryde, continues to be an inspiration to me and so many female artists in music. I think she has helped pave the way by staying true to who she is and what she stands for. Sitting back and watching the good girls win is always a treat.

COVID-19 has upended many industries, however, the music industry might be one of the hardest hit. How have you managed to stay creative during this difficult time? How have you been sharing your music while touring and concerts have ceased?

I have had to dig a little deeper and pay attention to parts of my life I used to not spend as much time thinking about just to muster up a little inspiration. Before, I’d typically pull my inspiration from traveling, meeting new people, experiencing new things on the road...things like that. This time has given me an opportunity to really get in touch with what it is I have to share without all the noise. 

I released a few songs off my new album Sayin’ What I’m Thinkin’ back in 2020 and released the full record on February 19, 2021. Since touring hasn’t been an option, we’ve focused on staying connected with current fans and embracing new ones through socials and creating a lot of content to continue fueling the fire. The ground we’ve covered over the past year and the response to my album release has been incredible. I’m so grateful to be able to keep making progress in such an unprecedented time.

Anything else you want to add or share about what’s next for you?

Life is good. It feels like I’m right where I am supposed to be and I’m surrounded by people who want nothing but greatness for me personally and professionally. I’m planning to be back on the road playing shows in early summer and I can’t wait to play my new record to a live audience! Til then, I’m gonna keep sayin’ what I’m thinkin’ and taking advantage of every opportunity I have to get myself and my music out to new listeners.

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