How Lainey Wilson, an ’11-year overnight sensation,’ became country music’s brightest new star
“I feel like I’ve had this incredible journey,” Lainey Wilson told me over the phone last week. “I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know if I was funny, or what I was doing. I had no idea.”
In fact, Lainey began the year of “Lainey” as a shy girl with no clue about country music. She wrote a song in high school, and she wanted to record it, but she didn’t know how to contact an agent. She sang at the church where her mom was a choir director and didn’t get a callback for a gig. That was enough to get her into college, a place where she met her longtime boyfriend, who introduced her to country music and introduced her to his sister, who became a mentor and a confidant.
“I had no idea,” Lainey says. “I was scared the whole time. It was like, I have this song, but how do I know how I’m gonna do? I’m not very experienced.”
But she did have experience. She had grown up listening to country music. In high school, she attended the Country Dance Club in Hendersonville, Tennessee, and had been hooked since. After college, Lainey was determined to get her song out, and she decided she needed help.
“I called my mom and said, ‘I’m trying to get this song out, I’m trying to get an agent, I’m trying to get this country music thing going,’” she says. There was silence on the other end. “Mom, there’s trouble in my music. The song’s a hitmaker.”