It was a cold and rainy Tuesday in Nashville when breakout country star Lainey Wilson experienced yet another career milestone: her very first No.1 party.
Months after her Platinum-certified hit, “Things A Man Oughta Know,” reached the top of the charts, it was finally time to celebrate and she was more than ready. But, before the Louisiana native could enjoy the party, Wilson went to work.
She was scheduled to go to the studio to record liners for iHeartRadio and later do an hour of press before her co-writers, friends, family and fellow members of the country music community gathered at Melrose Billiard Parlor to toast the success of the song.
Country Now tagged along with Wilson for the day to get an inside look at her first No.1 party, which was an emotion-filled celebration of the song that truly changed her life.
Wilson arrived at a Music Row-area studio to record her liners and spent nearly an hour rattling off promotional scripts and singing jingles for various iHeartRadio stations around the country. While at the studio, she ran into fellow ACM New Female Artist of the Year nominees, Tenille Arts and Caitlyn Smith, who were also on-site to record liners. They grabbed a quick photo and talked about their ACM Awards red carpet looks before heading their separate ways.
Before speaking with the media, Wilson got a makeup touch-up — in the bathroom.
“Everybody thinks it’s all glamourous. We in here with the shitters,” Wilson laughed as her team lit their cell phone flashlights to brighten up the dimly-lit restroom.
Wilson then met up with a photographer for The Tennessean who snapped several portraits of her inside The Rambler Cocktail Bar.
Next up was a media round-robin with her co-writers, Jason Nix and Jonathan Singleton. Members of the press fired off questions for the songwriting trio as they re-lived the day they wrote “Things A Man Oughta Know.”
“We got to talking about my childhood and I write with these guys so much, they know a lot about my life,” Wilson recalled. “…When we sat down to write the first verse, we really just were kind of listing off things that my parents had taught me. But the bigger picture was the things and certain characteristics that my family, and their families too, taught us to look for in ourselves but also in relationships, or friendships or whatever it was.”
Thinking about the meaning behind the song, Wilson passionately stated, “At the end of the day, the song is not about whether you can change a flat tire or start a fire. The song is about having good character, it’s about treating people right, and I think that’s something that all three of us stand for and believe in.”
From the moment Wilson walked into the Melrose Billiard Parlor, you could feel the love in the room. Hugs were exchanged left and right as she made her way through the crowd, greeting family, friends, her record label and management teams, publishers and more.
After industry executives and her co-writers spoke, Wilson emotionally addressed the crowd.
“Country music is my life. It has been my life. I’ve always just wanted to tell stories,” she began.
Wilson went on to recount the 10+ years she’s spent in Nashville and thanked her parents for supporting her through it all. She also remembered the tough moments that she encountered while living in a camper trailer before getting her big break.
“This has been my dream from the beginning, and my parents have supported me any way they possibly can. They helped me buy a camper trailer back in 2011. We brought it to Nashville, anchored it down to the ground. I knew absolutely nobody, but I knew that this is what I was going to do. And I had been bound and determined to do this thing,” she said. “And there’s been no plan B for me at all. I kind of feel like if you have a plan B, then plan A is not gonna work, but I will tell you, I moved to this town not knowing anybody, not knowing where to go. I knocked on doors down on Music Row. Some people would slam the door in my face, but it took me seven years to even finally, slightly get my foot in the door and sign a publishing deal over at Sony ATV.”
Holding back tears, Wilson shared her gratitude for everyone who has helped her along the way, including her close friends and fellow artists Kasey Tyndall, Meghan Patrick and Ashland Craft, who teared up while watching her speak.
“I always compare the music business to what my daddy does [farming]. He gets up every single day. He does the same dang thing. He has good years. He has bad years. But at the end of the day, if it’s your livelihood, if it’s what you love, if it’s what you know, then you have no other option than to just get up and do the damn thing,” she acknowledged. “I have had so many people in this town who have helped me make that possible. And I still can’t even explain it, but I’m literally looking around right now and I see so many people who have just… It is a genuine love and support that I cannot explain. But seriously just feels like a prayer answered.”
“Things A Man Oughta Know” is featured on Wilson’s debut album, Sayin’ What I’m Thinkin’. The song is currently nominated for ACM Song of the Year.