Lainey Wilson Only Had $26 In Her Bank Account When ‘Things A Man Oughta Know’ Became Her Breakout Hit

“Times were rough,” Wilson recalled of her rise to fame.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

September 28, 2023

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Lainey Wilson; Photo Courtesy Facebook, Instagram

It’s been two years since Lainey Wilson earned her very first No. 1 with her debut single, “Things A Man Oughta Know.” The song quickly became a fan favorite and marked the first glimpse into a completely new chapter of life for the songstress, who revealed that just a few months prior to its release, she only had about $26 in her bank account. 

At the time, Wilson had just signed with a label and earned her first publishing and management deals and things seemed to be looking up from her days of living in a camper and constantly hearing “no” at every turn.” However, the financial struggles did not disappear right away. 

Reflects On “Hard Times”

“Everybody thinks when you sign a record deal that you’re doing fine. And everybody thinks when you sign a publishing deal that, ‘oh, she ain’t hurting,’ but that’s not the truth, at all. We’re just out here trying to pay our bills just like everybody else,” Wilson admitted during a recent interview on the Great Creators show with Guy Raz. 

Lainey Wilson; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Lainey Wilson; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

“During that time of my life, we were coming out of the pandemic, still in it some, and it was hard times,” she continued. “I was not able to go play shows and make any money. I mean, I was just living off of what I had and a little bit of that publishing draw. Times were rough, but I knew it was just right around the corner. My sister had to Venmo me $200 so I could go to Taco Bell that night. But times are different now.”

The release of this song caused Wilson’s name to spread like wildfire throughout the country music community as a result of social media and country radio. It wasn’t just the catchy tune or Wilson’s charming Louisiana accent that caught people’s attention, but it was the meaningful storyline that truly made it stand out. 

Knew It Was A Special Song

“When we got into the studio, I knew it was a special song, but I didn’t know that this was going to be the one that really did lay that foundation for what I wanted to build off of,” Wilson shared. “I’m so glad that it was this one because this song is who I am. This song is how I raised my parents, made dang sure that I knew how to treat somebody, but also how I wanted to be treated. And this is not a song about whether you can change a flat tire or start a fire. I mean, this is a song about having good character, and that right there is not something that just a man ought to know. It’s something that we all need to know. So I’m glad that this was the song that introduced me to a lot of folks because I want to be a light in this world. I want to show little boys and little girls that you’re supposed to work hard, you’re supposed to keep your head down, and you’re supposed to treat people right.”

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Dominating The Country Music Scene

Now, the “Watermelon Moonshine” singer is continuing to rise in the industry, claiming accolades left and right, touring with some of the biggest names in country music, and building a massive fanbase of her own. Yet, her motivation to work hard never fades, because as she’s learned from her dad as a farmer in Louisiana, it can all be taken away in an instant. 

“Just because my daddy has a good crop one year does not mean that he’s going to work less hard the next. That’s just not how it goes,” she said before adding, “I’m always going to be that little girl who has stars in my eyes. I’m telling you, that’s just the way that it’s going to be. And there’s times where I’m like, I don’t want anybody thinking that I’m not content or satisfied with where I’m at or anything like that, but there’s a lot of things that I want to do. There’s a lot of things that I want to accomplish.”

She went on to say that her biggest motivation stems from her younger fans who are looking up to her the same way she once looked up to her musical heroes. 

“I have a lot of little girls and a lot of little boys watching my every move right now and that is a big responsibility. But I want them to know that you can’t just sit on your hands and wait for things to happen. You have got to dig in. Don’t take no for an answer. If they tell you no, that ought to make you want it that much more. And so those are the things that are inspiring to me now to keep on going.”

CMA Awards Nominations

Lainey Wilson’s most recent run-in with success comes from earning a whopping nine nominations for the 57th Annual CMA Awards

This makes Wilson the fourth artist in CMA Awards history to receive nine or more nominations in a single year, following Merle Haggard and Miranda Lambert as well as Alan Jackson, who holds the record with 10 nominations in 2002.

Additionally, she is the first artist in 14 years to nab double nominations for Single Of The Year in the same year with “Heart Like a Truck” and her collaboration with HARDY on “Wait in the Truck.” Miranda Lambert was the last artist to achieve such recognition in the category in 2010 when she was nominated for “The House That Built Me” and “White Liar.”

How To Watch

Co-hosted by country superstar Luke Bryan and National Football League Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning, the 2023 CMA Awards will air live from Nashville on Wednesday, November 8 at 8/7c on ABC. Fans will have the chance to tune into the star-studded night to see if Wilson will take home the trophies for her impressive nominations. 

Lainey Wilson kicked off the year on her sold-out Country With A Flare Tour, followed by her time on the road with artists such as Luke Combs, HARDY, and Eric Church. 

Her next stint of shows includes several festival appearances as well as a special guest slot on HARDY’s the mockingbird & THE CROW fall tour.

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.