Lainey Wilson Recalls Feeling Right At Home In Nashville At Just Nine Years Old

“…I would go home and I would play music and I just loved it. It had become a part of me.”


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

May 25, 2023


5:45 am

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Lainey Wilson; Photo Courtesy of Rich Polk for PMC

Lainey Wilson was nine years old when she first witnessed the magic of Nashville, TN. That same year, she wrote her first song and knew that from that moment on, music was calling her name. 

“I remember exactly where I was on the interstate when I told my mama and daddy, I said, ‘This is home,’” Wilson said as she reflected on this monumental moment and the start to her career during an interview on Trailblazers Radio with Fancy Hagood on Apple Music Country. 

“My daddy showed me a few chords on the guitar and took a few lessons and started playing at 11. And then it really kind of became one of those things just even as a child, it just grabbed ahold of me and would not let go,” she explained to the outlet. “I did extracurricular activities like all the other kids did, and I cheered and played basketball. I wasn’t no good at any of it, but I would go home and I would play music and I just loved it. It had become a part of me.”

Before moving to Nashville, she was just a young girl living in a small town in Louisiana with big dreams. Shortly after learning to play the guitar, she started to really dip her toe into the music industry by booking gigs as a Hannah Montana impersonator. 

“I started impersonating Hannah Montana from eighth grade through 12th grade, and I would open up for myself a lot of the time,” she continued. “I would do three or four birthday parties a weekend…I’ve been booked, and actually it was funny because for five years of doing Hannah Montana, I was booked and busy. And then when I got to Nashville for the next 12 years, I wasn’t booked and busy, so a lot of highs and lows, but did that for a long time.”

Photo Courtesy Lainey Wilson
Photo Courtesy Lainey Wilson

Wilson began to progress in her performance gigs and eventually landed a spot with a cover band called the Cadillac Kings. She recalled not being old enough at the time to even get into the places where they were booked to perform four-hours gigs.

She officially made the move to Nashville in August of 2011. Upon her arrival, the “Heart Like A Truck” singer was determined as ever to make it as a country artist. She recalled thinking, “Dang right. I’m about to get me a record deal.” 

“When I found out what a publishing deal was, because I didn’t even know those existed. I just remember thinking, ‘I’m going to do it. It’s not going to take me long.’ And then here we are 12 years later, but I’m glad I’m thankful for every single good thing and bad thing that’s led me to here, because I don’t know if I’d be as appreciative of the moments.”

Lainey Wilson at the 58th Academy of Country Music Awards from Ford Center at The Star on May 11, 2023 in Frisco, Texas; Photo by Gilbert Flores, PMC, ACM Awards
Lainey Wilson at the 58th Academy of Country Music Awards from Ford Center at The Star on May 11, 2023 in Frisco, Texas; Photo by Gilbert Flores, PMC, ACM Awards

Twelve years later, Wilson’s dreams are coming true. She’s still sporting her iconic bell bottoms, but now, she’s also a multi-award-winning singer and songwriter, who reigned as the most nominated and awarded female artist in ACM history as she recently brought home four wins at the 2023 Academy of Country Music Awards.

This year alone, she’s racked up these four ACM awards in addition to two CMT Music Awards, completed a 28-date sold out headlining tour, been honored as Billboard Women in Music’s 2023 “Rulebreaker” and started touring stadiums with Luke Combs as support on his world tour. 

Wilson also recently broke the record for the shortest gap between No.1 singles at Country Radio with her song “Heart Like a Truck” and her powerful collaboration with HARDY titled, “wait in the truck.” 

Next up, her latest single, “Watermelon Moonshine,” will be sent to country radio on Monday, May 29. This nostalgic ballad was co-written by Wilson alongside Jordan Schmidt and Josh Kear and is featured on her critically-acclaimed sophomore album, Bell Bottom Country.

 “Drinkin’ watermelon moonshine / Cut the burn with a little lime / Parkin’ back in them kudzu vines / I was his and every bit of that boy was mine / Too young to know what love was / But we werе learnin’ on a sweet buzz / There’s never nothin’ like the first time / And mine’s always gonna taste like / Watermelon moonshine,” she delivers on the chorus while reflecting on the innocence of young love. 

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In addition to touring with Luke Combs this summer, fans can also catch Lainey Wilson at several festivals including CMA Fest, Lollapalooza, Watershed, and more.

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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.