NAME: Lainey Wilson
HOMETOWN: Baskin, Louisiana
SINGLES: “Dirty Looks” “WWDD”
EP: Redneck Hollywood
INFLUENCES: Dolly Parton, Lee Ann Womack, Shania Twain, Dixie Chicks.
Hailing from Baskin, Louisiana, Lainey Wilson always new she was destined for a career in country music. She caught the attention of country fans when she burst onto the scene with her straight up country debut album Redneck Hollywood—a four song EP featuring “Dirty Looks” and “LA”.
Earlier this year, the 23 year-old released a brand new single (not featured on her EP) titled “WWDD,” an acronym for What Would Dolly [Parton] Do. Written by Lainey, Casey Beathard and Michael Heeney, the Louisiana native pays homage to her idol, and uses Dolly as a guide to how she navigates life.
“I don’t know anyone who don’t love Dolly,” says Lainey. “From her sense of humor, to her look, to her songwritin’, to her singin’ to how she has such an incredible giving heart, to how she’s an awesome businesswoman…Dolly does everything just a little better with a little bow on top. Dolly is an international icon and role model for a lot of folks around the world, so it’s an easy song for a lot of people to relate to.”
Lainey sat down with One Country to talk about her journey to Nashville, her country upbringing and her future in country music. (Hint: It’s bright)
Home Is Where the Heart Is
“I’m from a town of about 300 people, 299 now, after I left. And yeah, it is literally a town, it’s called the Village of Baskin, and we don’t even have a red light. We have a caution light. There’s nothing but a bunch of corn fields, wheat fields, soy beans. It was a tiny town. But I think honestly that’s probably where my love of storytelling began, because there’s not a whole lot to do around there, so we would sit around the table and tell stories. Stories that would never get old. I think that’s where my love for storytelling developed, right there at that kitchen table.”
“I wrote my first song when I was nine years old, and I started playing guitar at 11. And the first time I ever actually sang out in public was my kindergarten graduation. I’ve always had this weird feeling that this is something I was supposed to do. A little backstory—my daddy took us on a family vacation to Gatlinburg, Tennessee back when I was nine years old. I think this was before I even wrote my first song, and I begged him on the way home to Louisiana to drive through Nashville. And he did. And I remember exactly where I was on the interstate in the backseat. I was looking at the Batman building when I said, ‘this is home.’ And I’ve just always known it’s where I needed to be. I just needed to figure out how to get there. I actually made the move.”
“My dad plays guitar and a little bit of piano by ear, and my momma loves music, but she can’t carry a tune in a bucket. On both sides of the family, there’s a history of people being being able to play instruments by ear. But other than my dad, nobody really in my immediate family plays. My daddy doesn’t really sing, but I always grew up around country music, and for me it was more than just a genre of music. It was a way of life.”
“I wrote [Dirty Looks] with two of my favorite writers in town, Brent Anderson and Smith Ahnquist. I knew that I was going to be getting into the studio with Jay Joyce sometime soon, and I was like, these are guys to do it with. To find that one song. And I’m a big fan of both of them. We were writing one evening, and it was probably about eight months before we actually recorded the song, and Chance had this idea called ‘Dirty Looks’, and all of our songwriting ears kind of perked up. And we were like, that’s it. It’s just one of those songs that I feel, for me, has stood the test of time. How I decide which ones that I’m going to end up recording, are the ones that I never get tired of. The ones that I get into my car and I want hear again. And this was one of those songs, and I just knew it was special.”
“A lot of people might kind of raise their eyebrows when they hear the word redneck, and have a certain stereotype for it or whatever. But redneck, for me growing up and to this day, is a word that outsiders would call us, but also a word that we proudly call ourselves. It doesn’t mean anything negative to us. We’re proud to be rednecks. And Hollywood was a place that I’ve always dreamed to go. I was just this little redneck girl who had stars in my eyes from the very beginning. Never in a million years would I have thought that I’d have the opportunity to actually go experience, and to see the world like this. But it’s so cool that I have, so that’s where [the title] comes from.”
Sounds of Lainey
“I would say [my sound is] brash, but also familiar. Relatable and honest. I have a whole lot to say, and it’s kind of hard to say it all in four songs. But I feel like we can be on this journey together. I think these four songs are a good representation of who I am and what I’ve been through and also what I stand for. But like I said, I’ve also got a whole lot more. I’ve got a big old mouth.”
FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LAINEY:
1. “I was a PRCA rodeo flag girl. That means I would run in on horseback with my flag, and I would sing the national Anthem.”
2. “I know how to drive a tractor. My daddy would make me do a scope the fields. He wouldn’t let me plant.
3. “I love pizza. Just pepperoni. Honestly, just plain old cheese, pepperoni pizza.”
4. “I’m a sucker for some crawfish. I will make a special trip home to go get crawfish.”
5. “I’m obsessed with turquoise. Turquoise jewelry, turquoise anything.”
6. “I probably have a hundred plus bell bottoms in my closet.”
- “Straight Up Sideways” — (Lainey Wilson, Reid Isbell, Jason Nix, Dan Alley)
- “Dirty Looks” — (Lainey Wilson, Smith Ahnquist, Brent Anderson)
- “Things A Man Oughta Know” — (Lainey Wilson, Jonathan Singleton, Jason Nix)
- “LA” — (Lainey Wilson, Hannah Dasher, Frank Romano)