Lainey Wilson is undeniably one of country music's biggest success stories in 2023. She went into the recent 57th CMA Awards as the night's top nominee and, with five wins, emerged the evening's top winner – including the most prestigious prize, Entertainer of the Year. Wilson had a successful acting run on "Yellowstone" and spent the summer opening stadium shows for Luke Combs, whom she beat out for awards show trophies.
She knows a lot of eyes are on her right now, and her place in the spotlight isn't a responsibility she takes lightly – or for granted.
"I think that we are in a very pivotal time right now in country music," Wilson said. "I'm very proud to be a part of this generation of country music. You've got Jelly Roll, you got Morgan, you got Hardy, you got Luke Combs. You've got folks like Ashley McBryde and Kelsea Ballerini, and they all look different. They all sound different. They all have different stories. They all come from different places. And I think it's really important for that to be a thing because there's a lot of different kinds of people in the world who need to hear all the different stories."
Wilson hopes that her dedication to staying true to herself, her sound, her style and her roots will encourage others to honor themselves, too.
"Don't let anybody tell you no," she said. "At the end of the day, it is all about timing. I've been in (Nashville) for 12 ½ years, but I didn't start working on this 12 ½ years ago. I started working when I was nine years old, and that is the truth. I'm hoping that I can show folks, 'Hey, you know what? Blood, sweat and tears, elbow, grease, and faith will take you as far as you want it to go."
Wilson famously lived in a camper trailer for years before finding success in the music business. In those days, she said, she spent time manifesting her future, trying to get her foot in the door of the country music business – and above all, believing in herself.
"I feel like sometimes you've got to pretend," she said. "You've got to put yourself into the shoes of things that you're not. So, one day, you can become what you want to be and what you knew that you could be. The truth is … I knew this would happen. I knew it with every fiber of my being. And that sounds wild, but it's true. I think a lot of people around me, my mom and my daddy especially, they knew it, too. I've always had kind of a weird sense of peace about it, but I do feel like I'm right where I'm supposed to be."
Wilson recently nabbed her fifth consecutive No. 1 song with "Watermelon Moonshine." Her new single "Wildflowers and Wild Horses" is out now.
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