CMW - Country Music Week

Interview: Lainey Wilson talks new EP, her debut in the UK, Jimmie Allen and more

If you ask me who my favourite artists of 2018 were then Lainey Wilson would definitely be on that list. With traditional country being so rare in new artists these day, Lainey is a refreshing and welcome addition to the country music scene.

Having been independent before signing with Broken Bow Records, Lainey attracted industry folk and a handsome fan base with her delightfully brilliant songs such as Workin’ Overtime and Dreamcathcher from her self titled EP.

Lainey made her UK debut as part of Country Music Week where she joined fellow label mates Jimmie Allen and Chase Rice on Chase’s London headline show at Bush Hall. As well as that, Lainey joined the Daytime Hub line up on the Saturday of Country Music Week.

We caught up with Lainey just before her show with Chase Rice and we loved being in her company. Lainey is a joy to talk with and so humble and easy going.

Hi Lainey – How are you?

Good thank you.

Welcome to the UK, is this your first time here?

This is my first time here.

You have a show with Chase Rice tonight and one again on Saturday. What is the plan for the rest of the week before Saturdays show?

You know what, I have been trying to google things and see what I can find to do. I just want to go and learn.

So what prompted this visit?

I just signed with Broken Bow Records a few months ago and this is an opportunity that they got me connected with. They really want to start this thing internationally so this is where we started. It is pretty cool.

What have you heard about the UK audiences?

I have heard that they love songwriting and hearing the stories behind the songs and they really appreciate music.

All true

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background, when did you decide you wanted a career in music and was it always country?

It has always been country music. To be honest with you, country music for me is a way of life. I am from a small town in North East Louisiana so we live, breathe and eat country music. I wrote my first song when I was nine years old and started guitar when I was eleven. It is always something that I have had to do. I impersonated Hannah Montana for my high school occupation, took guitar lessons and I played in an 80’s rock cover band for a while during college. After that I decided to make the move to Nashville and started taking online classes and I bought a camper trailer and moved it up to Nashville and decided to try and do this thing. I have been hammering out like everyone else so…

What is Louisiana like for country music because it is known more for its bluesy, jazzy music?

Yeah, so I am from North Louisiana so is very different from South Louisiana. Baton Rouge down towards New Orleans is very bluesy, jazz but North Louisiana is more country based.

Tell us about New Orleans because I have always wanted to go and whenever I mention that to someone from the states they tell me it is too dangerous?

It is. It is fun but New Orleans can be extremely dangerous – it is a world of its own. We were just there yesterday actually. It is one of those places that you have to go to once, go visit, eat the beignets, do the whole thing, eat the crawfish but it can be dangerous for sure.

Tell us about getting noticed and signed?

To be honest with you it took a really long time to even get my foot in the door in Nashville. It was years and years of trying to get noticed on music row and I’ve just kind of spent the last few years taking care of my friendships and relationships with people. Long story short, Broken Bow heard about me from my publishing company and they pitched a few of my songs but one of the main sources was Jimmie Allen. Jimmie is a dear friend of mine, we just love each other to death. He sent my music to one of the head guys over at Broken Bow and asked if they would listen to it. Jimmie has been such a champion of mine and they listened to him, so it’s a pretty cool story. Now we are in London playing together.

You have released albums independently and your EP. You are now making an album via the label?

Right now we are concentrating on writing and trying to get the best songs that we possibly can to do another record. I am working with a huge producer which I am so excited about called Jay Joyce. He has been my favourite producer for as long as I can remember. That’s the next step.

Is it harder or easier being independent in terms of time and creative freedom?

You know what? I think they will give us creative control because that is why they signed us in the first place. They love what we do right now. For me personally, it has been a little easier to be with a label and have people on my team, especially as they are not trying to make me something I am not.

Your sound is quite traditional which we love!

Yes!

So we have just had the C2C line up. C2C are very good at mixing it up but there are only three females on the bill this year which just goes to show the state of the industry and the effect that not playing women on country radio has. This of course isn’t down to C2C as we don’t really have country radio here but if we did, we would be playing women. But in general, festivals, especially in the US have very little women on their billing. What do you think about it all ? Do you think it is true that women don’t want to listen to women?

It’s crazy because growing up I listened to a lot of female artists in country: Shania, Lee Ann Womack, Dolly, all of them, they were the country music queens. I don’t know when it really happened but there has been a decline. I feel like it is slowly starting to come back. I think what we have to do as women in country music is almost be one of guys and go in there and put on a show and just have fun with it too.

The funny thing is, a lot of the top hits are written by women anyway.

Oh I know haha, it is crazy!

What have you got planned for the rest of the year? Any plans to return to the UK next year?

Yes, that is the plan, I would love to come back. The rest of the year I will be doing shows here and there and spend weekdays writing as many songs as I possibly can.

Well thanks so much for chatting today.

Thanks so much I appreciate it.

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