How Lainey Wilson, an ’11-year overnight sensation,’ became country music’s brightest new star, and the secret to her longevity in the spotlight.
When Lainey Wilson was born on Nov. 14, 1992, she had a future in the music industry. She was born into a family of musicians. Her father, a guitar player, taught her how to play the guitar as a child. Her mother played drums in the New York City band “Sidewalk Prophets.” The young Lainey taught herself piano in high school, and by the time she was a senior at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, she was booking national tours, opening for a popular local band, and touring with the band. She also co-owned a record label called The Lullaby Record Company with her father, and she was booked to open for legends like the Dixie Chicks, Patty Griffin, and the Indigo Girls. “She was the daughter that could sing, the daughter that could play, and the daughter that could make a stage production of the National Anthem,” says Lainey’s father, Billy Wilson. “In a lot of ways, I was blessed that my kids had musical talent and would take to the music business.”
The music industry and the recording business are very unforgiving environments. At the end of an 18 month recording contract with Epic Records in Nashville in 1999, Lainey left a promising career and a promising songwriting career behind her and, she went on to find that her dreams had just been crushed, by an industry that can be ruthless. “When someone tells you they’re going to pay you $250,000 to write a song that they’re going to record, and that they’re going to put it out, and they’re going to put it out for 25, 30, 50, 100, whatever it is, and they’re going to put it out and make money off it,” Lainey says, “you know it’s a sucker bet.”
“My mother taught me to be a music lover first and foremost. She taught me to work very hard, play for the love of it and be good to your family. She taught me that talent will find you and you’ll be blessed. As soon as I found my voice, I knew I was playing something that was