Lainey Wilson: 11 Things to Know About Her Extraordinary Life and Career

Lainey Wilson is definitely the girl of the hour. The singer-songwriter has amassed an impressive collection of awards, both for her songwriter and her artistry, and continues to sell out large venues all over the country. Keep reading to learn more about Wilson’s extraordinary life and career.

1. She is from a very small town.

Wilson was born and raised in Baskin, Louisiana, a small town that today boasts a population of just over 200 people, with a median income of only $27,000. But her rural upbringing had a big impact on her life, and the artist she became.

“I am who I am because of my mama and my daddy,”. Wilson told The Advocate. “I am proud of where I’m coming from. I’m proud to talk with an accent and be from Baskin. There are so many things that my parents taught me growing up, but their work ethic is one thing that I take with me everywhere. My parents taught me what it takes to get something in life. If you want something, you got to roll up your sleeves and go get the thing.”

2. She has an older sister named Janna Wilson Sadler.

Wilson is the youngest of two daughters, born to her parents, Brian and Michelle. The two sisters are close, with Wilson also taking on the role of a doting aunt to Sadler’s two children.

“I remember that the bedroom walls were pink, and there was stuff strewn everywhere,” Wilson told People. “If our parents told us to clean up our room, we would just shove it all under the bed. Everything that was hers was mine, or at least that’s what I thought.”

3. She has a strong Christian faith.

Wilson has not been shy about speaking out about her faith, thanking Jesus in her acceptance speeches for many of her awards, including for the recent Female Country Artist at the People’s Choice Awards. For Wilson, spirituality is part of her DNA, instilled in her since she was little.

“The church was a huge part of my growing up and our family foundation,” Wilson told Southern Living. “We love Jesus. And I’m not sure where I would be right now on this journey without him. I mean, it’s just a part of who I am.”

4. She was nine years old when she decided she wanted to be a country music singer.

It was a fortuitous trip to the Grand Ole Opry when Wilson was just nine years old that set her career in motion, and she never looked back.

“The first time I went to the Grand Ole Opry, I was nine years old,” Wilson recalled (via The Boot). “I remember exactly where I was sitting in the crowd. We saw Bill Anderson, Little Jimmy Dickens [and] Crystal Gayle. I just remember looking up there, being like, ‘Man, I wanna do that.'”

5. She used to make money impersonating Hannah Montana.

Wilson tried her hand at sports and cheerleading, but found her real passion and talent was in music. She also discovered, while in high school, that she could make herself sound like Hannah Montana, played by Miley Cyrus, and started impersonating her, making money at parties and events.

“I started impersonating Hannah Montana in eighth grade through 12th grade, and I would open up for myself a lot of the time,” Wilson said (via American Songwriter). “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. Then when I got to Nashville, for the next 12 years, I wasn’t booked and busy, so [it was] a lot of highs and lows, but I did that for a long time.”

6. She lived in a small camper for three years.

When Wilson moved from Baskin to Nashville, she brought with her a small camper, which she parked at songwriter Jerry Cupit’s house, and lived in for three years, trying to get her music heard, and never wavering in her belief in herself.

“Those lonely nights in my camper trailer out in West Nashville, I was envisioning myself being here,” Wilson said backstage at the CMA Awards. “I was waiting outside of the Bridgestone to get a little wristband, so I could maybe be down in the pit, and just feel like I was a part of this industry. I knew it. I knew it with every fiber of my being, and that sounds wild, but it’s true.

“And I think a lot of people around me, my mom and my daddy especially, they knew it too,” she added. “And 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.”

7. She says bell bottoms will always likely be part of her attire.

Wilson loves bell bottoms so much, she even named her sophomore album Bell Bottom Country. Her love affair with them began when she as a child, and continues to this day.

“I remember my very first pair of bell bottoms,” Wilson told Variety. “They were blue leopard print. My mama bought ’em. And it got to the point where I was wearing ’em so much, she was like, ‘You gotta take ’em off. We gotta put ’em in the washer.’ But I just feel like things that are throwback come with a good story.

“So if you walk in my house, you’ll see like mama’s old china cabinet or my daddy’s old rodeo chaps. …. I was really trying to figure out what could I do to stand apart from the rest of the females in Nashville, because it’s very important to do that,” she adds. “And what is something that is really true to me? And for me, it was [the] whole bell bottom throwback look. And I’m glad we did.”

8. She was invited by Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan to appear on the hit TV show, Yellowstone.

Wilson’s music was first part of the Yellowstone soundtrack, until Sheridan had the idea to create a role for Wilson as well.

“In 2018, my manager sent over some of my music,” Wilson told Audacy in 2022, the year she first appeared on the show. “They were looking for some music for the show for Season 2, and they ended up choosing one of my songs called ‘Working Overtime.’ This was before a record deal or anything. [Taylor] was a fan of mine, we’re a fan of his. He invited us to Vegas to play at this horse riding competition where I got to hang out with him …  He called me in February and said, ‘I want to create a role specifically for you,’ and I’m like, ‘You’re sure you want to do that? Let’s do it!’ I love doing things that are scary.”

9. She kept her romance with former Pittsburgh Steelers play Devlin “Duck” Hodges a secret for over two years.

Wilson chose to keep her private life, and her romance, out of the spotlight until she felt confident in its stability. The couple made their red carpet debut at the 2023 ACM Awards, to the shock of her fans.

“He’s been around for a while. I just decided to make him wait for two and a half years,” Wilson said on The Bobby Bones Show, sharing how similar their career paths were, in spite of Hodges being a professional athlete and Wilson a singer.

“He knows what it’s like chasing a dream because he’s done that for himself. He was in the NFL,” she continued. “He tried out literally for the Steelers and made it and had a really great run with them. Went out to LA Rams and did that. But I’ll tell you, he is good as gold. Supports me, would never come in between anything that I’m trying to do. He’s like, ‘Go get it, girl.’ And I made him wait for a while. I mean…it’s been a little over two years now.”

Photo Courtesy of NBC / Rich Polk

10. She has a sweet tooth.

Wilson tends to eat healthy as much as possible, although she does love a good pepperoni pizza. Before a show, she eats beef jerky, almonds, cheese and hummus, but says she has to have chocolate every day.

“Even if it’s just a little piece of candy, I’ve got to have my dark chocolate,” Wilson told Delish. “At some point in time, I will have a bite of chocolate every single day.”

11. She never had a Plan B.

Wilson watched a lot of her friends and peers have success in country music before she did, but she never once considered giving up.

“I have never had a Plan B. Because I feel like if I did, then Plan A was not going to work,” Wilson told Smooth Radio. “If you can imagine yourself doing anything else; if you can imagine yourself being a teacher or a doctor or a lawyer, then go do that. Because I will say: the sacrifices that you have to make to do this, is just like anything else in life. If you want something, you’ve got to sacrifice a lot to go get it.”