Lainey Wilson is living the life she once dreamed about. The recent four-time ACM Awards winner, who went into the ceremony as the most-nominated female artist of the year, is still coming to terms with her current reign as one of country music’s biggest stars.
“Well, first of all, all I ever wanted was to be part of the country music industry,” Wilson tells People. “I remember just dreaming about that, like, ‘Oh my gosh, it would be so cool to just know these people and call them and get advice,’ and I feel that way.”
Wilson was far from an overnight success story. The Louisiana native moved to Nashville when she was just 19 years old, living in a camper trailer for several years while she struggled to get anyone to listen to her music and give her a chance. While her road might have been rocky, Wilson insists it was all worth it to have the life she has now.
“I feel like country music has finally decided to love me back as much as I’ve been loving it for my whole life,” Wilson says. “It feels good to be recognized.”
Since she was a little girl, country music is all that Wilson has ever wanted to do. To live out her biggest dream is both fulfilling and humbling.
“I wrote my first song at 9 years old. I’m about to be 31 years old this year, and it’s like I’ve been preparing ever since I was 9 years old,” Wilson says. “I’ve known that this is my calling, and there’s nothing else that I want to do, that I can do, and I’ve always just kind of been like, “No Plan B, this is it.’
“I feel like that time that I’ve had to prepare, I don’t know… If it happened when I wanted it to, I don’t know that I would have been ready,” she adds.
While Wilson doesn’t regret that her path to success was slower than some of her peers, in hindsight the “Grease” singer says everything worked out the way it was supposed to work out for her.
“I wouldn’t change it for anything,” Wilson tells iHeartRadio. “But I will say, if I had known how hard it was gonna be, I don’t know if I would’ve ever done it.”
Not one to give up without a fight — even a long one — Wilson recalls the excruciating wait, time that ultimately only fueled the fire for her to work harder than anyone else.
“It was interesting watching a lot of new artists move to town,” Wilson recounts. “I didn’t even get a publishing deal until year seven, and a record deal until year eight. And here we are, I’m working on year 12. We’re here now, but I’d see people pass me up and signing deals left and right, but I knew my time was coming. I did. I didn’t wanna be a flash in the pan. I’ve always tried to view it as brick by brick. And if that meant it was gonna take me a long time to build that dang house, then that’s what I was gonna do.”
I hope this inspires anyone out there that has a dream to chase it & work your dang butt off for it. I’m inspired by every single person who was nominated in these categories and I honestly believe I wouldn’t be where I am without them paving the way. Thank you #acmawards pic.twitter.com/eUJEydTNp4
— Lainey Wilson (@laineywilson) May 12, 2023
Wilson won the ACM Awards for Female Artist of the Year and Album of the Year (for Bell Bottom Country), plus Music Event of the Year and Visual Media of the Year, both for her “wait in the truck” duet with HARDY.
“I hope that this inspires anyone out there that has a dream to chase it and work your dang butt off for it,” Wilson shared on social media after winning four trophies. “I’m inspired by every single person who was nominated in these categories and I honestly believe I wouldn’t be where I am without them paving the way. Sure is sweet when you get to celebrate with all your people by your side.”
Find all of Wilson’s music and tour dates at LaineyWilson.com.