How Lainey Wilson Held Onto Her Grit, Determination Amid Heartache

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Lainey Wilson’s meteoric rise as an award-winning country artist in recent years stemmed from more than a decade of perseverance and grit in Nashville, Tennessee.

The reigning Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year wrote her first song when she was 9 years old, growing up in the small town of Baskin, Louisiana. Wilson moved to Music City in a camper trailer in 2011 in an effort to pursue her dreams of building a career in music. Now that she’s embraced the whirlwind of growing success in music — appropriately, inspiring the title of her forthcoming album — Wilson is also reflecting on her years of heartache to get here.

The “Watermelon Moonshine” star met with Hoda Kotb. Wilson is the 50th guest to appear on Hotb’s podcast, Making Space with Hoda Kotb, in a new episode that premiered on Wednesday (July 10). In a clip from the new episode shared on Instagram, Kotb asks Wilson: “Was there any point in your heart — even though you knew you loved it, because, you know, we’ve all loved things and sometimes it’s not meant to be — did you ever think to yourself, ‘OK, God, I’m getting your message here. I’ve been trying and I’m broke?’”

Wilson said that she “should have” felt that; however, she pushed forward anyway.

“I should have had that feeling. Hoda, I should have took my butt to the house. I should have. I’m not gonna lie to you,” Wilson said. “And I know a lot of people probably thought, man, when’s she gonna give this thing up? But I never had that feeling. I never had it. Because I always just felt like, ‘man, it could be right around that corner.’ It could be right there.”

Wilson released her first major label studio album, Sayin’ What I’m Thinkin’, in 2021. That 12-track project included the breakout single “Things A Man Oughta Know,” among other highlights, and set the stage for Wilson’s Grammy Award-winning Bell Bottom Country. Wilson debuted the original 14-track album in October 2022, and later expanded it with two additional tracks following her acting debut on Yellowstone. Now, Wilson is gearing up to release Whirlwind, which includes “Country’s Cool Again,” “Hang Tight Honey” and “4x4xU.” It’s set to release on August 23.

Kotb noted that “Lainey is taking the music industry by storm, and once you hear this conversation, you’ll realize her music is just the beginning,” she wrote in her caption as she shared a clip from the podcast conversation. “Lainey and I talk about her rise to fame, and how the road wasn’t always easy. She faced her share of rejection and heartbreak, but she never gave up on her dreams.”

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