By Josh Ortega
After 12 years of preparation, country star Lainey Wilson says she’s finally entered the race, but the process was all a part of paying her dues.
“They say Nashville is a 10-year town, and I truly believe it,” Wilson says.
The Louisiana native saw the fruits of her labor in 2022, nabbing an armful of accolades including CMA Female Vocalist of the Year, CMA New Artist of the Year, ACM’s New Female Artist of the Year and CMT’s “Breakout Artist of the Year” honors. Wilson is one of Nashville’s hottest and most-buzzed-about new artists who’s just getting started.
But when her team approached her about “this legendary event,” Wilson couldn’t say yes quickly enough to performing at the Coors Light Birds Nest on Wednesday, February 8, with Chris Lane and Dustin Lynch. She hopes fans will “laugh, cry and want to drink a beer all at the same time.”
“I hear that people love to have a good time while they’re there,” Wilson says. “And they know that me and my band are all about going and playing music and having a good time wherever we go.”
Wilson has opened shows for Lane and Lynch and respects and loves their work that she’s long watched from afar, and she says it’ll be great to reconnect with her two friends.
“A lot of times you don’t get to see your artist friends a whole lot because most of the time you’re on opposite ends of the country playing shows,” Wilson says. “But I’m so glad that we’ll be able to see each other that night and catch up and have a good time.”
Wilson says the Grand Canyon State holds “a special spot” in her heart, especially when she attended a writer’s retreat in Wickenburg with friends.
The trail riding on horseback around Wickenburg inspired to write a few songs for her latest album, “Bell Bottom Country,” which debuted in October.
“I just feel really inspired every single time I get an opportunity to go out there and play a show or just be there,” Wilson says.
As she reflects on what the past year has given her, Wilson says 2022 was a year of her “putting those bricks in place” to continue building her house of success that she’s worked on for the past decade.
That’s not to say she didn’t reminisce about special moments along the way, including one special connection for the Baskin, Louisiana, native.
Besides the Birds Nest, Wilson was just as enthusiastic about performing during the January 2 Rose Parade.
She rode on the Louisiana Office of Tourism “Feed Your Soul” float that depicted a paddlewheel riverboat, and she performed her song “LA” that’s an ode, in part, to her Louisiana roots.
“As soon as I showed up and there was nothing but a bunch of Louisiana folks on the float, I felt right at home,” Wilson says. “I’m proud of where I come from, and I am who I am because of the place that raised me.”
Wilson says she considers 2022 “a big introduction year” for her and she’s in “a unique position” that has her “dreaming a little bigger” this year.
“Everything I put on my goals list for last year, we accomplished that plus then some,” Wilson says.
After stop at the Birds Nest on February 8, Wilson will jet off to Chattanooga, Tennessee, to continue her Country with a Flare Tour, presented by Stella Rosa Future is Female music series.
The 27-city trek, which started on January 4 and runs through March 31, marks the first headline tour for the 30-year-old star, who will perform many of the songs off her latest album.
But keeping busy is all in a day’s work for Wilson as she looks to 2023 for more of the same, and that’s a lot considering she spent about 350 nights on the road last year.
“I feel like I need to write 300 songs in order to get the best 12, and so I need to be prepared for that,” Wilson says.
Thankfully, this year has her riding on a tour bus that will allow her to get some sleep between shows. Even amid the hustle and bustle of her growing fame, Wilson says she still finds time to stay centered and grounded with meditation, prayer or other simple activities.
“For me, sometimes that just means going to find a patch of grass and putting my feet in the grass and doing that, meditation, prayer, I talk to the Lord,” Wilson says. “So, as long as I’m doing those things, I feel like I’m OK and I can stay above water.”
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