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A singer and songwriter who sounds proudly Southern in both strength and compassion, Lainey Wilson's music maintains a small-town sensibility while boasting the big-city polish of contemporary Nashville production. Wilson's voice is clear and strong, with an unapologetic Southern accent, and her songs are tough but heartfelt contemporary country with an edge that has its roots in vintage Southern rock and classic rock, as well as a dash of modern-day pop. Wilson's debut album, 2016's Tougher, demonstrated that her personality was already fully formed, while her major-label debut, 2021's Sayin' What I'm Thinkin', boasted more polished production but didn't dilute her style.
Lainey Wilson was born in Baskin, Louisiana, a dot on the map with a population of just 300 people. Her father was a farmer, and her mother taught school. Wilson caught the music bug early; she started writing song lyrics when she was just nine years old, and she learned to play guitar at the age of 11. In high school, one of Wilson's teachers asked her to impersonate Hannah Montana for a school project, and the act went over so well that she began performing her Hannah Montana tribute act across the state. Fittingly, at many of the shows, she would open the show singing her own songs and then finish the show impersonating the character that made Miley Cyrus famous.
After finishing high school, Wilson left Louisiana for Nashville; her first home in Music City was a trailer her father set in the parking lot of a recording studio, where the manager helped support the aspiring artist by giving her an electrical hook up. After a few years of playing local shows and working on her songwriting, Wilson released an album in 2016, Tougher, which attracted enough attention to peak at number 44 on the Country Albums chart. Her next release was an EP simply titled Lainey Wilson, featuring six songs from the singer. With her star on the rise, Wilson signed a publishing contract with Sony/ATV, and next landed a record deal with the BMG-distributed Broken Bow Records. After wrapping up a tour opening for Morgan Wallen, Wilson entered the studio with producer Jay Joyce, and September 2019 saw Broken Bow bring out her three-song EP Redneck Hollywood. Two years later Wilson unveiled her Joyce-produced debut long-player, Sayin' What I'm Thinkin', which included the hits "Things a Man Oughta Know" and "Dirty Looks." ~ Mark Deming