It’s hard to miss the name Lainey Wilson these days. After all, she’s rocking country music with her hit single, and now Billboard Country Airplay top-charting song “Things a Man Oughta Know.” Her freshman debut is the first from a woman to lead the list ever since Gabby Barrett’s “I Hope” dominated the charts and her first-ever number one hit as well.
And with an authentic, unashamed style rooted in the vintage Southern sound, this Louisiana native is sure to take on more than just charts. But while we watch out for her next releases, let’s first meet her and get to know some things we oughta know about her.
Who is Lainey Wilson?
Born on May 19, 1992, Lainey Wilson was raised in the small town of Baskin, Louisiana with her sister Janna. The two of them shared a room in a portable building that their parents built. Her mother taught in school, and her father farmed land while Wilson was busy caught in her music. At the age of 9, she was already writing song lyrics, and then she learned to play the guitar, thanks to her dad, at 11.
But what kickstarted her career in performing was that one high school project where one of her teachers asked her to impersonate Hannah Montana, a role played by Miley Cyrus. Her act went so well that she began doing her Hannah Montana tribute all over the state and venturing off to Arkansas and Mississippi. Fittingly, she would play and sing her original songs to open the show and then switch to her impersonations to end them. But aside from her performances, she also released an EP on MySpace in 2006 titled Country Girls Rule. After graduating high school, she then moved to Nashville to pursue a music career.
Early Career: The Hard-Headed Taurus
Just like many aspiring musicians, it took some time before Wilson finally got her name out. And there were many times that she thought of just packing it all up and going home. Good thing she was stubborn as a Taurus and held her dreams. She had no doubts that she was going to be okay and that she will find her way.
When she first came into the Music City, her home was a camp trailer set up by her father in a parking lot of a recording studio that belonged to a family friend named Jerry Cupit. To support Wilson, the manager provided her with the electrical hookup she needed. A couple of years later in 2014, after playing a lot of local shows and working on her songwriting, she released her self-titled independent album.
She followed with her second independent album Tougher two years later, which gained attention, peaking at number 44 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. This definitely opened up an opportunity for her music to be heard by a wider audience. In 2018, she again released a self-titled extended play featuring six original tracks. And this time, along with the success of her previous independent releases, she didn’t go unnoticed. Wilson landed a publishing contract with Sony Music Publishing and then a record deal with BMG-distributed Broken Bow Records. She then spent the next few months opening tours for Morgan Wallen. Aside from that, she also hit the road with Josh Turner, Eric Paslay, and Hardy, among many others.
Rising Career: Redneck Hollywood
After wrapping up her tour openings with Morgan Wallen, Wilson finally worked on her first major-label release with her dream producer Jay Joyce. And in September 2019, she finally dropped her four-song EP titled Redneck Hollywood. In an interview with Wilson, she said that this project was a nuanced blend of her as an outsider or what other people call redneck, something that she had always been proud of, and the starry-eyed dream of hers to go to different places, travel the world, and meet many new different people. While she may not have geographically explored a lot just yet, she was definitely on her way to making that dream come true.
Another dream of hers that she manifested a long time ago and finally realized was performing at the stage of Grand Ole Opry. In February 2020, Wilson got her turn to sing on the same stage where she first watched Crystal Gayle perform.
And in 2021, Wilson finally unveiled her debut long-player produced yet again by Jay Joyce titled Sayin’ What I’m Thinkin’ with her hit songs “Things a Man Oughta Know” and “Dirty Looks.”
You Oughta Know Her
With the success of “Things a Man Oughta Know” on the Billboard charts, Lainey Wilson’s life has also definitely changed. But she will always be that redneck sporting her favorite bell-bottoms that flare out of her ankles, vest with fringe hanging from it, and dark sunglasses over her eyes. She will always be that singer-songwriter who strives not just to be a singer but someone who touches people’s lives. And you definitely oughta know her name.