You gotta respect the hustle from artists who do it the right way.
Nashville’s always been known as a “ten year town,” meaning that it takes artists 10 years from the time they get to Nashville before they have any real level of success.
But now we’re living in a time when singers can post a video on TikTok, have it go viral, and all of a sudden they have a record deal and are opening for whichever tour their label can get them on.
When you see those artists in concert, though, the crowd usually knows one or two of their hits and that’s about it.
Then there are the artists who spend years and years grinding it out, writing songs and seeing what works, and building fans who know every word to every one of their songs.
Those are the artists that I really respect – artists like Lainey Wilson.
The queen of “bell-bottom country” just had her first #1 single with the hit “Things A Man Oughta Know.” And if you just started following her career, it probably seems like Lainey’s had a meteoric rise since the release of her major-label debut album back in February of this year. But what you don’t see is the years of hard work that it took to get there.
Lainey actually started out at a young age – as a Hannah Montana impersonator. And when she would perform as Hannah Montana, she would “open” for Hannah Montana as herself so she could play some of her own music.
Then she began playing with a local band in her home state of Louisiana. But when she decided that she wanted to make a career out of music, she bought a camper and moved to Nashville – and lived in the camper for three years.
“When I decided I needed to be here full time, I ended up buying a camper trailer and moving it to Nashville. I lived in it the first three years I was here and finished college in it…
It was a Flagstaff, it was like a 20-foot bumper pull. It did have a shower, but I flooded it at one point and then the floor started rotting out. I was always having problems with it.”
Luckily for Lainey, she had one connection in Nashville when she moved here – and he let her park her camper in his studio parking lot.
“I moved here in August of 2011…There was a guy from my hometown, his name was Jerry Cupit. He had some success in the 90’s with like Ken Mellons, Kevin Sharpe…
And crazy story, my daddy’s daddy has always loved music, just wanted to support it any way he could. So in the 70’s he gave Jerry Cupit a few hundred bucks to help him move to Nashville and get started.
And as a favor in return, Jerry let me live in his studio parking lot for free for those three years.
So he was really my only contact that I knew.”
See, it’s not all glitz and glamour.
It was also while she was living in the camper that Lainey met another aspiring artist – a guy named Luke Combs – and he started coming over to her trailer to write songs.
So yeah, it takes a while for artists who want to “make it” in the music business. But it’s nice to see it pay off for people like Lainey who made the sacrifices and put in the work and did things the right way.
And 10 years later, she’s sitting here with her first #1 and a killer debut album under her belt.
Like I said, Nashville’s a ten year town – but I would guess that if you asked Lainey, she’d say those 10 years were worth it.