Lainey Wilson and Theo Von is the duo we didn’t know we needed.
The two both grew up in Louisiana, and recently Lainey stopped by Theo’s podcast This Last Weekend where they swapped stories of young love, her viral bottom half, and a collaboration with Lukas Nelson in the works.
But they also peeled back the curtain on what it takes to not just have radio success in country music, but to really connect with audiences and have fans know the person, not just the songs.
When asked if there was a time she thought she’d only be a songwriter instead of an artist:
“I didn’t want to have to choose. I was like I can do both. I’m gonna be a songwriter, I’m gonna be an artist, I’m gonna do it all.
But I had somebody who I was working with at the time who made me believe you can’t be both. He was like ‘You gotta choose, are you a songwriter or are you an artist’ and I’m like ‘I’m both…’
Look around at some of the most successful artists, for decades. They write their own stuff and they sing their own stuff… Look at Morgan (Wallen), look at Hardy…”
Theo follows up with the most obvious, but overlooked and important observation on this whole songwriter vs artist debate.
“And who’s gonna sing it better than you, ya know?”
Amen to that.
Lainey then went on to talk about how she had to earn her fanbase and how radio success doesn’t always translate to the most important metric for an artist: Putting asses in seat.
“Sometimes it’s gonna take you a little longer than some folks. I mean, I moved to this town and people passed me up left and right getting publishing deals, getting record deals…
At the end of the day, sometimes slow and steady, you know, is better… I’ve been trying to do brick by brick, just one thing at a time because I want longevity. I don’t want to just be a flash in the pan, and I’m not doing that.“
It’s something we say all the time here at Whiskey Riff: The artists that earn fans on the road, playing the small shows in small towns, writing songs that connect, those are the ones that go down in the books as the best to do it. The artists that get one viral hit Tik Tok and think they’ve got it made just aren’t living in reality; there’s no shortcuts to the top.
It’s also through the grinding process that artists gain the life experience necessary to write songs that feel lived in. Theo says that “Heart Like A Truck” wouldn’t connect the same if Lainey was 24 years old, to which she gives the best quote of the whole interview in my opinion:
“I’ve been through some stuff. And I’m proud of it.”
Lainey Wilson is already a star, but hearing her thought process and knowing the story of how she got there gives me all the confidence in the world that she’s going to be around for a long, long time.