Why Lainey Wilson Is the Country Singer to Watch at the 2022 CMA Awards and Beyond

In an exclusive interview with E! News before the 2022 CMA Awards, Lainey Wilson celebrated her rise in country music and the album that could change everything.

By Mike Vulpo Nov 09, 2022 1:30 PMTags
Watch: Lainey Wilson Relives Her Hannah Montana Days at BBMAs 2022

Here's something you outta know about Lainey Wilson.

When she was just 19 years old, the Louisiana native packed her bags and traveled in a camper trailer to Nashville with a big dream of seeing her name in lights. 

"I thought I was gonna hit it big right away," she told E! News in an exclusive interview. "Nobody could tell me no. I realized real quick that it was actually going to take me a while. For some reason, I feel like time was a part of my story."

And now, it's her time to shine!

At the 2022 CMA Awards on Nov. 9, the 30-year-old country singer could walk away with more awards than any other artist thanks to her six nominations including Album of the Year and New Artist of the Year.

"The crazy thing is when I take a few steps back and I look at it even from a year ago, we have come a very long way in a really short amount of time," Lainey said. "A few people have asked me, ‘Can you believe it?' And the truth is yes, because for the longest time, I was the only one who believed it."

Musicians Performing Live on Stage

After she landed in Nashville, Lainey worked seven years to sign a publishing deal and eight years to obtain a record deal. But through the entire process, the "Heart Like a Truck" singer said she stayed true to herself and created music that she can be proud of.

Alysse Gafkjen

"During the pandemic, I wrote more than 300 songs and I feel like during that time, I just grew a lot," she said. "I'm finding out a little bit more about myself every single day. The older I get, the more stories I have to tell and the more things I have experienced."

In her new album Bell Bottom Country, Lainey presents 14 tracks that showcase her makeup as a woman who is vulnerable, empowering and real. When fans hear the body of music, Lainey hopes it inspires listeners to be unapologetically themselves.

"It's about finding that thing that makes you you and different and leaning into it as much as you possibly can," she said. "It could be where you're from, the way you were raised, the way you talk, the way you look. Whatever it is, it's just about leaning into that as much as you possibly can and being like this is it. What you see is what you get."

Before kicking off her headlining Country With a Flare tour in January 2023, Lainey is taking a moment to celebrate all of her accomplishments and give her younger self credit for dreaming big when she arrived in Nashville.

"If I could go back and talk to that girl, I would say hang in there," she said. "Don't let anybody tell you no. Be kind to everybody. Work hard. Roll your sleeves up. Don't worry about what so and so is doing next to you that's working because timing is truly everything. It's going to work out and it's gonna be bigger and better than you could have ever even imagined." 

The 2022 CMA Awards airs Nov. 9 at 8 p.m. on ABC.

For the latest breaking news updates, click here to download the E! News App