The stars have aligned for singer-songwriter Lainey Wilson, whose distinct and honest brand of country music has made her one of the genre’s most talked-about newcomers.
The Louisiana-born performer was named breakout artist of the year during the CMT Artists of the Year special, which will air on CMT on Friday. Kane Brown, Luke Combs, Carly Pearce, Cody Johnson, and Walker Hayes were named artists of the year, and Alan Jackson won the CMT artist of a lifetime award at the pre-recorded ceremony.
Wilson, who has won a regular part on the hit show “Yellowstone” for the forthcoming season, claims that her success this year is due to hard work rather than chance.
“It feels like all of our hard work is finally paying off,” Wilson remarked before the CMT show’s taping on Wednesday. “I’ve worked here for 11 years and I really enjoy my job.” I enjoy country music. “I’ve never accepted ‘no’ for an answer.”
Wilson has, even more, to look forward to this fall, as she heads into the Country Music Association Awards in November as the leading nominee in her first year of being recognized. Wilson joins Glen Campbell, Brad Paisley, and Kacey Musgraves as the only artists in CMA history to receive six nominations in their debut year.
She’s already planning her red carpet look, which will most likely reflect her ’70s bohemian country style and includes a lot of vintage-type jewelry. Her new album “Bell Bottom Country” makes that abundantly evident.
“I’m a tremendous fan of anything retro. “I started wearing bellbottoms on a regular basis probably six or seven years ago because it felt the most authentic to me,” Wilson explained.
And she’s already planned her date.
“My daddy will be walking the CMA carpet with me,” she stated. “He’s been sick for a few months and is on the mend, so this has given him something to look forward to.”
Meanwhile, Pearce has been reminiscing on her past year, which was highlighted by the release of her critically acclaimed album “29: Written in Stone” in 2021.
Both the CMA and the Academy of Country Music recognized her female vocalist of the year, and her duet with Ashley McBryde, “Never Wanted to Be That Girl,” became an award-winning No. 1 country smash. She was honored in the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry last year.
“It’s been incredible,” Pearce stated before of the CMT Artists of the Year filming. “So I just want to make sure I don’t lose sight of those things and the childhood goals that have come true.”
Hayes’ viral song “Fancy Like” earned him his first Grammy nomination last year, introducing his pop-country sound to new audiences. Ciara, a pop singer, and model, met Hayes while hosting “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” and wanted to collaborate with him on a country song.
They’re collaborating on a new remix of “Y’All Life,” which will premiere on the TV special on Friday.
“I’m pinching myself right now that I’m here right now in this setting because it’s a special world and I’m so thrilled to be a part of it,” Ciara added, adding that her husband, NFL quarterback Russell Wilson, appreciated the new remix.
Hayes joked that he had been nominated many times but had never won anything, so he thanked his label, management, and family for always being there for him.
“It’s a lot of hard work from a terrific team that believes in something a little different,” he remarked. “My squad is deserving of this. My wife and children deserve it.”