Lainey Wilson Details Her Days Performing as a ‘Hannah Montana’ Impersonator

Throughout eighth grade and into high school, Lainey Wilson began impersonating Hannah Montana, the fictitious musical character played by Miley Cyrus on the Disney Channel from 2006 through 2011.

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“It’s going to be crazy when I meet Miley,” said Wilson in a 2022 interview, “and be ‘Hey by the way, thank you because girl I was making some bank in high school.’”

After Wilson’s father taught her how to play a few chords on guitar, she took a few lessons and started playing more seriously by the age of 11. “And then it really kind of became one of those things, just even as a child, it just grabbed ahold of me and would not let go,” revealed Wilson in a recent interview on Trailblazers Radio with Fancy Hagood on Apple Country Music. “I did extracurricular activities like all the other kids did, and I cheered and played basketball. I wasn’t no good at any of it, but I would go home, and I would play music and I just loved it. It had become a part of me.”

Growing up in the rural town of Baskin, Louisiana, Wilson’s father was a farmer, and she would help him grow corn, oats, soybeans, wheat, and other crops. Along with his guitar playing, her mother loved dancing and music, and Wilson would also attend some bluegrass festivals with her grandparents.

Once Wilson began exploring music, she also started impersonating Cyrus’ character and eventually got booked as the character to perform at birthday parties and other events for five years.

“I started impersonating ‘Hannah Montana’ in eighth grade through 12th grade, and I would open up for myself a lot of the time,” shared Wilson. “I would do three or four birthday parties a weekend. I’ve been booked, and actually, it was funny, because for five years of doing ‘Hannah Montana,’ I was booked and busy. Then when I got to Nashville, for the next 12 years, I wasn’t booked and busy, so [it was] a lot of highs and lows, but I did that for a long time.”

Around the time of her Hannah Montana gigs, Wilson also began a cover band called the Cadillac Kings, which also helped her realize her dreams. The band would play gigs for hours, even though they were underage for most of the venues they played.   

“I wasn’t even old enough to really be in those places, but we would do four-hour gigs, and I did that for a few years, and then I kind of figured ‘I’m really going to do this thing like I knew I wanted to,” shared Wilson.

Before moving to Nashville in 2011, Wilson said she always knew it would be her “home” one day.

“[The] first time I drove through Nashville, I was nine,” says Wilson. “The same year I wrote my first song, and I just knew. I remember exactly where I was on the interstate when I told my mama and daddy. I said, ‘This is home.’”

This year has been a groundbreaking one for Wilson, following the release of her fourth album Bell Bottom Country in 2022 and the success of her hit “Heart Like a Truck.”

Earlier in the year, Wilson won the ACM for Album of the Year for Bell Bottom Country, in addition to winning Female Artist of the Year. Wilson also picked up two CMT Awards for Collaborative Video of the Year for “wait in the truck” with HARDY and Female Video of the Year for “Heart Like a Truck, along with being named Best New Country Artist at the 2023 iHeartRadio Music Awards.

Photo by Jeff Schear/Getty Images for Axios After Hours Presented By Live Nation

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