After a Whirlwind Year, Lainey Wilson’s New Year’s Resolution is Meeting Her Fans

Reigning CMA New Artist of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year Lainey Wilson closed out 2022 with a performance at New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash on CBS. Ahead of her set at The Stage on lower Broadway, Wilson spoke with American Songwriter about her whirlwind year, Yellowstone debut, and her personal New Year’s resolution.

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“I feel like I’m right where I’m supposed to be,” she tells American Songwriter. “I feel like all the hard work is starting to pay off.”

[RELATED: Lainey Wilson “Flares” Out With Bell Bottom Country]

And pay off it has. Wilson, who also was crowned ACM New Female Artist of the Year and won ACM Song of the Year for “Things a Man Oughta Know” in 2022, saw three singles in the top 15. “Never Say Never,” her duet with Cole Swindell, hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart in April. “Wait in the Truck,” her collaboration with HARDY, is No. 15, while her current single, “Heart Like a Truck,” is No. 13 and rising on the country charts.

Wilson performed “Heart Like a Truck” during the New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash CBS broadcast. She says the song is moving a lot faster than she had anticipated.

“It’s an anthem and I feel like we need to start 2023 feeling like we do have a ‘Heart Like a Truck,’” she says. “Of, course the year’s not gonna be perfect. You’re gonna hit a few bumps, you’re gonna get a few scratches and dents, but keep on truckin.’”

The singer describes 2022 as the “best year and hardest year” of her life. While her numerous awards, a role on Yellowstone, and her critically acclaimed sophomore album, Bell Bottom Country, were professional highlights, her personal life took a hit. Wilson’s father suffered from a fungal infection, underwent nine surgeries, and had a stroke.

“Personally, it was the worst,” she says softly. “I mean, we thought we were gonna lose him. We told him bye several times. … But he’s a tough son of a gun. And I’ll tell you what, ‘Heart Like a Truck’ has a completely different meaning.

“If anybody has a heart like a truck, it is him, and he taught me how to have one, and I wrote that for anybody and everybody who’s been through anything,” she continues. “While I was going through that with my family, I was having to get up on stage every single night when I thought we were losing him, and I was having to sing that song. I had to muster up every ounce of courage I had left in my body to get up there and do it, but I was doing it for them and him.”

The Louisiana native’s year turned around when her father recovered and was able to walk her down the red carpet at the CMA Awards in November. He also witnessed his daughter take home two trophies and perform at the show. “It’s been a wild year,” she says. “A lot of blessings. Family is everything.”

Wilson shows no sign of slowing down as she kicks off 2023 with a sold-out headlining tour. She launches the Country With a Flare Tour on Wednesday (Jan. 4), in Spokane, Washington. The trek runs through March 31 and ends in Columbus, Ohio.

The singer says her New Year’s resolution is to meet the people that became fans of hers throughout the pandemic.

“I haven’t gotten to shake their hand and hug their neck and thank them for putting me in a position like this,” she says. “At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about: It’s about the people, it’s about the fans. I would not be here without them, and I feel this genuine support and love from them right now.”

Those who haven’t gotten to meet the singer in person, have been able to watch her on season five of Yellowstone. After having several songs featured in past seasons, Wilson made her on-screen debut in 2022 as the character Abby, also a musician. Wilson, who had a watch party for her Yellowstone debut with fans on TikTok, admits that it was weird knowing that millions of people were watching the episode at the same time.

“It’s such a blessing and you can’t try for things to work out the way that they have,” she admits. “The record came out, the CMA Awards happened, I made my debut on Yellowstone … you can’t even plan for stuff like this. I truly believe it’s a gift from God and I won’t forget that.”

As Wilson optimistically looks toward the year ahead, she admits it’s time to set some new career goals.

“I feel like we are accomplishing things right now that I thought were gonna be years down the road,” she says. “It feels like I’m having to start dreaming a little bit bigger, trying to figure out what those dreams are. Everything that we set our mind to this past year we have accomplished and that’s pretty cool to think about that.”

(Photo by Alysse Gafkjen/Courtesy BBR Music Group)

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