10 hours ago
Lainey Wilson and her family have driven from Louisiana to Nashville almost every year since she was 14 to attend the CMT Music Awards.
This year, she will be there as a star performer and nominated twice.
“Oh my God, this is a great moment,” Wilson said. Dressed in a shimmering silver jacket and her signature flares, Wilson lounges in a backstage dressing room at the Grand Ole Opry House, awaiting her turn to practice with the Opry band. “I always dreamed of having a great performance and being part of the show. And here we are.”
Wilson and his duet partner Cole Swindell are nominated for the evening’s highest honor, video of the year, as well as collaborative video of the year, for their Top 5 (and climbing) duet “Never Say Never “. The powerful and passionate call-and-response ballad is taken from Swindell’s new album “Stereotype,” which is out now.
“Never Say Never” is an answered prayer for Wilson. Her breakthrough hit “Things a Man Oughta Know” was months away from becoming her first No. 1 song, and she was worried about her next career move. She began praying about what music to release next, and Swindell texted her “Never Say Never” soon after. He told her that he had written it with Chase McGill and Jessi Alexander years before and was just waiting for the right person to sing it with.
“I listened to the first verse and the chorus, and it stopped me in my tracks,” Wilson said. “It made me feel something deep inside. I want to be a part of stuff like that. I said, ‘Man, sign me up.’
She marvels at how quickly the song continues to succeed – and the universal adoration “Never Say Never” enjoys. It took 40 weeks for “Things a Man Oughta Know” to hit No. 1, but “Never Say Never” hit the Top 5 in just 20 weeks.
“I’m used to climbing walls trying to gain momentum,” she says. “And this thing just grew a pair of wings. People love him on all levels. There was not a single negative comment on the song, which is rare. I don’t know how I will ever be able to thank (Cole) because it’s been a blessing to my journey.
If Wilson’s trend continues, she and Swindell will add a few trophies from the 2022 CMT Music Awards to their shelves Monday night. She usually doesn’t leave awards shows empty-handed. Wilson recently won Song of the Year and New Female Artist of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards and Best New Country Artist at the IHEARTRADIO Music Awards.
“To be recognized is all I wanted,” Wilson said. “I wanted to be recognized and start winning stuff in the world. It was a dream come true.
Wilson has been chasing that dream in Nashville for 11 years, but she’s been dreaming about it since she was a kid. She wrote her first song when she was nine and has been playing in bars since she was 17. Her job in high school was to impersonate Hannah Montana. She remembers her mom spending countless hours sitting in the bathroom where the acoustics were the best, listening to her sing.
“I have a supportive family,” she said. “They helped me buy my trailer when I moved to Nashville. They just went above and beyond. It’s really that thing we got to celebrate together.
Hosted by Kelsea Ballerini and Anthony Mackie, the 2022 CMT Music Awards will air live from Nashville at 8 p.m. ET Monday on CBS.