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Who Is Lainey Wilson? Everything to Know About This Powerhouse Country Star

Learn all about the singer before she joins Macy's 4th of July Fireworks and Toby Keith: American Icon on NBC.

By Jessica White

With her trademark flared jeans and an infectious lineup of country hits, Lainey Wilson is one of the industry's biggest stars — and fans will have multiple opportunities to see her perform over the next few months on NBC and during her current tour as she counts down to the release of her new album in August.

How to Watch

Watch Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular on Thursday, July 4 at 8/7c on NBC and streaming on Peacock. 

Celebrated for her unique sonic blend of modern country and southern rock, Wilson always delivers a spectacular show. Her vulnerable lyricism and vibrant vocals have led to release several studio albums already and crush countless jaw-dropping performances.

RELATED: Kelly Clarkson and Lainey Wilson Are a Match Made in Heaven with This Country Duet

The country icon has also secured triple-threat status through her role on Yellowstone.

As Lainey continues to make waves within the country scene, fans can't wait to see what she does next. 

Lainey Wilson Singing at Macy's 4th of July Fireworks on NBC

Split of Mickey Guyton, Zuri Hall, and Lainey Wilson

Having charmed audiences during NBC's Christmas at Graceland in 2023, Wilson will return to NBC to perform on the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular.

Hosted by American Ninja Warrior sideline reporter Zuri Hall and Grammy-nominated Mickey Guyton, the 48th annual Macy's fireworks boasts musical performances, special guests, and a spectacular firework display bound to dazzle and delight. Wilson will take the stage against the stunning New York City backdrop — along with Amber Mark, Brandy Clark, Luis Fonsi, Mickey Guyton, Tanner Adell, and The War And Treaty.

RELATED: The Hosts & Performers for Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Special 2024

The Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular will air live on Thursday, July 4 (8-10 p.m. ET/PT) on NBC and Peacock. An encore presentation will air on NBC at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Lainey Wilson Singing on NBC's Toby Keith: American Icon

Toby Keith performs on stafe at the 2021 iHeartCountry Festival

NBC is hosting a two-hour concert celebration called Toby Keith: American Icon, to celebrate the country star in the wake of his February death. Featuring some of the nation's most cherished country acts, the concert special will be filmed in Nashville as his fellow artists come together to share their love for the legend and his music.

Wilson and Carrie Underwood will headline the concert, which will also feature performances from fellow country stars Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Ashley McBryde, Parker McCollum, Jelly Roll, Darius Rucker, and The War And Treaty.

Toby Keith: American Icon will air on NBC on Wednesday, August 28, at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Fans interested in attending the live concert can purchase tickets on Ticketmaster beginning June 28.  

Lainey Wilson's Country's Cool Again Concert Tour

Wilson will spend a large chunk of 2024 on the road rocking out with fans on her Country's Cool Again tour. The tour includes shows nationwide and runs from May to November 2024.

“Nothing gets me buzzin’ like putting on a show and singing along with the crowd,” Wilson said in a statement (via Live Nation Entertainment). “I want to give a big thank you to all of the fans who have continuously showed up and showed out this year. We can’t wait to see you nationwide on the 'Country’s Cool Again' Tour!"

Fans can purchase tickets to see Wilson on her official website.

Lainey Wilson's Upcoming Album Whirlwind

Wilson's latest project is her August 2024 studio release, Whirlwind, which focuses on her "whirlwind" experience of becoming a genre icon. Ahead of the album, Wilson released "Out of Oklahoma," which is featured on the Twisters soundtrack.

"The last two years of my life, especially, it’s been a whirlwind, and that’s the name of the record. I was like, ‘We have to name the record Whirlwind because that’s what it’s been,’” Wilson explained on TODAY. “But [I’m] trying to keep one foot on the ground. I feel like my life has changed, but I haven’t, and I think that’s because I keep my people close.”

But how did this now-celebrated artist achieve this level of success? Keep reading to look back at her rise to stardom.

How Lainey Wilson went from Hannah Montana impersonator to recording her first album

Lainey Wilson performS at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Born in 1992 in Baskin, Louisiana, Wilson's love for country music began young.

She sang publicly for the first time at her kindergarten graduation and wrote her first song before she turned 10, she told TODAY's Jenna Bush Hager and Hoda Kotb, adding that her grandmother sparked her love for music.

"I just felt at home onstage, and I knew that this was something I wanted to do," Wilson told Songwriter Universe in June 2021. "Then, when I was 11, my daddy showed me a few chords on the guitar, and that opened the door for my songwriting. And around that time, my parents and I drove through Nashville, and they took me to the Grand Ole Opry. And I remember having an overwhelming feeling that Nashville is where I’m supposed to be."

One of Wilson's earliest gigs was as a Hannah Montana impersonator: Throughout high school, she performed the Hannah Montana soundtrack across the South as a version of Miley Cyrus' iconic alter ego. On several occasions, Wilson would open her Hannah Montana act with performances of her original songs.

“I’d be like, ‘Can Lainey Wilson open the show?’” Wilson recalled in her December 2021 Rolling Stone interview. “They’d be like, ‘Who’s Lainey?’ I’d be like, ‘The person you hired to be Hannah Montana!’”

RELATED: Inside Lainey Wilson’s Romance with Former NFL Player Devlin Hodges

Wilson crossed off her dream of moving to Nashville following high school, honing her craft in honky-tonks around the city. For several years, Wilson lived in a camper trailer in the parking lot of a recording studio owned by a family friend as she found her footing in the industry.

Lainey Wilson performs at The Basement

"There’s a lot of days I probably should have hooked it up and drove it back to Baskin," Wilson told Rolling Stone. "I guess I am a little borderline crazy because it never crossed my mind, even on those dark days where I felt like I could not get my foot in the door [no] matter what I did. It wasn’t until year seven that I signed a publishing deal."

While performing various shows around the city, Wilson released a self-titled album in 2014 and later scored a deal with the label Lone Chief.

Lainey Wilson holds a belt buckle on the voice finale part 2

Was Lainey Wilson on The Voice?

Wilson tried out for The Voice, but didn't make it to Blind Auditions. She also tried out for American Idol several times.

"I finally made it on American Idol," Wilson said while co-hosting Country Countdown USA in May 2023 after performing on the American Idol Season 21 finale. "I tried out seven times... never made it past the first round."

"I also tried out for The Voice," she added. "I'm grateful my story ended the way that it did."

She later performed at The Voice Season 25 finale, delivering a show-stopping performance of "Hang Tight Honey" from Whirlwind in May 2024.

Following the performance, Coach Reba McEntire joined Wilson onstage with an invitation to the Grand Ole Opry.

“I have heard that I’ve inspired you and what you’ve done so far, and I am thrilled if I had anything to do with your career because you are blowing it up...” McEntire told a tearful Wilson. “I couldn’t be more proud to be the one that helps you continue to bridge the gap between our generations, keep them all going. I’d like to be the person to invite you to be an official member of the Grand Ole Opry.”

RELATED: Inside the Moment Reba Gave Lainey Wilson a Grand Ole Opry Invite on The Voice

Wilson later discussed the milestone moment on TODAY With Hoda & Jenna ahead of her performance for the Citi Summer Concert Series. Wilson revealed that she had no clue what McEntire was going to give her after her performance.

“My birthday was, like, a couple days before this, and I thought maybe she was bringing me out a cupcake or something,” Wilson revealed. “And I thought, ‘Dang, Reba’s giving me a cupcake. That’s so cool.’ And then next thing I know, she’s got this belt buckle."

Lainey Wilson Performs "Hang Tight Honey" | The Voice Finale | NBC

Lainey Wilson's Tougher and Self-Titled EP

Wilson hit the country music charts in 2016 with her sophomore studio album, Tougher. The 10-track album was a collaboration between Wilson and producer Frank Foster and peaked at No. 44 on Billboard's Top Country Albums.

Wilson followed up the album in 2018 with a self-titled EP of six new singles. While Wilson was still polishing her sonic brand during these releases, the "Tougher" singer fondly reflects on them.

"It’s so cool to go back and listen to the music that I put out years ago," Wilson told Songwriter Universe. "I’m proud of how far I’ve come, and I’m seeing that growth in my writing. But more importantly, just me as a human, the more life you live, the better songs you write."

Lainey Wilson's Songs: "Things a Man Oughta Know" and Sayin' What I'm Thinkin' 

After signing with Broken Bow Records in 2018, Wilson skyrocketed to success with the 2020 release of "Things a Man Oughta Know." The track is regarded as Wilson's breakout single after it soared to the top of the country charts, peaking at No. 1 spot on Billboard Country Airplay and No. 3 on Hot Country Songs.

Wilson's third studio album, 2021's Sayin' What I'm Thinkin', featured the smash single.

Wilson's third album featured several critically acclaimed singles, such as "LA" — a nod to her Louisiana roots—and "WWDD," a song centered around her god-tier respect for Dolly Parton.

Lainey Wilson's Bell Bottom Countr

Wilson gained even more momentum with her 2022 album, Bell Bottom Country. Wilson teased the album's release with the lead single "Heart Like a Truck," which peaked at No. 16 on Billboard's Country Airplay charts. The album is celebrated for its infectious combination of 70s funk and country-rock, with the singles "Wildflowers and Wild Horses" and "Watermelon Moonshine" creating a holy trinity of country-fried hits.

Not only did Wilson have a hand in writing the entirety of the album's 16-track lineup, but she also recorded a cover of 4 Non Blondes' energizing hit "What's Up? (What's Going On?)" for the release. The album's title is inspired by Wilson's affinity for bell-bottom pants and unique country sound.

"Sure, I love a good pair of bell bottoms, but Bell Bottom Country, to me, has always been about the flare and what makes someone unique — I have really embraced mine, and I hope y'all can hear that across this project," Wilson told Taste of Country.

Bell Bottom Country was a grand slam, winning Best Country Album at the 66th Grammy Awards — her first career Grammy. The album also earned several other honors, including Album of the Year at the 58th Academy of Country Music Awards and 57th Annual Country Music Association Awards.

Lainey Wilson onset of Yellowstone Season 5.

Was Lainey Wilson on Yellowstone?

Wilson made her acting debut in Season 5 of Yellowstone, guest starred in four Season 5 episodes as Abby, an aspiring country star who fell in love with rancher heart-throb Ryan (Ian Bohen).

Series co-creator Taylor Sheridan wrote the role specifically for Wilson, who performed "Watermelon Moonshine" as the free-spirited Abby in an episode and appeared on the show's soundtrack. 

"(Sheridan) said he wanted me to pretty much be myself, which is a dream come true, especially when you're trying to introduce yourself to people," Wilson told USA Today in December 2022.  "All I got from him at that time was that I would play a musician who would fall in love with one of the boys. He didn't even tell me which one."

Lainey Wilson's Awards

Lainey Wilson accepts the Best Country Album award for “Bell Bottom Country”

Wilson has won six Academy of Country Music Awards since 2022, taking home 2022's New Female Artist and sweeping the 2023 ceremony by winning Album of the Year, Female Artist of the Year, Music Event of the Year, and Visual Media of the Year.

She's also won seven Country Music Association Awards throughout her tenure, including Entertainer of the Year in 2023. (The last female artist to score this honor was Taylor Swift in 2011.)

In 2024, Wilson won Best Country Album at the 66th Grammy Awards for Bell Bottom Country. She previously scored a Grammy nomination for Best Country Duo/Group Performance with Jelly Roll for their 2023 performance of "Save Me" at the 58th Academy of Country Music Awards.

RELATED: Jelly Roll & Lainey Wilson's Live Performance of "Save Me" Is So Raw

Wilson was formally inducted into the Opry in June 2024.

After winning four ACMAs in 2023, Wilson chatted with People about her winding road to fame.

"All I ever wanted was to be part of the country music industry. I remember just dreaming about that, like, 'Oh my gosh, it would be so cool to just know these people and call them and get advice,'" Wilson explained. "I feel like country music has finally decided to love me back as much as I've been loving it for my whole life. It feels good to be recognized."