Lainey Wilson Reveals Team Of Artists Blazing New Trails For Rising Stars

Photo: Alysse Gafjken

Lainey Wilson is joining forces with a team of powerhouse artists to help boost the careers of budding singer-songwriters. The “Heart Like A Truck” star and Yellowstone actress is slated to work with Ashley McBryde, Jimmie Allen, Dustin Lynch and Kat & Alex, in addition to Opry Entertainment Group, to kickstart the Emerging Artists Program.

The yearlong program aims to “discover and elevate” the next wave of rising talent in the country music industry, with mentorship from Wilson and the rest of the group. The Baskin, Louisiana-born singer-songwriter is set to curate the program for up-and-coming voices — using both the “highlights” and the “rough moments” she’s experienced in her own career to help others move forward — through her recently-established work as an ambassador with Tractor Supply, aiming to spearhead a program with emerging artists who capture an authentic lifestyle through their music. Wilson announced that submissions to the program were open as she marked the three-year anniversary of her Grand Ole Opry debut.

Wilson will curate the program, joined by the team of other artists. Emerging artists can submit an original song inspired by an authentic, “life out here” lifestyle, through March 15, and five will be selected in May and paired with a mentor. The final five emerging artists will travel to Nashville, Tennessee, working with their mentors and recording their music in a studio, meeting with industry execs and opening for Wilson in an exclusive event in Music City in June, per a press release issued Thursday morning (February 16). They’ll also kick off an Opry Entertainment Group series at Blake Shelton’s Ole Red on Lower Broadway in Downtown Nashville, Tennessee (“Ole Red on the Rise Presented by Tractor Supply”), and this fall, the five emerging artists will also perform alongside Wilson on the legendary Grand Ole Opry stage.

“It really hits home that I get to help an aspiring artist through this program,” Wilson said. “I’m so excited to guide my mentee through this complex music industry as best I can, and I hope we get to build a relationship that lasts a long time. I always say I only take advice from people around me who are where I want to be, so I’m hopeful I can be that person for somebody else through Tractor Supply’s program.”

Wilson echoed the same sentiment speaking with iHeartRadio in late 2022, reflecting on a watershed year in her own career as she was gearing up to lead the program but didn’t have her team of mentors selected yet. At that time, she even credited McBryde (along with Miranda Lambert and others) with believing in her and encouraging her throughout her own career.

“If I can save them [rising artists] any time or energy or heartache or whatever, I wanna do that because this is hard. It ain't cut out for everybody, and that's the brutal truth,” Wilson told iHeartRadio at that time. “You know, I have people ask me all the time, they're like, ‘what advice would you give me if I wanted to move to Nashville and be a singer/songwriter?’ And my first question is, ‘can you imagine yourself doing anything else?’ And if you can, then you need to go do that because this right here needs to be the only thing, the only option that you have.

“I wanna be able to be a sounding board for these people. I want to be able to be a cheerleader,” Wilson continued. “And after the program, too, these are relationships. I believe when you create relationships with people, it ain't just, ‘here today, gone tomorrow.’ …Call me anytime that you want to, because you've gotta have people like that in your corner, no matter what. …I'm just glad to be involved and I'm glad to just hopefully make some dreams come true.”

Photo: Submitted