Hailey Whitters: From Cornfields to Country Success

Hailey Whitters was overwhelmed when she called from her Nashville home during an Uber ride to the Ryman Auditorium. The night before, the budding country singer performed there for the first time for Midland, and she will do it again after we talk. The swallowing of Ryman’s famous stage is a sure sign that an artist has arrived – something that Whitters clearly understands and appreciates.

“Ryman is very legendary,” Whitters said with surprise. “When people ask me what the venue on my bucket list is, it’s Ryman. So it’s very surreal – last night I was able to stand on that stage and sing, and it was a really emotional moment to see that dream come true. “

Opening for the Midlands through Christmas, the Whites will meet another goal of their careers – going on their first headlining tour, starting in Iowa, their birthplace, in February. “I’ve dreamed of doing that ever since a 15-passenger van changed graveyard with the band to go to the next gig,” he says. “I was dreaming, ‘How will my show be?’ So actually do that now, it’s very exciting. I am very proud of it, and I hope it is a great success. “

Whiters is one of the most exciting artists to emerge in the last few years. Her albums began in 2015 Kulangar, Dreams 2020 and in February Surviving the dream Maren Morris and Luke Combs have earned her brilliant reviews and opening slots. This year, he was honored with the CMT Award for Best Video of the Year for “Fillin ‘My Cup” (featuring Little Big Town) and in June he was nominated as the inaugural Opry NextStage artist.

Whiters has also built a reputation for collaborating well with other artists. That fame led to the invitation to co-write a song with Ruby Amanfu, Brandy Carlyle, Brandy Clark, Alicia Kiss, Hillary Lindsay, Laurie McKenna, and Linda Perry. Purpose? Encouraging people to vote in the 2020 elections. The result? “A Beautiful Noise”, then recorded by Alicia Keys and Brandy Carlyle, was nominated for a Grammy Song of the Year.

“I’m on the moon,” Whitters said of the Grammy nomination. “It’s a great honor and I’m excited to share that experience with my co-authors. Celebrating something like this with them is already a victory in my book. ”

(Credit: Harper Smith)

Although success seems to have come quickly for the Whiters, he actually started working to make it happen when he was still a child. “I grew up following the voices I heard on country radio, aspiring to be like Trisha Earwood and Alan Jackson,” he says. At the same time, his teachers noted his exceptional writing talent. It seemed natural to combine his skills and interests and become a singer-songwriter.

“Songwriting has become one of my primary passions,” Whitters said. “My mom brought me to Nashville when I was 15. It was the biggest city I’ve ever been to, and I’ve seen people stand with their guitars for tips on Broadway. That’s what I want to do for life – I’m moving to Nashville. ‘

As soon as he graduated from high school, Whitters did just that. Despite not knowing the single soul in Music City, he quickly lined up gigs, although it was a “crash course” in terms of performing. “To have the courage to give up everything you ever knew and to try a career nine hours away that you didn’t have an example of, I think it was a small to bold step for a 17-year-old girl. – City of Iowa, shortsighted “She is OK.

The success of Nashville did not make the Whiters forget his upbringing in Schweville, Iowa. “I like to go to the corn field behind my parents’ house. I take a bottle of wine, “she says.” I can see the beauty in the simple landscape and think about life sitting down. ” I like talking to people in my town. I get a lot of inspiration from real life experiences, ”he says.

Whitters’ interest in the story formed the basis of his songwriting. An example of this is his 2020 single “Janice at the Hotel Bar”. “It simply came to our notice then. And that’s my favorite thing about country music: these seem like real stories. They feel related and affect you and your outlook. There are obviously a lot of light things, especially on the radio these days. But the songs of the country where I grew up, the songs of the country I wanted to write, have depth. ”

Her voice became even more exuberant as Whitters came out of her Uber, indicating that her level of excitement has now increased several more notches that she is in the sanctuary. “I’m actually going to the Ryman Auditorium right now!” She says, in discomfort. She says goodbye so she can prepare for the big party – but still, she’s not forgetting her roots: “I’m going to my dressing room and wearing my corn skirt!”

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