Lainey Wilson Celebrates Emerging Artists At Grand Ole Opry

Country Music, Country Music News, Lainey Wilson, News

Over the last decade, country singer Lainey Wilson left her mark in Nashville by landing a number-one hit, winning New Female Artist of the Year at the CMT Music Awards, and winning Album of the Year with Bell Bottom Country in 2023. But beyond all the accolades, Wilson, like most country singers, holds performing at the Grand Ole Opry a milestone that none ever forget. For Wilson, she jumps at any opportunity to perform on the sacred stage. And on Wednesday, the “Watermelon Moonshine” singer not only performed at the Grand Ole Opry but celebrated Tractor Supply’s Emerging Artists.

Sitting in the dressing room at Little Jimmy Dickens, Lainey Wilson admitted that she jumps at the chance to sing at the Grand Ole Opry.  “It is such an honor every time I get to stand in that circle. But it’s super special tonight because I’m very proud to be a part of the Tractor Supply ‘Emerging Artists Program.’”

Recalling her own struggles, she added, “I remember a time in my life, in my career, when I moved here in my camper and I was looking for things like this. I was looking for a mentor, pretty much just somebody who could kind of show me the ropes, tell me what to do, what not to do.”

Lainey Wilson Remembers Her Mentor

For Lainey Wilson, that help came in the form of Ashley McBryde. The singer noted that she was opening shows for McBryde when she explained to Wilson, “‘I want to help you over that wall, but you got to promise me that when you find somebody that you love and believe in as much as I do that you do the same.’”

Lainey Wilson believes she is doing just that for the Emerging Artists Program. Before artists met with mentors like Wilson, Dustin Lynch, Lauren Alaina, and Ashley McBryde, they had to compete with nearly 900 other artists hoping to win a spot.

In May, the program picked a select few, Hailey Verhaalen, Drew Hale, Cossete Smith, and Austin McNeill, and welcomed them to Nashville by letting them record, talk with studio executives, and eventually meet their mentors like Wilson.

Wilson praised the singers, admitting, “You can tell that they’ve got the music bug and they’re eat up with it and they want to do anything to give it a shot. And I think what Tractor Supply is doing is great.”

Not The End But The Beginning

On Wednesday, just before taking the stage, one of the emerging artists, Austin McNeill said, “It’s kind of overwhelming to think about what we’re going to do…We’re going to be on stage playing in front of everyone. It’s kind of surreal.”

At the end of the ceremony, mentors Lainey Wilson and Lauren Alaina joined new artists Hailey Verhaalen, Drew Hale, Cossete Smith, and Austin McNeill on the stage to perform “Will the Circle be Unbroken.” Hale called the performance not the end of an era but the start of one.

Have you ever visited the Grand Ole Opry? If so, share your experience in the comment section below.

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