Hailey Whitters tells PEOPLE she wrote "Janice at the Hotel Bar" about "the women in our lives who have made a lasting impression on us"

By Brianne Tracy
July 08, 2020 10:00 AM
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Hailey Whitters is bringing "Janice at the Hotel Bar" to life.

In the dream-like new music video for the gentle ballad, premiering exclusively on PEOPLE, the rising country singer-songwriter felt it was "important" to keep things "as rich visually as [the song] is lyrically" since it was written "based on a real encounter with an 80-something-year-old woman named Janice."

Directed by Erica Silverman in partnership with creative director Harper Smith, the music video begins with Whitters explaining, "I met a woman named Janice at a bar one day, and this is what she told me."

As Whitters launches into the song, a montage of a family's home videos is shown to represent a red-haired Janice through earlier stages of her life. Then, Whitters can be seen sitting at a bar with present-day Janice as she imparts her hard-earned advice over a glass of red wine.

"Erica and Harper were able to capture the individual eccentricities that make up the collective female experience in living a life well-lived," Whitters, 30, tells PEOPLE. "My grandma always told me 'a glass of red a day is good for the heart.'"

"There's also a 94-year-old woman in my hometown who still mows her own lawn and outshines our entire community with her Christmas light display each year," she continues. "This song is about paying homage to the women who came before us and raised us to be the people we are today."

Hailey Whitters
Harper Smith

Whitters adds that she wrote "Janice at the Hotel Bar" with Lori McKenna "about the women in our lives who have made a lasting impression on us."

In the chorus of the song, Whitters sings Janice's advice, "Stay off the pills/But get on the pill if you ain't ready to start a family/And pay all your bills/But give some away/All that money won't make you happy/Make good love, good company/Drink good wine, make good coffee/Keep your chin up, but every once in a while have a good cry/Go on and make a good livin' girl/But don't forget to make a good life."

Hailey Whitters
Harper Smith

"Janice at the Hotel Bar" was released off the Iowa-born, Nashville-based artist's critically-acclaimed album, The Dream, earlier this year.

Originally self-released off of Whitters' label Pigasus Records, The Dream is now being promoted by Big Loud Records / Songs & Daughters, Nashville’s first-of-its-kind female-driven label formed by 2019 BMI Songwriter of the Year Nicolle Galyon and Big Loud Records.

"To me, Hailey represents the heart of my favorite kind of Nashville success story," Galyon previously said in a statement. "She's had the tenacity to master her craft for 12 years, the gift to turn that into compelling music, and the authenticity to win over the Music Row community with a record she made all on her own. I'm honored to get to be a small part of the incredible story she's writing."