As She Sets Her Sights on Her First No. 1, Lainey Wilson Reflects on the Life She Once Led on 'Two Story House'
"Everybody wants what they don't have. I mean, I love where I come from. Louisiana made me who I am," the country singer-songwriter tells PEOPLE
When Lainey Wilson walks into the room, you damn well know it.
At first, one notices the fringe hanging from her vest, the bell-bottoms flaring out from her ankles, the dark sunglasses over her eyes. But then she speaks in her Louisiana twang about the dreams she once had and the dreams she still wants to make true, and it is that moment when you realize that you are speaking to not just another country music wannabe.
You just might be talking to a future legend.
"I moved to Nashville 10 years ago and there was never a time I didn't think it wouldn't work," the "Things a Man Oughta Know" hitmaker, 29, tells PEOPLE just steps from the Windy City Smokeout stage she just had stepped off of. "There were plenty of times when I probably should have packed my stuff and go home. But I never did. I'm hard-headed. I'm a Taurus."
She lets out a hearty laugh, and then looks down. "Jeez…the button on my pants just flew off."
The wardrobe malfunction doesn't faze her much, because not much does.
A native of a Louisiana town of 300 people, Wilson grew up in a house with no insulation and a house so small that she and her sister Janna lived in a portable building that their parents ended up adding to its side. It was there within that portable building that Wilson shared a room with her sister.
"I remember that the bedroom walls were pink, and there was stuff strewn everywhere," Wilson recalls with a slight laugh. "If our parents told us to clean up our room, we would just shove it all under the bed. Everything that was hers was mine, or at least that's what I thought."
And in April of 2017, as Wilson found herself fledgling within the Nashville songwriting community, hoping and praying to find sturdy footing within a shaky industry, she also found herself going to back to those sweet days sharing a bedroom with her sister.
And "Two Story House" was born.
"It was one of those songs that would just never go away," says Wilson of the tearjerker that's premiering exclusively on PEOPLE. "I pay close attention to songs that stand the test of time. I would play it at writers' rounds and people would start crying, and it's like the song just kept raising its hand. It's a special one."
And as Wilson finds her star value getting brighter with every second and "Things a Man Oughta Know" inching toward that coveted No. 1 spot on the country music charts, she has finally conjured up the courage to let the so very personal song out into the world.
"My sister and I shared the same bedroom and shared the same clothes and we were taught all the same lessons," remembers Wilson, whose current album Sayin' What I'm Thinkin' was quick to receive critical acclaim upon its release earlier this year. "I mean, if she got a butt-whooping, so did I."
But despite sharing a foundation, the two had drastically different dreams.
"She's an accountant with two babies and a dog and a husband … and here I am," Wilson says with a shrug. "Everyone has a dream. Some people's dream is to be an accountant and have babies. And it's so weird because I look at people back home and think to myself, 'They have it made.' But they probably look at me and think the same thing."
She adds, "Everybody wants what they don't have. I mean, I love where I come from. Louisiana made me who I am. I just had better fish to fry."
Mere days before the release of "Two Story House," Wilson was still reluctant to play the song for her sister.
"I don't think she has heard it," Wilson admits. "She is one of those people who don't show a whole lot of emotion, but I think as we get older, she is getting a little softer."
But that changed recently, as seen in an Instagram post earlier this week, where utilizing the magic of technology, the two sisters told their story before the world would hear it on "Two Story House."
"We grew up so close," Wilson concludes. "Like the lyrics of the song say, we grew up in the same bedroom looking out the window hanging up clothes on the same line. Everyone has a different story. And yeah, everyone I graduated with is married and has babies. But this is my story. This is my route. And I have a sense of peace that I'm making the right decision."
- Iman on the Importance of Vaccine Equity: 'We're Stronger When We Come Together and Share Resources'
- Tiffani Thiessen Says Family Cabin Is in the Path of 'Dangerous' Wildfire: 'My Heart is Heavy'
- Willie Garson Opened Up About His 'Close' Relationship with Son Nathen 10 Months Before His Death
- Tarek El Moussa Reveals His Original Wedding Plans & Why They 'Completely Changed'