RaeLynn, Maddie & Tae, Lauren Alaina and More Reveal the Best Advice They've Ever Received

Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and countless moms, sisters and grandmothers inspire today's women in country music

Photo: Katie Kauss

Country music is busting at the seams with talented ladies. Need we remind you that two of the five Best New Artist Grammy nominees are women in the country genre? We’re tipping our hats to you, Maren Morris and Kelsea Ballerini!

PEOPLE caught up with 23 buzz worthy women recently at CMT’s Next Women of Country event and they dished on the best advice they ever received from a woman in their life.


Katie Kauss

“I was talking to Dolly earlier this year – I don’t know if you know this, but I’m obsessed with Dolly Parton. I cried when I met her. So I was just asking her, what’s kept her from changing the person that she is? She goes, ‘You know, I look at success as such a blessing, and at the end of the day the people that matter to me are my family. I want to always stay the person that I am because when all this career is over with, I don’t want to look back and think I ever was somebody I wasn’t.’

She told me to always make sure I do check points on my life where I say, ‘Am I really happy? Am I the person that I want to be? Am I the woman I want to tell my girls that I was?’ Something about that meant a lot to me. She’s the best!”

Listen: “Love Triangle


Katie Kauss

“My mom told me to really trust the first voice in my head, because there are so many different variables around you and you can easily get led by what’s around you. A genuine human being and a true artist always trusts the voice in their own head and does whatever makes them feel authentic.”

Listen: “Find a Way”


Katie Kauss

Tae: “My mom told me ‘You just said, “Not sure why this is happening.” This is the time when you’re about to propel forward and God’s going to do great things in your life, because right now the Devil’s trying to trick you into thinking that life’s not good.’ She told me to recite the Lord’s Prayer.”

Maddie: “My mom told me, ‘Never allow someone steal your joy. Don’t let people have that much power over you. Stay positive and wear your smile and don’t let someone take it away just because they don’t have a smile.'”

Listen: “Carry You Home”


Katie Kauss

“To find out who you are and never sway from it. That’s what my mom tells me.”

Listen: “By the Way”


Katie Kauss

“My great grandma told me, ‘Never buy the cheap butter or sugar.'”

Listen: “Tacoma”


Katie Kauss

Carrie Underwood told me I should always wear shorts under my dresses on stage, and—literally even when I’m just going to dinner—I wear shorts under my dresses always now.”

Listen: “Road Less Traveled”


Katie Kauss

“I was lucky enough to hang out with Emmylou Harris during the Americana Awards and sat down and talked with her. We started talking about doing press and how all that goes. Her piece of advice to me was: ‘If anybody starts out a question with “Don’t you think,” they already have the story written—so even if you agree, you want to go the other way because they’re trying to get a certain answer out of you.’ That was one of the recent things I had heard. I adore her.”

Listen: “Hands of Time”



“My mom always told me to listen. ‘Listen to your elders, listen to your heart, people you respect.’ I think that’s really great advice. Simply put, but still strong.”

Listen: “This Old Thing”


Katie Kauss

“I was very close to my grandmother and I’m very close to my mom. I’m the only grandchild and only child and they always taught me to own myself, be confident, work hard and be kind.”

Listen: “Dare Ya”


Katie Kauss

“My mom [Lee Ann Womack] gave me some really great advice—that I should always be true to myself and make sure I focus on the music. Always make it about the music and not any other stuff that comes along with it.”

Listen: “Sit Here and Cry”


Katie Kauss

“My mom, when we were talking—I was calling her crying one night and I was like, ‘Eff my life, this is so hard, I want to be proud of everything I’ve done up to this point.’ And she said, ‘You should be proud of yourself. Live your life like you’re going to write a book and I’m never going to read it. I will be the most proud of you if you do that.'”

Listen: “Love Me More”


Katie Kauss

“My mom is such a huge influence in my life, always has been. She is one of the kindest souls I’ve even known in my life and she always taught me that whatever you do, be kind to every single person you meet, regardless of who they are, where they’re from, what they look like—always be kind. I think that’s really served me in life and in the business. I love being a part of this group of women supporting each other and lifting each other up.”

Listen: “World Still Round”


Katie Kauss

Jennifer Wayne: “My grandma told me, ‘If a man wants to be with you he’ll be with you. He’ll do whatever it takes to be with you.'”

Naomi Cooke: “My mom’s best friend—she’s like an aunt to me—says, ‘Always stand up for the absent.'”

Hannah Mulholland: “My mom told me once when I was a kid, ‘Mean people can act nice, but nice people can’t act mean.'”

Listen: “Lipstick”


Katie Kauss

“My mom told me, ‘You’re always going to feel guilty as a mom no matter what you do. You might as well just accept that, and that means you’re a good mom for feeling guilty. So therefore you’ve got to just learn that guilt is a part of being a woman and we shouldn’t put ourselves in a box to always feel we have to be a certain way. We need to embrace the good and the bad and stop feeling so damn guilty all the time.'”

Listen: “Sleepover”


Katie Kauss

“My friend Alaina told me, ‘Walk into the room like a man.'”

Listen: “Prime”


Katie Kauss

“My mother always tells me to believe in myself. That’s the best piece of advice she ever gave me.”

Listen: “Rebel”


Katie Kauss

Ashlee Hewitt: “My mom taught me to be kind to people and my grandma told me to always smile.”

Shelby McLeod: “My sister told me, ‘Be persistent and stubborn, because you’re gonna get what you want if you stick it out.'”

Whitney Duncan: “My mom told me to always be myself and just be confident.”

Listen: “Half Hearted”


Katie Kauss

“My crazy mom told me, ‘Treat others how you’d want to be treated.’ That’s always stuck with me—because why not.”

Listen: “Someone To Take Your Place”

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