Hailey Whitters is currently on her debut headline Heartland Tour, and recently released her highly anticipated third album RAISED.
Her debut EP, THE DREAM was one of the most critically-acclaimed country albums of 2020 and landed on more than 15 year-end “Best of” lists including #1 on both Stereogum’s “10 Best Country Albums of 2020” and Garden & Gun’s “Best Southern Albums of 2020” list.
Her subsequent deluxe album LIVING THE DREAM found Whitters’ self-fulfilling THE DREAM’s prophecy and enlisting her friends and collaborators Brent Cobb, Jordan Davis, Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, Little Big Town and Trisha Yearwood to appear on five new songs, leading NPR’s Fresh Air to call her “one of the most interesting voices in country music.”
In 2021 alone, Whitters toured with Luke Combs and Midland, was named the inaugural Opry NextStage Artist of the year, scored her first CMT Music Award nomination for “Breakthrough Video of the Year” (“Fillin’ My Cup” feat. Little Big Town) and received her first GRAMMY nomination for Song of the Year for “A Beautiful Noise” (performed by Alicia Keys and Brandi Carlile).
We had the opportunity to chat with Hailey about her new ablum, her creative process, career highlights and more.
Kat: The success you saw with your last record was monumental. When you decided to write the album you wanted to, did you think that level of success would be the outcome?
Hailey: I wasn’t really thinking “will this be successful” when I was making it – I tried not to think about that actually… I think it would’ve thrown me off mentally. All I really knew was that I could feel it, and I figured if I could somebody else might be able to too.
Kat: What was the most surprising thing to come out of the release of “The Dream”?
Hailey: I think being able to quit my day job and pursue music full time!
Kat: I’ve read somewhere that you said “If THE DREAM was my wings, then RAISED is my roots.” How did you reconnect with your roots in the process of writing “Raised”?
Hailey: Mentally my headspace was back in the cornfields I grew up in. I found myself lost in a lot of memories and nostalgia about my hometown and how I felt as a seventeen year old girl getting ready to leave all she’d ever known for Music City.
Kat: What do you hope fans take from the album?
Hailey: I hope that they can feel something in it; obviously the scenery is very Midwest driven because that was the lens I had to look through, but I hope that no matter where people are from, they can find something to take with them from this record.
Kat: What do you find is the most challenging part of your creative process?
Hailey: Having time, haha! I get so busy on the road I really need a hard reset and break from it to really be able to focus solely on the creative part – especially to be able to focus on the songwriter part.
Kat: What has been a career highlight for you so far? What have you learned along the way?
Hailey: It’s all been a highlight! There’s so many things I didn’t know I’d ever get to do – especially when I’d nearly given up on myself prior to Ten Year Town. Getting to play The Grand Ole Opry will always be a bucket list moment for me – it’s such a large part of the reason I’m still here today.
I’ve learned that everything will come and go, so you might as well enjoy where you’re at right here, right now. I try to soak up every minute and every milestone along the way – no matter how big or how small.
Kat: What’s next?
Hailey: Releasing this record, baby! Touring with Jon Pardi and Lainey Wilson this summer, which I am very excited about! I can’t wait for fans to hear this new music and hoping they’ll love it enough to come see it live this summer on tour.