Tough Love From Miranda Lambert Paved RaeLynn’s Path to Success
A seminal day in RaeLynn's life and career came not long after she released her first single, 'Boyfriend.' The song caught fire with fans who cheered loudly for her on 'The Voice,' but hardly made a dent on radio charts. Still, the Texan wanted to keep pushing forward.
I never wanna be a lukewarm artist. I always wanna be a hot or cold artist.
It was a "strike while the iron's hot" mentality married to a young artist's natural lack of patience that led to disappointment, frustration and an important conversation with Miranda Lambert. Ten years earlier the 'Automatic' singer had been there. She was the blonde teen from Texas fresh off a reality show forced to wait (and wait ... and wait ...) for her first album to appear on the racks at Walmart.
"Miranda told me, I’ll never forget this, ‘You can only jump out of a plane once and only get to have your first record out once, and you want it to be a statement.’”
“I completely agree with her now," the 'God Made Girls' singer tells Taste of Country one day before her debut EP 'Me' hit iTunes. But 18-year-old RaeLynn was tougher to convince. By the time fans were introduced to her firecracker style on NBC, she'd already been traveling back and forth to Nashville regularly. She was proving to be a writer with unique ideas, even if she was a bit unpolished. She signed with Valory Music Group, released 'Boyfriend' and then began writing endlessly.
“I was writing all these songs. and the more I was writing, the better I was getting,” she says. “Everybody at the label saw me turning in these songs every week, because I was writing Monday through Friday, and they were like, ‘She’s just getting better. We need to let her develop. This is not her time.’ But hearing that was hard.”
"I had to develop," she realizes now.
Fast forward two years and find a seasoned 20-year-old celebrating the release of her debut EP as she prepares to begin Lambert's Certified Platinum Tour. Blake Shelton is a friend and mentor. Some of Music City's best songwriters are, too, but in truth, they always were. RaeLynn recalls sitting down to write with a young writer named Nicolle Galyon, before she had any No. 1 hits.
"She was just a songwriter waiting to get cuts, you know. She literally kinda took me under her wing and we began to write together," RaeLynn says. "I learned so much from her.”
'Me' was produced by Joey Moi, but it's the songwriting that will grab your attention. Her phrasing and interpretation are unique, and her lyrics are descriptive and sharp. She mixes traditional and modern styles more effortlessly than most. Songs like the funky 'Better Do It' work because the story is pure country. It's a true 'Done Me Wrong' song.
“We wrote that song so quick because it was just feelings,” she says during her phone call with ToC. A relationship was on the rocks (they'd break up that night) and she entered a songwriters' meeting venting about him and his indecision. Many women can relate to a song about men failing to keep promises. Sure, it helps that Moi's groovy arrangement will have the hair on your head dancing.
'God Made Girls' is RaeLynn's current single (currently Top 20) and it will be the last from 'Me' she says. 'Boyfriend' is included on the EP. There's more to that story than fans may know. The song was written about a guy she knows well and his then-girlfriend, who didn't care for her hanging with him.
“They’re not dating anymore," she admits. "They were actually for a long time and then they stopped dating, and then I was kinda talking to him for a little bit, and it just didn’t work out. We’re just better friends.”
Did the song break them up? The spunky blonde says no, but "it did add fuel to the fire."
That's certainly something RaeLynn isn't afraid to do. When critics snapped harshly at her during (and after) 'The Voice,' she gave them more of the same. Of course, an even larger group of people loved her for it.
“I’d rather people be talking about me than not," RaeLynn declares. "I never wanna be a lukewarm artist. I always wanna be a hot or cold artist.”
Look for 'Me' at iTunes and look for RaeLynn on Lambert's Certified Platinum Tour beginning January 15 in Evansville, Ind.
Watch RaeLynn Perform 'God Made Girls' Acoustic