RaeLynn Dishes on Record Deal, New Music and Advice From Blake Shelton
How did country newcomer RaeLynn celebrate after signing with Republic Nashville? "I'm gonna go eat some wings for sure, that's my plan tonight," the 'The Voice' singer told us -- with her usual playful sass -- following the news. "I like honey-barbecue wings ... yeah, duh. My local B2W. [laughs]."
All joking and mock valley girl-isms aside, the Baytown, Texas sparkplug is dead serious about her career, which hit fast-forward after her success on Team Blake last spring. She could have moped and threw herself a pity party after being eliminated by mentor Blake Shelton, but instead she got to work. Got back to work, that is. RaeLynn has been writing and rehearsing for country fame since she was 15-years-old.
"I'm so glad I had that time," the now-18-year-old tells Taste of Country, "because I got to finish writing my record and take in that time and take all those emotions in from what just happened." Because of her time on the NBC show, RaeLynn's friendship with Shelton and Miranda Lambert has turned into more of a family bond. "Family" is important to her.
"It's like a big family, it's like you joined a big family," she says about her new label.
"We're all like a big family band," she adds of her backing band, which includes four good friends who can't wait to hit the road with her. "We've known each other for years and it's so crazy to see their dreams come true as well. They are just so pumped about this. It's crazy."
So are you gonna move to Nashville?
You know what, I haven't decided if I'm gonna move to Nashville. I don't know, it just kind of depends on how much I travel you know. Cause when you get done traveling I kind of just wanna come home and chill rather than go out to Nashville with people I don't really know. So I haven't decided yet.
Who from your record label are you most looking forward to getting to know?
Oh my gosh! I love Eli Young. I'm so excited to meet them. I'm from Texas, I love Texas country. So I knew them from before they were huge. So it's so cool to see how much they've grown from being a small town Texas band to being as big as they are now. I'm so excited to meet them and learn from them because they're Texas people like me. Texas people, we're all the same.
How long after 'The Voice' ended did you start talking with different labels -- and specifically with Republic Nashville?
Right when I got eliminated from 'The Voice' people were just like, "You don't have to worry RaeLynn, you're gonna get signed and stuff." And I'm just like, "I know, but you never know." And so people were talking to my manager, they said "If 'The Voice' is not gonna pick her up you let us know, we want her, we wanna look at her stuff. We think she has something new, something different.
So you said you finished writing songs, is your album done then?
Well we haven't started recording it yet, I just have all the songs written for it.
Are you going to get to use all of those songs?
I mean, I plan on it. We've had some really great writing sessions. I've gotten to write with Natalie Hemby, the girl who wrote 'Only Prettier' and 'White Liar.' One of my favorite writers is Nicolle Galyon, she's actually on the show … me and her have written some amazing songs together, and I got to write with the guy who wrote 'Tequilla Makes Your Clothes Fall Off' and I got to write with the guy who wrote 'Whisky Lullaby.' It's just been so cool, all these new writers that are excited to write with me. I've been writing in my room for a year or two, not with all these big writers, so it's been my dream come true just to write and learn from these amazing writers.
We think a lot of people are expecting your music to be in the same category as maybe Miranda's and Pistol Annies. Is that fair?
I have a very rock edge to some of my songs, like the way I did 'She's Country' and 'Wake Up Call.' I think it's going to be really interesting to see my slower stuff. Like, I don't know if you've seen the video of 'Lie' by me and Miranda, but that stuff kind of like that, we have some really cool songs under our belts that I'm really excited to show my fans.
What kind of things did Blake and Miranda help you stay clear of? Maybe some new artist mistakes that they told you to avoid?
Blake and Miranda have been so supportive in all this, and Blake had a talk with me about, "You just need to make sure they're gonna give you this, this and this. Make sure they're not gonna shelve you. You need to be working now, you need to be doing stuff now while the iron's hot."
Miranda was saying the same thing, and I said, "Y'all are exactly right." So we went with the people who were gonna have a fast process.
Are you done with school?
Yeah, I graduated early. I graduated in 2011.
Oh, so you were done when the show started?
Yes, I was done and ready to start on my career. I knew what I wanted to do since I was 15, so I've just been working hard.
Were you a good student?
Yeah, I was a really good student. I graduated at the top of my class. There was only 25 kids in my class, but I graduated at the top [laughs].
RaeLynn will join her labelmates to perform at the Brickyard 400 on July 29. She's also planning three shows with Lambert, on Aug. 10, 11 and 12. In addition, she'll be a part of the Blake Shelton cruise in October. To date, she and Republic Nashville haven't begun conversations about her first single or put a timeline on the new music.