Texas-born RaeLynn first came to many country fans’ attention when she appeared on season two of The Voice back in 2012.
Despite not winning the show, her coach Blake Shelton quickly took her under his wing and she soon found success with her top 10 hit God Made Girls. Her debut album, WildHorse, was released in 2017 and topped the Billboard Country Albums Chart. After wowing UK audiences in March with her performances at C2C: Country to Country Festival, she’s heading back over here later this month to support Maren Morris on the European leg of her GIRL: The World Tour.
Ahead of her trip across the pond, I caught up with RaeLynn to talk about the tour, her new songs Rowdy and Tailgate, how she approaches songwriting and much more.
The last time you were in the UK was for C2C Festival in March – how did you find it?
I found it one of the most probably rewarding experiences as a songwriter and artist. Because I haven’t done much travelling overseas, but to come to London and to see the fans was one of the coolest experiences of my life.
Was there anything that particularly surprised you about the audiences here?
Yeah, one thing that I loved about the audience in the UK, especially in London, was that I feel like every song was a hit in its own right. Even some deep cuts on my record, people were singing just as loud as they were singing songs they’ve heard on the radio. And I think that was the coolest part for me, to know that it’s a very listening crowd, and when you talk about a song they take every bit of that in. It’s really cool.
And now you’re coming back over here with Maren Morris for her tour later this month. What can people expect from those shows?
Well I’m not coming with a full band with Maren because it’s just gonna be hard to do that, but it’s gonna be a real cool experience. I’m excited for the fans to hear a couple of the new songs and to see the set. I love doing acoustic shows because it gives us a chance to really talk and interact with the fans, so I’m excited for that experience, for sure.
You’ve been putting out quite a bit of new music recently including your latest song Rowdy. Can you tell us a little bit more about it?
Yeah, Rowdy is so much fun. I love to have a good time, I’m from a place called Baytown, Texas and I grew up around country music 24/7. And so this song really showcases my personality and what I love. And the fans love it. It’s just so much fun to perform live. That’s what’s been really cool with this song.
I also wanted to ask you about Tailgate. It’s such an interesting concept – how did you come up with that?
Yeah, I mean I feel like everybody who has a truck, they let down their tailgate and tell all their secrets. It’s kind of an intimate, cool thing, and we had the idea that if the tailgate ever tells… I thought that would be a good idea. I actually wrote it with Tyler [Hubbard] from Florida Georgia Line and Corey Crowder and Canaan Smith, who are awesome artists and songwriters. That’s the coolest part about co-writing. You might have an idea or just a concept but it takes the whole group to bring it together.
Do you have any favourite co-writers? Or people you’d like to co-write with in future?
I have quite a few. I mean, one person that’s my dream write is Ed Sheeran. He’s one of my favourites. But I love writing with Tyler, I love writing with Corey. Those have been some of my favourite writes.
I was listening to WildHorse earlier and one thing that stood out to me is how personal the writing is. Is that something that’s important to you?
Oh, for sure. If I’m gonna sing a song for the rest of my life it has to be personal. That’s the beauty of songwriting – you’re really putting your heart out there and I think that’s what makes an artist an artist. So when it comes to my songwriting, I definitely love to keep that personal element in it to keep it exciting. Especially for the listener as well.
Do you ever get writer’s block? And if so how do you deal with it?
I really don’t get writer’s block, but when I’m searching for an idea I just look at the most simplest things and I realise that it’s OK to write a bad song. Because it takes every couple of bad songs to write a good song, and not everything’s going to be perfect. And it’s crazy because some of the days I don’t have an idea. That’s the cool thing about co-writing is somebody else might have an idea, and then you’re like, ‘oh, OK’ and then you have a way of being able to approach that, y’know? That’s the beauty of co-writing, I think.
You’ve been out on the road a lot recently. What’s the one thing you’ve learnt from touring over the years?
I think the biggest thing that I’ve learned is honestly, travelling and building those grassroots is what builds the fan. You can be famous on Instagram, famous on whatever, but going out and seeing the fans and experiencing where they come from and putting yourself in your culture, I think that’s the coolest part that fans love to see and that’s what makes you grow with them. That’s one of the coolest things I think.
Do you have a particular favourite song to play live?
I love to play Love Triangle but recently I love to play this new song that I’m gonna be releasing soon called Keep Up. That’s been a really fun fan favourite.
You’ve mentioned you’re working on some new music at the moment – is it going to be similar to Tailgate and Rowdy?
Yeah, it definitely is similar to that, for sure.
As many people will know you got your start on The Voice. What did you take from that experience and how has it fed into your career so far?
One thing that I realised on The Voice is that it gave me a platform to really tell my story, and I think that’s super-important. On that show I got to of course say that I’m from Texas, I got to talk about my family, and how I just wanted to be in country music all my life. And to be able to put that story out there like we did and have that experience of how to perform on stage. I got to work with Blake which is one of the biggest things in my life. All that experience was really helpful to me in my career.
Is it something you’d recommend new artists try out for?
Yeah. I think everybody has their own path, but I think it’s a great path to try, for sure. I mean, I used it as a promotional tool. You don’t have to win to be great – I didn’t win, but I think it’s important to put yourself out there and it gave me a lot of confidence to put myself out there. So I think for any new artist it’s important to just put yourself out there.
How did you get into music initially, and what made you decide to pursue it as a career?
My family performs and sings. My cousin was in a Christian rock band growing up, and I think just being around that energy of music my whole life, it’s just all I ever wanted to do. I just couldn’t imagine doing anything different. But like I said, I grew up in Texas and every year my dad would take me to the country show, the [Houston] livestock show and rodeo, and I got to see Ray Charles, I got to see Shania Twain, I got to see the Jonas Brothers, I got to see Alan Jackson – all these incredible acts. And all that gave me my love for country music and that’s kind of where it all started.
Who would you say have been your biggest influences and inspirations?
Oh, for sure Dolly Parton. And my family. I love Dolly, I love everything that she represented in country music. I love how she’s just a straight-up girl boss. And I don’t know, I literally think that she’s the queen [laughs].
You also recently set up the RaeLynn Diabetes Fund – can you tell us more about it?
Yeah, so I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was 12, and I basically just wanted to have a foundation to be able to help anybody when it comes to tackling diabetes, if that’s with their hospital bills or with promoting a non-profit – being able to do what I wanna do to help educate people about type 1 diabetes and to be there. And so this fund’s really important to me because it is my heart.
What’s the one song you wish you’d written?
Oh my gosh! That’s like the hardest question ever. One song that I wish I could have written… Probably The House That Built Me by Miranda Lambert.
What does the rest of 2019 look like for you? Are there plans for an album?
Yeah, we definitely have some new music, and continuing to tour. There’s some things I really can’t talk about just yet but of course going out with Maren. We’re gonna be overseas for two weeks, I’m so excited to see you guys again, but there’s some really exciting experiences planned as well.
And do you have any plans to come back to the UK after the tour with Maren?
Oh, for sure. Are you kidding me?! Always.
RaeLynn’s latest single, Tailgate, and new song Rowdy are out now.
See RaeLynn live in the UK and Ireland with Maren Morris on the GIRL: The World Tour this May:
Friday 24 May – The Academy, Dublin
Saturday 25 May – O2 Academy, Leeds
Sunday 26 May – O2 Academy, Glasgow
Monday 27 May – Albert Hall, Manchester
Wednesday 29 May – O2 Academy, Bristol
Thursday 30 May – O2 Institute, Birmingham
Friday 31 May – Royal Albert Hall, London