Lainey Wilson is one of country music’s biggest up-and-comers, but it was a long road to stardom for the singer-songwriter. Wilson has worked as everything from a farmhand to a celebrity impersonator!
Lainey Wilson’s rural upbringing
Wilson grew up in rural Louisiana, in a town with a population of just 300. Her father was a farmer, and the singer helped her dad out with chores as they grew soybeans, corn, wheat, oats, and other crops.
Farming wasn’t the only thing Wilson’s parents passed down to her. Her love of music came from them, as well. Her father played guitar, while her mother loved music and dancing. Wilson would also attend bluegrass music festivals with her grandparents.
“Country music for me and my family, it was more than music. We lived the words to those songs,” she said in an interview with The Advocate.
Lainey Wilson’s gig as a Hannah Montana impersonator
Wilson wanted to be a performer from a young age, and she did anything and everything to make that dream come true — including becoming a celebrity impersonator. While still in school, Wilson took a job impersonating Hannah Montana, the Disney character made famous by Miley Cyrus.
The country star performed as Hannah Montana at birthday parties, county fairs, and festivals across Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas. “I impersonated Hannah Montana for 5 years,” the singer said of her past career.
“It was like my childhood, high school gig. I did it from 8th grade to 12th grade. I did birthday parties, fairs, festivals…the last place I played was St. Jude.”The Country Daily
Wilson even used her gigs as ‘Hannah’ to push her own music career: “Every now and then Lainey Wilson might open the show for Hannah Montana. Sometimes they’d be like ‘Who’s Lainey?’ and ‘Nah, we just asked for Hannah.’”
So, does Cyrus know that Wilson used her famous character to get a jump start on her music career? Not yet, but the country star is ready to meet her.
“It’s gonna be crazy when I meet Miley and be like ‘Hey, by the way, I just want to thank you because girl, I was making some bank in high school!’” Wilson said while appearing on Taste of Country.
“I was doing three or four parties a weekend,” the singer said of her previous gig. So, how did she get started as a Hannah Montanta impersonator?
How did Lainey Wilson start performing as Hannah Montana?
“My eighth-grade teacher, Ms. Poland, her little girl was turning nine years old and she was like, ‘Would you be willing to just put on a Hannah Montant wig and show up at the party?’ She was like ‘You kind of resemble her.’”
She continued, “And I was like, ‘Sure.’ I’m an overachiever, so I went and bought the karaoke track and I already had a little portable sound system that I used to take to nursing homes … so they had a little flatbed trailer set up out in their backyard and I put on a 16 song show and then it spread like wild.”
So, how much was Wilson making per show? According to her, $400 a show. At three or four parties a week, the country star was raking in the cash in high school! While impersonating Hannah Montana helped Wilson get her start, fans are glad the singer now performs under her own name.