Photo | Mobilesaenger..com
Sara Evans (right) headlines the “Next Women of Country Tour” at the Saenger this Saturday night, featuring RaeLynn (center, profiled below) and Kalie Shorr (left).
CMT Next Women of Country Tour
Saturday, April 7, with doors at 6:30 p.m.
Saenger Theatre, 6 S. Joachim St., www.mobilesaenger.com
Tickets: $32.50-$69.50, available through Ticketmaster
The “Jewel on Joachim” will thrill country music fans when the fourth installment of the CMT Next Women of Country Tour comes to Mobile this Saturday. Country superstar Sara Evans will headline in support of her new album, “Words.” The evening will also include the fresh talent of country up-and-comer Kalie Shorr. Singer-songwriter RaeLynn will complete the lineup.
No stranger to the tour, RaeLynn built an extensive following through her 2012 run on the NBC talent competition “The Voice.” Even though she was eliminated, RaeLynn used an EP and a number of singles, including “Boyfriend” and “God Made Girls,” to maintain her career’s positive momentum.
Last year, she finally released her full-length debut, “WildHorse,” which she considers a very personal album. Even though it has been less than a year since her debut, this singer-songwriter is already giving her fans a preview of her sophomore effort through the new single “Queens Don’t.”
RaeLynn took a break from cleaning her house to chat with Lagniappe about her steady rise to country stardom.
Stephen Centanni: You’re coming to Mobile on the CMT Next Women of Country Tour. How does it feel to be involved with something like that?
RaeLynn: I have been a part of the CMT Next Women of Country Tour for a couple of years now. I think that I was the Class of 2016 or 2015. It’s just an incredible community to be a part of and changing the conversation of what’s happening with women right now. I’ve been wanting to do this tour for a while, so I’m very excited to be a part of it and be on it with such a class act like Sara Evans and a newcomer like Kalie Shorr. It’s really awesome to see.
Centanni: You knew you wanted a career in music before you were out of high school. What led you to that decision at such an early age?
RaeLynn: Honestly, I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. I started playing guitar and singing when I was 16. It’s kinda like one of those things where you’re like, “Okay, well, this is what I’m good at.” There was never a Plan B. It was always music or doing something in this field. I think when you have nothing but one goal, then you make it happen. That’s what I did.
Centanni: You got your music out there by using internet outlets such as YouTube, but one of your biggest boosts came from your appearance on “The Voice.” When you were first on the show, your performances focused on covers. Then you came back and got to perform one of your own songs, which was “Boyfriend.” What was it like going back on “The Voice” and performing your own song?
RaeLynn: It was such a surreal moment for me because I had only done covers on the show. It was a dream come true to be able to sing a song that I had written and perform it on the show that got everything started for me. It was definitely a full-circle moment. To be able to have a standing ovation from the judges, it was pretty amazing.
Centanni: After six years and singles and an EP, you finally released your first full-length, “WildHorse.” How did it feel to finally have a full collection of songs out there?
RaeLynn: It was a dream come true. Finally, everybody can see the collection of music that I’ve been wanting to put out, and they can hear my story and see where I’m coming from. This record really laid the foundation for the artist that I really want to be. I am just so thankful for every person that wrote on it with me and helped me tell a story. I’ve been in this industry for six, almost seven years. Being a woman, you change so much, and the older you get, you learn more. So, I’ve just learned a lot with all that comes through in my songwriting. I’m just thankful that now that people can see it.
Centanni: Speaking of learning, you co-wrote this album with a great list of songwriters, and that’s one thing that I really like about the new generation of young country artists. Everybody has a hand in writing their own songs. For you, what’s the best part of collaborating with songwriters?
RaeLynn: My favorite thing about collaborating is that it’s all a group effort. If I’m writing a song with you, something you say might not be in the song but might trigger something for me to think of to say. That’s what it’s all about. A little bit of the pressure is off to think super hard. You have somebody helping you and guiding you. Also, having somebody to be creative with is an awesome thing.
Centanni: You’ve likened “WildHorse” to a diary. Keeping that in mind, what do you want people to know about you through the album’s music?
RaeLynn: I just want people to see my heart and really see where my life has been over the past five years. I went from being an 18-year-old on a hit television show to getting into a van and traveling all over the country and going to radio stations and getting ready in gas stations, to going on major tours and being married and all these life changes that I’ve gone through. You can see that and feel that in this record.
Centanni: Speaking of being married, “Lonely Call” is about your husband. What was his reaction when you first played that song to him?
RaeLynn: He just laughed and said, “Classic!” That’s my husband, though. He was just like, “Of course, you had to write a song about this.”
Centanni: What’s your next project?
RaeLynn: Well, my new single, “Queens Don’t,” is out, and I’m very excited about that. I’m just working on another beautiful piece of work. I’ve found out a lot about myself over the past couple of years and what I’ll stand for and what I won’t. I’m being more honest and wearing my heart on my sleeve even more than I did on “WildHorse” and not being afraid to say what I want to say. A lot of that is coming through with this next record, which I’m really excited about.
Centanni: When can we expect that one?
RaeLynn: Pretty soon! I can’t say anything yet, but soon.