Lori McKenna w/ Hailey Whitters at Shea Theater
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DOORS OPEN AT 7PM.
“I came to visit Nashville when I was 15 years old. We went backstage at the Grand Ole Opry and I peaked around the curtain. In that moment, I knew country music was going to be my life.” — Hailey Whitters
Ever since, this rising singer-songwriter has been working to make that dream a reality. Hailey Whitters moved to Nashville at age 17 and has celebrated plenty of highs—scoring major cuts as a songwriter, releasing the remarkable debut album Black Sheep, and captivating audiences on the road and in Nashville, playing songwriter rounds and late-night gigs on Broadway. This dedication and talent earned a publishing contract with Carnival Music, which she still calls home today.
Now as Whitters prepares her second album, she is grateful for the journey that fostered a deepening maturity as an artist and a keen sense of the frailty of life.
Her new songs “Ten Year Town” and “Living The Dream” serve as bookends to the ongoing story she has been writing since arriving in Music City. “People say Nashville is a ten year town, and I’ve been here almost 12 years,” says Whitters. “It’s easy to get caught up in your career status, but I’ve grown into a place of acceptance and gratitude for where I am. Being able to write songs and go out and perform them—to me, that is the dream.”
Whitters co-wrote almost every song on the upcoming project, save for two written by renowned artists Brent Cobb and Chris Stapleton. She teamed with collaborator Lori McKenna to write “Happy People,” which was recorded and released by Little Big Town. This is the latest in Whitters’ list of superstar cuts, including Alan Jackson’s 2017 release of “The Older I Get.”
Amidst Whitters’ personal reflections, her new album showcases interesting characters and snapshots of ordinary moments, all united with the resounding message of living life to the fullest. On the song “The Days,” Whitters sings, “Instead of counting up the days, I just want to make them count.” Similarly, “Janice In The Hotel Bar” reminds us to “make a good living, but don’t forget to make a good life.”
Whitters’ enthralling voice echoes of the Iowa farmland where she grew up, which is the inspiration behind new song “Heartland.” The oldest of six siblings, she remains close to her big family from the tiny town of Shueyville. “Even though I’ve been away a long time, I still carry my roots with me,” says the singer who was raised on music by ’90s country queens Dixie Chicks, Trisha Yearwood, Shania Twain, Faith Hill and Martina McBride.
In a wave of full-circle success, McBride has become one of Whitters’ biggest champions, recording two of her songs and inviting her to open on tour.
It’s one of the many experiences in recent years propelling Whitters to the next level. “This album shows all the different stages of my life Nashville,” she says. “It’s a little time capsule of my 12 years in a ten year town.”
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