NYCS Swag Spotlight: Hailey Whitters

Hailey Whitters

“I just became obsessed with the city and just the energy that circulated Nashville, and so I went home from that trip, and was pretty much like once I graduate high school, I”m going to Nashville, Tennessee.”

Our Swag Spotlight artist this week just released her newest project The Days EP last Friday, which is chock full of stellar songwriting and sonically beautiful songs, including one of our favorites “Ten Year Town”. On top of that, the blossoming songstress recently opened up for Lori McKenna and most recently, performed her heart out at Radio City Music Hall, opening up for Maren Morris on her sold-out headlining tour. We got a chance to chat with Whitters about her musical influences, her journey to where she is now, and of course what she has in store for us going into the rest of this year and 2020.

Growing up in small-town Iowa, radio greatly impacted her love for music. She grew up listening to artists like The Spice Girls and The Dixie Chicks. Whitters shared, “I was on my own little planet in Iowa. I grew up on country radio, and at the time, it was all these really powerful females, and they all had a point of view and perspective, and I wanted to be in a girl band. I remember asking my guidance counselor, how do you do music because I just had no idea how that worked,” she recalls. “He asked me who my favorite artists were and I said The Dixie Chicks. And he was like ‘ya know they wrote their own songs.’ That was where I learned that I needed to write songs, so then I got a guitar, and I started writing.”

After playing gigs in her hometown wherever she could and a life-changing trip to Nashville, when she was 16 years old, Whitters went on to graduate from high school and made the move 9 hours away from her hometown to Music City. “Nashville was kinda like my crash course into the industry and how it works. I didn’t know anyone when I moved here, and I just kinda started getting on the internet and contacting bookers and showing up at the bar and being like “hey can I play?!” I really had to feel my way through the dark, but being young and ignorant to this business, I was able kinda to make mistakes, and feel my way through it without having too much of an idea of how it all works,” she explained.

Like many artists, the singer-songwriter had to persevere through many struggles to make it in the industry. Although she’s been dedicated to her craft for 12 years now, she’s had times where it felt like her dreams weren’t going to come true. As fate would have it, this led her to write her song, “Ten Year Town,” which revitalized her career and reignited her drive to chase her dreams.

“I kinda felt very broken hearted and kinda sick of Nashville honestly. Two years ago I was coming up on my ten-year mark, and I was looking at my life and looking at my career, and feeling like ‘is it the end of this chapter for me’?” she tells us. “I had to do a lot of internal work and tune out a lot of voices that I had in my head, and just go make a record that I love and so ya know, getting to do that and seeing this response to it, it has been so rewarding and just like good for my soul, I keep saying I needed to find the music and magic in Nashville again.”

Whitters wrote “Ten Year Town” with the extraordinary Brandy Clark, after being turned down by many other co-writers. The two powerful women created a relatable, yet deeply personal tune. According to the Whitters, the song felt like therapy at the time, but two years later, it became the first song on her upcoming record. She agreed with us that the ending lyric “This next song could turn it all around / I’m twelve years into a ten year town” was one of the ‘aha’ moments in the writing process, adding, “The fact that we threw out that line- it ends on the hope that we all when we’re in our co-writes and in our sessions. That’s just the crux of the dreamer like hanging on and hope that the next set or the next day or the next song or the next whatever can turn anything around.”

Ironically, the success of that poignant song has opened doors for the songstress, and her career is finally taking off. Throughout this interview, we learned quickly that Whitters is wise beyond her years and primed for success, due to her can’t quit attitude and unique talent. We cannot wait to see what she has in store for the new year and look forward to the release of her full-length record The Dream, which will be related at the top of 2020.

To keep up with Hailey Whitters follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

The Days is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.



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