How Lainey Wilson, an ’11-year overnight sensation,’ became country music’s brightest new star
When the young singer-songwriter is asked about her meteoric career, she’ll say she learned the craft from her grandfather, who was one of the most important country artists in the country’s long history. Her grandfather was Bob Lee and, in his youth, he played in many Nashville clubs and theaters around the state.
So did her parents, David and Melissa, who formed the duo “Melanie and David.”
“We grew up in the studio with him, hanging around him all the time,” Wilson said.
Wilson’s grandfather had been a singer and songwriter who played at the Grand Ole Opry, with the Grand Ole Opry Orchestra and on his own. He would take Wilson and her siblings to see him perform in theaters or hotels around the country.
“He was an incredible mentor to my mom and dad,” Wilson said. “He was a country legend and an incredible songwriter and performer.”
When Wilson’s parents were dating, they started a trio called “Melanie & David.” There were two sisters in the group whom they called Lainey and Natalie.
“I know my dad got along with the band really well because he knew he was married to both of these sisters,” Wilson said. “He knew he was lucky to have both of them and to go through those things. I have two sisters myself and I really bonded with them as a family because I really look up to them.”
Wilson’s mother, Melissa, was a professional ballerina who performed on stages with stars of the day, including Janet Jackson, Janet Reno and Bette Midler. She played with artists such as Ray Charles and The Supremes. Melissa would perform with the trio in her home during the day and at night bring her dancers, musicians and musicians’ families to play in the country band.
“It was a really cool, fun career for me,” Wilson said of her mother