Country music star RaeLynn will bring her hits to MemAud on Friday as part of the CMT Next Women of Country Tour.
The singer-songwriter will join Sara Evans and Kalie Shorr, but before she stepped on the Ohio University bricks, RaeLynn spoke with The Post on the phone about the upcoming performance and being a female country singer.
The Post: I know you guys opened in New York City and then did a New Hampshire show last night, so how have the first couple of shows been?
RaeLynn: They have been so awesome; I think we’re finally getting into a groove. B.B. King’s in New York is like more of a sit-down club venue, and so to be able to be doing a show at a theater last night in Concord was amazing. It was great. Finally got to do a full-band show.
P: So you’re doing a lot of theaters and auditoriums on this tour?
R: Uh-huh. That’s what I’m most excited about 'cause I love the acoustics in a theater and also an auditorium, so I’m really pumped about this tour 'cause it’s really gonna showcase another side of what my band can do, and I’m excited about that.
P: Yeah, I know me and the venue guy here at Ohio University have had conversations about it, and he feels like the acoustics carry better here than in a lot of auditoriums. Did you find that the acoustics carried well in the theater that you played?
R; Oh, yeah. It was awesome last night. I love it when I can view the crowd really well. I’m obsessed with playing theaters in general, so I’m really confident that all these shows are gonna be great.
P: And what do you like about sharing the stages with Sara (Evans) and Kalie (Shorr)? Have you been following their careers for a while?
R: Oh yeah, I’ve known Kalie for a long time, and Sara Evans is a staple in country music, and I’m just honored to be on the road with her. She’s been killing it, and so has Kalie. Kalie…I have so much respect for her. She’s just doing it by herself…before me and just an amp and one guitar. She’s so funny and has so much charisma, and I’m just so excited for her. That’s what I love about this platform of CMT. They’re giving women like Kalie, who you might not have heard of, they’re giving her a chance to be heard, and I think that’s cool.
P: So, speaking of the CMT Next Women of Country Tour that you guys are on, do you think that tours like that where women are supporting other women are important right now, because there’s been some dialogue surrounding the lack of representation of women on country radio, that’s been a conversation. So do you think tours like this are important because of that?
R: Oh, I think they’re really important. I think it’s super important to always raise the conversation of “females need to be heard.” And that’s what I love about this tour. It shows that we are coming up with ways for women to support other women, and this tour is just a big example of that.
P: As a woman with a platform, you’ve had six Hot 100 Country songs and one in the Top 10. Do you feel sort of compelled to use your platform to help other women in country?
R: Oh my gosh, of course. I’m so obsessed with so many women right now that have come out with so much amazing music, and I think any way we can all support each other is ideal. And, I’m not like… If I’m not a fan of something, I just won’t post about it. But most of the time, the music that women are putting out, especially in country, like … Kelsea (Ballerini) and Cassadee (Pope) and, you know, they’re putting out amazing music right now, and it’s all getting heard. And I’m the type of person where if I’m really a fan of something, I’m gonna post about it, no matter who it is. I don’t care if you have one fan or a thousand fans. I think it’s important to support the music that you love and to support other women in your community.
P: Yeah, I’m a huge Kelsea fan. I could see her being the next sort of T-Swift and crossing over with her pop-country sound.
R: Yeah, it’s awesome.
P: So, I know you had “Love Triangle” and a couple other singles off WildHorse that hit the radio. So are you planning on continuing to release tracks off that record, or have you been writing, trying to get a new record out there?
R: I’ve been writing, and I’m working on my new album right now. I always wanna put out more music; I think it’s super important to keep feeding your fan base the stuff that’s inspiring you. Especially me with writing, I’m just kind of ADD about it. I’ll just keep putting out more music. So, I’m definitely writing.
P: Have you been working with any producers or co-writers in particular that you’re super excited about?
R: Most of the writers that I’m excited about … I recently signed with a new publishing company, I signed with Tree Vibez Music … and I really love all the writers over there too. They’ve put me in some really cool frames recently with some really talented people.
P: What would you say are the advantages and disadvantages to the way you’re writing now, when you’re sort of more established in country music, as opposed to when you’re just starting out and your writing is a little more independent, or with people who aren’t as big of names?
R: There’s not really a difference to me, as long as you’re always being authentic to yourself. I’ve luckily always been surrounded by really talented people and I don’t really feel like my writing has changed. I feel like now is a time where I am able to be more honest than I was in my first record, but I’m thankful to always have been surrounded by really incredible writers.
P: So, when you’re writing, the most important thing to you is to stay genuine and true to yourself, true to the stories you’re telling?
R: Oh, yeah, of course, because at the end of the day, I’m gonna have to sing these songs for the rest of my life, and I don’t wanna put out anything that is not authentic to myself.
P: When you’re on tour, how do you balance that with family time? I know you have your husband; you guys are adorable. I follow you on Instagram.
R: Thank you. With everything you have to have a balance. During the week, I definitely get home as often as I can. It’s hard not seeing him all the time, but I see him. I see my friends that live in Nashville. I’m just super important about keeping in contact while you’re on the road.
P: What would your advice be to people who are just starting out, just moving to Nashville, aspiring young country artists?
R: My advice would be that every step you take … it’s going to be a long process. There’s never a right way to do anything, and I think the biggest thing that anybody can do is get through it themselves. And that’s really important to know that your path is gonna be so different from the person to your right or the person to your left. Know that. It’s there for a reason.
P: In Nashville, when you’re just walking around, you see so much raw talent, just people playing small venues. Everyone has big dreams, so do you feel lucky to have made it? Do you feel like it’s the hard work or being in the right place, or a combination?
R: You just gotta keep working hard. You can’t work this hard and not see some sort of result. No matter what your job is, nothing comes easy.
P: I wanted to ask you about your charity for diabetes. Your first donation for the charity was to the hospital that helped you when you were diagnosed. Can you tell me a little bit about that and what that charity means to you?
R: Yeah, I have Type 1 diabetes. I’ve had it since I was 12, and it was really important for me to give back and to be able to help anyone that has Type 1 diabetes in any kind of way. So, my first decision was to give to the hospital that saved my life. And I think it’s super important to give back. Diabetes is such a natural thing for me, cause it’s something I deal with every day, so I’m really honored to be able to give to an amazing hospital to help kids in need or young adults in need, so they can learn more about their disease.
Correction: A previous version of this report misstated the name of the publishing company RaeLynn signed with. The article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information.