Hailey Whitters on Her Job As an Observer While Being a Songwriter
I feel like that’s our job as songwriters, is to be professional people watchers, to just observe and pick up on the detail and notice the detail and the things that maybe the average person might not notice. It’s our job to pick up on that and to find a way to put it in song and make people maybe stop and think about something that they otherwise wouldn’t have thought about.
Hailey Whitters On Having to Leave Her Hometown to Gain Perspective
I feel like, when I was 17, I just couldn’t get out of there soon enough. My head was totally in Nashville. I was moving there. I was going to be in country music. I was getting out. It’s weird because I always knew I was going to go back. I had this plan to leave, and by the time I was 25 I’d have been so successful that I’d be able to move back and do country music from Iowa. That just goes to show how completely disillusioned I was with what it takes to make it in country music. I think that having left, it allowed me the perspective to see it a little more and appreciate it a lot more than had I just stayed there the whole time. I don’t know if I would have had the foresight to be able to see how special that place was to me, is to me.
Hailey Whitters on Being Embarrassed to See Jon Pardi While Waitressing Early In Her Career
I have this story of waitressing at Ri’chard’s and Jon Pardi walked in. It was the moment where you see him walk in the door and I was like, “Okay, I’m going to go hide in the back until he’s left.” You know what I mean? Where it’s like your gut instinct is like… Because I had just opened shows for him three years before. You know what I mean? I’m his opening act, we’re playing sold out shows. I guess I was just embarrassed. I was like, “Man, I don’t want to have to go up and ask him if I can get a… ” It just felt so weird to have to wait on someone that you were working with. You know what I mean? I felt kind of weird about it. I just went up to him and said, “Hey, what’s up?” It was really awkward for a second. I could see the look on him and his manager’s face, like, “Hey, what are you doing here?” You know what I mean? I’m like, “I’m working.” It was kind of awkward, but then also, there’s no shame in working hard and doing whatever you got to do to pay your bills so that you can keep your dream alive. It kind of makes me weepy talking about it, because there’s absolutely no shame in that. I’m embarrassed now that I felt embarrassed by it then, because I think that that’s admirable. If it weren’t me and I saw someone else doing that, I’d be like, “You’re badass. That’s awesome.”
Hailey Whitters on “College Town”
I’m very proud and very appreciative of my education, but I remember thinking, “Going to college wasn’t that cool.” You know what I mean? I wanted to go straight into songwriting and be a writer and be an artist and all that. I remember going home a few times and just thinking my parents were just so old-fashioned and had these ideas and beliefs and, “That’s not the way the world works. You guys don’t know. Blah, blah, blah.” I was that girl in that second verse, and it kind of makes me chuckle now. It makes me cringe a little bit, too, but it’s also just like… I just think that, especially that going to college and stuff, that’s been such a thing in our generation and everything, and I just think that there’s so many more things that you learn that aren’t in the textbook. I think that having those four years to really figure out who you are is a really good thing to be able to get the opportunity to do.
Hailey Whitters on “Pretty Boy”
I just feel like that song on the record, I’m really excited, I’m anxious, I am nervous for people to hear it, because I do think it’s just something that I feel like I haven’t really heard anyone say and could be something that people are either going to hate it or love it. But I wrote that song about some of the boys that I know from my town and some of the things that I’ve seen and I just want them to know that it’s cool to be vulnerable, it’s cool to show people who you are, it’s cool to express yourself, to say I love you, to tell someone you love them. Yeah, I’ve seen ways in which I think suppressing a lot of those emotions can really be damaging to a boy, and so I want them to know it’s cool to do that. You know?
Tune in and listen to the episode in-full today (March 25) at 11am PT / 1pm CT / 2pm ET or anytime on-demand at apple.co/_TodaysCountry.