MusicRowPics: Hailey Whitters

Hailey Whitters performs for MusicRow staff.

Hailey Whitters performs for MusicRow staff.

Carnival Music Publishing singer-songwriter Hailey Whitters previewed songs from her upcoming album, Black Sheep, during a recent visit to the MusicRow office. Whitters signed with Carnival Music Publishing in 2012, and has recently been working with producer Derek Wells on her debut project. “We sat down with Carnival and picked out the 10 songs that most represented me as an artist,” says Whitters.

Whitters’ first single release, “City Girl,” describes a small town girl dreaming of life in the big city. Being from Shueyville, Iowa (population: 600), Whitters immediately connected with the song. “My house was in the middle of a cornfield,” she recalls. “I always fantasized about moving to a big city. It’s a dramatic, sassy way of saying, ‘I’m from the country.’” She grew up influenced by the country songs of the Dixie Chicks, Trisha Yearwood, and Shania Twain emanating from the radio. She later fell in love with the music of Loretta Lynn, Keith Whitley, and Johnny Cash through records her grandmother gave her.

This self-described country girl eventually packed up and moved to the “big city” (Nashville). At 17, Whitters enrolled in Belmont University, where discovered Nashville’s songwriting community.

“City Girl” isn’t the only song on the project to tout big dreams and the ambition to follow them. During her visit, Whitters offered an acoustic take on “Black Sheep,” the album’s title track co-penned by The Wrights’ Adam Wright. The song praises independent thinkers who have the courage to follow their own paths.

Whitters followed her acoustic showcase with “One More Hell,” a tribute to her young brother, who died four years ago in a car accident. “The family packed up for a trip to California. We didn’t know where we were going, we didn’t have a plan, we just drove,” recalls Whitter. Upon returning to Nashville after the trip, it was the first song she wrote. “It was really therapeutic for me.

“I still tear up a bit sometimes when I sing it,” she continued. “I love performing it because I feel like a lot of people have experienced loss. But even if they haven’t, I had someone come up to me at a show and say, ‘I’ve never lost anyone, but I’m here with my brother and I want say that song really touched me.’ So I feel like whether you have experienced loss or not, people have a soft spot for that song.”

The heartfelt singer/songwriter also obliged staff with a rendition of her “Low All Afternoon,” a solo-write on her Carnival debut and a title recorded by Martina McBride for consideration on her forthcoming Nash Icon debut.

Whitters is currently on the road performing shows with Leon Russell, having recently signed a booking deal with APA.

An album release will preview songs from her upcoming project at The Basement (1604 8th Ave. S.) in Nashville on Sept. 29.

Hailey Whitters with MusicRow staff.

Hailey Whitters with MusicRow staff.

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Category: Artist, Featured

About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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