Lainey Wilson represented country music proudly on Wednesday night at the Billboard Women in Music Awards, where she accepted the magazine's 2023 Rulebreaker Award.
"This award right here is for all the women who do things their way," Wilson said in her acceptance speech. "The ones who are not afraid to go against the grain and paint outside of the lines. The ones who take no on the nose and somehow turn it into a yes. I am so inspired by the women who lean into the things that make them different and unique, and I am so blessed to be surrounded by women who have lifted me up and helped me believe that I could break through glass ceilings."
Per Billboard, the award "recognizes female artists who use their music and platform to defy traditional industry expectations and advance a powerful message for young people." It dates back to 2015 and was previously won by Demi Lovato, Alessia Cara, Kehlani, SZA and Karol G.
Wilson expanded on what the term "rulebreaker" means to her while on the red carpet.
"I feel like I have gone against the grain," she explained. "I feel like I have kept my blinders on and not worried about what anybody else is doing, on either side of me. I've had a lot of opinions -- a lot of people tell me what I need to be, what I don't need to be -- but I've had a hard time being anything other than myself."
An unrelenting work ethic and undeniably solid songs keep putting Wilson on bigger and bigger stages. In 2022, she debuted as a recurring character on TV's Yellowstone and won two of the most coveted CMA Awards: Best New Artist and Female Artist of the Year. This time around, she was the only country artist spotlighted at a major music industry event. Through it all, Wilson has remained true to her personal and professional integrity.
"I've been in Nashville for 12 years trying to do this thing," she said on the red carpet. "It's a cool feeling and a sense of freedom, knowing I have not been anything other than myself, and I've done things the way I wanna do them."
That same night, Wilson performed one of the songs that proves she's living her truest self, "Heart Like a Truck."
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