Music

How Rita Wilson Went From Hollywood Actor to Rising Country Star

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Rita Wilson is no stranger to being a performer. Not only is her husband Tom Hanks one of the world's favorite actors, but Wilson herself has starred in countless films over the years, including Sleepless In Seattle and Jingle All The Way. She was even a producer on My Big Fat Greek Wedding. But a few years ago she released her debut album AM/FM and decided to embark on a new journey as a singer. If you follow the star on social media, you've seen all of her posts about how passionate she is about her music career. 

Though she was initially a bit nervous for her big debut in 2012, Wilson explains in an interview with Taste of Country that songwriter Kara DioGuardi put her at ease when she asked her, "Do you have something you want to say?"

"It was the biggest gift anybody could ever put it in your lap," Wilson said. "And I did not take it for granted. As an actor, you don't necessarily play people that are just like you all the time. You have to explore and become a different character. I took that as a lesson to explore writing stories that weren't necessarily my own personal stories."

rita wilson songs
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

As a singer-songwriter, Wilson has plenty to say from her own personal experiences. She is a breast cancer survivor, recently overcame coronavirus, and probably has her fair share of stories from her many years living in Los Angeles working in Hollywood. So far she has released four albums -- AM/FM, Rita Wilson, Bigger Picture and Halfway to Home with more new music on the way. She has definitely kept herself busy with her songwriting during the pandemic this year for her new album.

Read More: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson: The Couple Proves Good Ol' Love Can Last

Wilson explained to USA Today that her musical tastes are "all over the map." She's collaborated with Naughty By Nature on "Hip Hop Hooray" where yes, she raps, but recently has been getting more into country music. In May, she released one of her many new songs, "Where's My Country Song" which she recorded after she and Hanks recovered from their COVID-19 diagnosis while on location for Hanks' Elvis Presley film in Australia. 

Wilson explained to Billboard that she was inspired by not only her mother, who was an immigrant to the United States, but also women in general, and how they are commonly depicted in music.

"I write down in Nashville a lot," Wilson explains, "and I'm increasingly aware that when women are written about in country songs it's a partial representation. You don't hear a lot of songs about single mothers. You don't hear a lot about the women who are working behind the scenes. It seemed to me there was sort of a fantasy about the kind of woman that is portrayed -- not just in music but also in movies, in TV. And there's a huge part of this population that is doing amazing things with their lives, but they're not having the spotlight on them and really should be looked at and applauded and revered every day."

 

Wilson has released multiple more new songs this year including "What Would I Say" (which was written with Shane McAnally and Jesse Frasure, who wrote numerous Florida Georgia Line hits), "Angel From Montgomery" with up and comer Alex Blue. Wilson also collaborated with another up and coming country singer, Jimmie Allen, on "When This Is Over," featuring The Oak Ridge Boys. She also released the theme song for war drama The Outpost, "Everybody Cries." I am positive that Rita Wilson is going to be a new staple on the country music scene and undoubtedly has more fun collaborations up her sleeve. Next up, the Grand Ole Opry?

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How Rita Wilson Went From Hollywood Actor to Rising Country Star