Lee Ann Womack’s Advice for Younger Artists: ‘Go With Your Gut, and Don’t Give Up’
Lee Ann Womack has spent her entire music career trying to stay true to herself, even if that means going against the grain. Her advice to younger musicians hoping to make it in Nashville is simple: Trust yourself, and you won't regret it.
"I would say, at least in my career, that every time I went with my gut, I was never sorry. You'd think I'd realized that along the way. I did some things that were commercial successes, but the stuff I did from the gut, I loved and never regretted," she tells Cowboys & Indians magazine. "Go with your gut, and don't give up. I've known so many young female artists that get discouraged. But when a female artist like Miranda [Lambert] or Taylor [Swift] makes it, they hit it out of the park."
For many artists, including Womack, "going with your gut" can be incredibly difficult in an industry that seems to be drifting further and further from its roots. Womack says that while she had some initial success on Music Row, the pop side of country music never seemed like a good fit for her.
"I've always been on this road. My first single, "Never Again, Again," was so traditional country. We had Ricky [Skaggs] and Sharon [White] come in and sing on it, so I started out that way," she says. "Along the way, I recorded some things that was a bit more commercial, but I on the whole I did the music I wanted to do.
"The irony of all this is I had one of the pop crossover songs ["I Hope You Dance"], but on that same record, it starts and ends with a bluegrass song," Womack adds. "[It starts with] "The Healing Kind," co-written by Ronnie Bowman, who's a bluegrass guy, and ends with "Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good" by David Hanner."
Womack has seen many shifts in what is popularly considered "country music," but she's okay with sticking to the more traditional sound.
"I think Music Row left me a long time ago. It left the music I love a long time ago. Which is actually fine. It makes what I do more unique," she says. "The change in the industry is not a complaint, it's just an observation."