Interview: RaeLynn Talks All Things “Tailgate”

The weather has cooled down here in Nashville, so when I found out that my morning interview with country music singer-songwriter RaeLynn was in the cab of her Ford F-150, I sifted through my fall fashion and layered up. Little did I realize I was going to enter a truck that was filled with warmth — both in temperature and welcome.

RaeLynn’s new single, “Tailgate,” set the theme for her conversations that day, and I was lucky to get her right out the gate, incredibly eager to discuss the song that has proven to the country music community that our sweet little teenage artist is all grown up. The song, penned by RaeLynn, Tyler Hubbard (of Florida Georgia Line), Canaan Smith, and Corey Crowder, first came up during a BMI songwriters’ retreat. Crowder, who is also her producer, told her she needs a song that will make her dance with a “stank face” (because “if you don’t stank face when you dance, you’re not really dancing”).

Taking the idea of a dance song to the table, the group began writing. RaeLynn recalled Hubbard mentioning the title “Tailgate Tales” previously and threw it back out for them all to consider. Immediately, Hubbard said, “that’s something cool” and they got to work.

We literally wrote the whole song on a guitar, and I could not stop moving because it was just so much fun. I’ve been driving this truck since I’m eighteen, and it was the first car I ever got. I brought it to Nashville and it’s been kind of my staple. Anyone who sees a red truck, they always think it’s me. Everyone in the industry is like “oh, here comes Rae coming down the street!” It’s always been my thing. I love this truck so much, I finally had to write a song about it.

The song about her truck ended up being the most “risque” song RaeLynn has put out to date, which makes sense since she has become an adult in the public eye. However, even though it was pretty different from what she has released in the past, crossing the proverbial line from adolescence to adulthood with her music didn’t faze her one bit.

We all can tell on ourselves a little bit. We’re all human, we all do the same things. The key to whoever you tailgate with is as long as you marry them, your mama won’t be as mad! . . . This song is so much fun, and as long as you tell on yourself, it’s better than somebody saying you did this. There’s nothing that I have done that I’m not willing to talk about. I’m a very open book and I think that’s the next step in this. That’s why it wasn’t very hard for me to do this song or sing this song or sell it, because I am an open book, and I don’t mind admitting to the things I have done.

Giving her the ability to admit what she has done and feel as though her music is a safe place to share bits of herself is the authenticity she is proud to maintain. In fact, if she was to pass along a piece of advice to those looking to start a career at a young age and make it in this town, it would be to stay true to themselves.

It is super easy in this industry to change your gut feeling on music and what you want to say based on what people are saying is going to work. I think that is something that when you come to this town and you have something unique, stick to that and be firm about it because, at the end of the day, that’s what’s going to get you far is sticking with your gut feeling.

That self-assurance has gotten RaeLynn far, and her confidence in herself and the other ladies of country music continues to help her soar. Of course, it is no secret that radio stations’ preference of male artists is glaring, but that has not stopped RaeLynn from keeping her head up and her heart in the game.

Every girl artist that is in country music is a bad ass, and they can sing, they can perform, they can write, they have all these qualities, and only this little bit gets seen. I think the tide is turning. I pray the tide is turning, ’cause if it’s not, we’re going to come fighting for it, ’cause we all deserve a spot. There’s room for everybody, and I think that’s why we all band together because we want to show everybody, “listen, we are friends. We all want each other to win. Genuinely, when something happens for one of my friends in this industry, or any woman in this industry, I’m like “heck yes! This is amazing. I’m so thankful for them.” I think it’s important to have that mind set.

On the topic of amazing things, RaeLynn shared that she is excited to hit the road with Kane Brown in 2019, as well as continue on her SiriusXM tour. She also hinted there is more on the tour-front up her sleeve, but she wasn’t quite ready to share just yet, so stay tuned! RaeLynn is also working toward releasing more singles and growing her music catalog one track at a time for now…and we can’t wait to hear what will serve as the followup to “Tailgate”!

Speaking of “Tailgate,” I couldn’t hop out of RaeLynn’s truck after conducting an interview in the heart of football season without asking her about some of her personal tailgate favorites!

Ford or Chevy: Ford
Tailgate at a music event or sporting event: Music
Favorite tailgate food/drink: Wings and beer
Favorite tailgate game: Cornhole
Person in front of you is driving too slow, tailgate them or no: “I just honk at them.”

Check out RaeLynn’s new music video for her single “Tailgate” here and keep your eyes and ears open for announcements from this fabulous female soon!


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