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Hailey Whitters on Writing 'Raised' and a Year of Firsts

If there's any artist in country music, or the music industry in general, that should be described as “one to watch,” it’s Hailey Whitters. Her second record, The Dream, which was released in 2020, spurred Whitters into the spotlight. Her crisp, dreamy, and natural-sounding voice goes hand-in-hand with her honest and palpable songwriting that sets her apart from her peers. Whitters, an Iowa native, connects to her midwestern background in her third LP, Raised.

The new era, teased by vintage-looking, grainy photos of Whitters in a corn field and seated in a silo, began with the single “Everything She Ain’t.” She speaks on the track stating, “You know, I think 'Everything She Ain’t' is just so fun and I feel like, production wise, shows a lot of influences on the record.” Whitters also notes that the track was a clear favorite within the team of people around her. “It was kind of the right foot to start out on.”


The video for the song features Whitters in an old timey homecoming dress appearing next to girls in cheerleading uniforms. “I did the video with my creative director Harper Smith,” Whitters tells The Nash News. “We always find a way to show some personality, or to show people who I am visually, and this idea for the music video is inspired by an actual true occurrence of me being the homecoming queen of my high school.” She sings in a school gym and under the flashing beams of a disco ball. The video perfectly captures the straightforward boldness of the lyrics.


The second single, “The Neon,” was quite drastically different from “Everything She Ain’t.” It was written by Whitters, Lori McKenna, and Rodney Clawson; it was the first time the three of them collaborated together. “It’s kind of an interesting combo for me just ‘cause I feel like I love what each of them do,” she explains with attention to her craft. “Lori and I tend to dive deep into songwriter land and I feel like Rodney helped keep it fresh and reinvent the idea in a way.” McKenna was the one who threw out the title, and right away Whitters knew the direction it would go. Whitters goes on to describe it saying, “It’s kin