To say that Baylor Wilson was born to be in the spotlight would be a grave understatement. Baylor Wilson was born with the spotlight in her. Walking beside her down the streets of Nashville, it seems as though she knows more people than she doesn’t. It gives the appearance that Nashville is a small town and Baylor is a native. Neither one of those are true. Nashville is a big city and Baylor hails from, Dallas, Texas. The truth is something that points to who she is perhaps better than anything else: she just makes friends everywhere she goes.
“I love people and hearing people’s stories. I want to be everyone’s best friend. I know that’s not realistic, but I do,” Baylor says. “When I’m sitting with someone talking to them, that’s my goal. ‘Oh you’re from Texas?’ Or, ‘Oh, you don’t have a good relationship with your dad either?’ Or, ‘Oh, your favorite color is purple?’ I just want everyone to feel known.” That spark is a product of both nature and nurture. Raised by a single mom who owned a competitive cheerleading gym, Baylor began performing early. At age 5, she took to cheerleading like she was born for it, and for most of her life she thought she was. It wasn’t until she was 16 and taught herself how to play guitar that she wondered if perhaps there was something calling her name that she never imagined.
“The first time I ever wrote a song, I was at a counseling center with my mom. That was me picking up a pen, trying to get my feelings out, and it just came out in lyric form,” she says. And thus, writing songs commenced. Armed with a warm, raspy voice and plenty of teenage angst to spare, Baylor’s songwriting quickly caught fire and caught the attention of all who heard her. Among those early listeners were Jeff Hanna and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. In May of 2012, in a happenstance meeting at a bed and breakfast in Oklahoma, the band listened to Baylor’s songs and Hanna said the words that changed the trajectory of Baylor’s entire life: “What are you doing in Norman, Oklahoma? You need to get your butt to Nashville.”
“It was never my plan to be 10 hours away from Dallas. I never thought in the moment of sitting on a porch with this band that I barely knew who they were, ‘This is where God is changing your life.’ I didn’t choose to move to Nashville. Nashville moved me.” Hanna and his wife, Matraca Berg, quickly became Baylor’s biggest champions and with their encouragement and help, she made the move to Music City and enrolled at Belmont University. It was there that Nashville began to see something Hanna knew all along: there was something different about Baylor, and it was even more than just her songs.
Between her aptitude for performing, her comfort level in front of an audience, and her incredible drive and work ethic, Baylor left little room for doubt in anyone’s mind that if no one made it happen for her, she would make it happen for herself. That determination has served her in ways she never would have guessed, including a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in the fall of 2014 when Baylor and her mom appeared on CBS’s Survivor: Blood vs. Water. Baylor walked away with a top five finish under her belt and a refined sense of what it takes to succeed.
“Survivor gave me trust issues, a parasite, and one of the best experiences of my life. The music industry is a lot like Survivor. You have to pick your team, watch your back, and trust in the people who believe in you.” Baylor then returned to Belmont and began the challenge of tackling college and the music business simultaneously.
In 2015, Baylor won Country Showcase at Belmont resulting in her playing the prestigious Best of the Best Showcase. It was there that she caught the ear of one of the judges, producer Luke Wooten (Dierks Bentley, Brad Paisley). Wooten became a fan first and a teammate next, producing Baylor’s EP and signing her to a co-venture with Station West and Sea Gayle Music Publishing in February of 2016. Now, with a publishing deal to her name and the same tenacity fueling her artistry, Baylor is continuing to blaze an unlikely trail through the country music scene. With the release of her aforementioned EP, Living Right, set for April 8th and her college graduation on the horizon, Baylor’s balancing act is impressive to anyone who glances her way.
“All these things - relationships, friendships, school, music, staying healthy, spending time with God – they’re all adding colors to my wheel.” Beneath the hurricane that is Baylor’s personality made up of diligence, enthusiasm, and magnetism, there is an unwavering foundation of love that defines her life.
“When I sing songs I write, I want people to feel loved. Whether that’s through the tears that they cry or through a song about a truck. Which I hope I don’t write. But I might.”