Whitney Merritt, Adding Her Own Twang in Country Music

Whitney Merritt
Whitney Merritt at Robert's Western World

Hometown: Owensboro, KY

Genre: Country, Bluegrass

Influences: Reba McEntire, Loretta Lynn, Miranda Lambert, Patsy Cline

Favorite Venue: Robert’s Western World

 

How long has music been a part of your life?

“I grew up in a musical family, so it was pretty much handed down to me. My dad comes from a family of 14 siblings. His grandparents and parents played music, all playing bluegrass. My dad is a songwriter and wrote, for all of his kids, a song about each one, so I always have had songwriting in my life. He’s my main inspiration. My brother, father, and I are the songwriters in the family and my sister is an actress.”

Have you co-written with your family?

“No, but my dad and I have writing competitions. He calls me and comes up with a topic to see who can write the best song. One time, we wrote a song about magazines in the grocery store. He tries to challenge me and my songwriting, which I appreciate so much.”

When was your first EP released and what songs were included?

“My first EP, It Ain’t Easy, was released in March of 2016. There are 5 tracks, including one written by my dad called ‘Dirty Dishes’. He wrote that song when I was younger and he told me when I’m older, I will sing this song. I’m glad ‘Dirty Dishes’ ended up on my EP because it is special to me. The other songs are ‘Barking up the Wrong Tree’, ‘It Ain’t Easy’, ‘When the Heart Wants’, and ‘Know What You Do’.”

Whitney Merritt

Is there a story behind ‘Know What You Do’?

“This song is the most personal to me. I could write for days about others’ experiences, but it’s hard to write about my own. ‘Know What You Do’ is about a guy who wasn’t straight up with me. He always tried to be a nice guy and that made me mad because I’m the type of person who wants it how it is, not beating around the bush. Trying not to hurt my feelings, hurt my feelings even more.”

What is ‘When the Heart Wants’ about?

“You hear it and think it’s based off of Johnny and June’s song, but I wrote this about my friend’s relationship. ‘When the Heart Wants’ tells a story of a girl who is heartbroken and thinks she can’t get past it. She meets a new guy who is a friend at first and the relationship is built on the music they listen to together.”

Why is Robert’s Western World your favorite place in Nashville?

“I like Robert’s because they keep it traditional country. Bands with fiddles, steel guitars, and mandolins are my favorite. I used to come here a lot with my family. We would actually come down to broadway every other weekend to watch my dad play in bars. We would bar hop, sometimes wait outside for him to get done. He took us to Opry Mills mall after as a treat for coming with him.”

What are you goals?

“My ultimate goal is to be a member of the Opry. My other goals are winning a CMA award and cowrite with Natalie Hemby. Natalie is my favorite songwriter. I saw her at the Opry and was able to cross it off my bucket list. Other people want Grammy’s and number one’s to know they’re successful. If I achieve my three goals, that’s how I know I’ve made it.”

How do you like your job at the Grand Ole Opry House?

“I walk in every day and still get chills. The Opry means a lot to me. I was that girl in high school who had the Opry bumper sticker. Everyone loves it but I am a geek about it. Every day at work, we take pictures of people on stage so I get to stand in the circle. It helps me stay focused on my dreams.”

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