Editor’s Note: In celebration of Women’s History Month, You Sing I Write is highlighting female country artists and songwriters throughout March.
Lily Rose moved to Nashville four years ago to pursue an artist’s career. The self-taught drummer and guitarist began writing songs at 15 from her home in Atlanta. In December, Rose posted a clip of her song “Villain” on TikTok that went viral. “Villain” reached No. 1 on iTunes’ all-genre chart, besting Taylor Swift. Now she hopes to replicate that success at radio.
Rose grew up on Top 40 radio, initially planning to try her hand at contemporary pop. Not until relocating to Music City did she realize she most often fell in love with writing songs that were country. She says co-writing in Nashville elevated her songcraft.
“I’m getting set up on so many incredible writes with these legendary songwriters,” Rose tells me. “It’s humbling to even be in the room with them.”
Rose penned “Villain” in November 2019 with Kyle Clark and Mackenzie Carpenter. She had put the title idea in her phone after going through a breakup which she thought ended cordially only to find out her ex didn’t feel the same. In “Villain,” Rose sings, “Whatever helps you sleep at night/ You can make me the bad guy.”
“I’ve learned that you don’t have to live in a small town to have a small town,” she says. “Social media has turned into that for all of us. I expressed to Kyle and Mackenzie what I was going through [and that] I had to actively choose the high road every day because this person was making me look like a villain.”
Rose posted a clip of “Villain” to TikTok on Dec. 1 and due to an overwhelming response teamed with Back Blocks Music’s Rakiyah Marshall to release the song independently on Dec. 15. “Villain” held steady at No. 1 on the iTunes all-genre chart leading into Christmas and remained on the iTunes Top 30 for five consecutive weeks. The song’s success resulted in Rose signing a joint-venture record deal in January with Big Loud Records, Republic Records and Back Blocks Music. “Villain” is officially at country radio today.
For more of my interview with Lily Rose, visit Country Insider.