‘Energized and Humbled’ by the Success of ‘Villain,’ Lily Rose Says She’s ‘Just Getting Started’

Lily Rose; Photo by Anthony Stone
Lily Rose; Photo by Anthony Stone
Lily Rose; Photo by Anthony Stone

Rising singer/songwriter Lily Rose is carving her own path to success and she’s ready to make her mark on the country music genre. 

Rose turned heads in late 2020 with her debut single, “Villain.” After sharing a clip of the song, which she co-wrote with Mackenzie Carpenter and Kyle Clark, on TikTok, fans begged Rose to release the full track. The preview hit 1 million views in less than 24 hours and a subsequent clip reached the 1 million mark in just 13 hours.

After releasing “Villain” independently, it gained major traction on social, streaming and sales platforms. Upon its release, “Villain” shot to the top of the iTunes all-genre chart and stayed there for several weeks, even beating out Taylor Swift’s latest releases for a number of days. 

The instant success of the track garnered interest from Nashville record labels and within a  few weeks, Rose landed a joint-venture record deal with Big Loud Records, Back Blocks Music and Republic Records. 

“To say I’m excited and humbled to be a part of the Big Loud/Republic family is an understatement. You move to Nashville to sign deals like this, make music videos like these, and write the best songs possible,” the Georgia native shared when her label deal was announced. “Hell, we’re just getting started.”

While it may seem like she’s on the fast track to the top, Rose has actually been working at this for over a decade. Now, with a team behind her, she’s focused on writing the best songs and hopefully bringing “Villain” to country radio. 

We recently caught up with Lily Rose to chat about her viral success, the story behind “Villain” and more. Check out our exclusive Q&A below. 

What inspired you to pursue a career in country music?

The songwriting, hands down. Since I got my driver’s license at 16 and started listening to country music, I’ve been sonically drawn to the format as a consumer. But the commercial songwriting and storytelling are what made me want to pursue an artist and songwriting career in country music.

Who are some of your biggest influences?

Bruce Springsteen’s energy and storytelling, Maren Morris’ truth, and Sam Hunt’s swag.

What led you to decide to share your music on TikTok?

I saw friends of mine who had had success getting label attention, so I got on towards the end of October after NOT getting on for months. The music started connecting slowly, but it wasn’t until “Villain” that we really saw traction and connectivity.

Can you share the story behind “Villain?”

I think we’ve all been in relationships – not just romantic, but all types of relationships- where you think something ends cordially/amicably and then the other person decides to trash your reputation as a result. Villain is about “making yourself the bad guy if you NEED one” and taking the high road every single time until the truth is finally revealed.

What was your reaction to the overwhelming response the song is receiving?

I’m energized and humbled by it! I’m seriously so overwhelmed with gratitude and fired up to get some more music out there.

It seems as if you had overnight success, but I’m guessing that’s not the case. What were you doing before “Villain” gained traction?

Man- I’ve been working at this for 13 years. I’ve been writing songs since I was 15, and professionally chasing the artist thing down for 8 years. I’ve worked 10+ part-time jobs, routed my own tours and written songs hoping that one day I could sign a record deal.

I love how honest and open you are on Instagram. Is that important to you, to be like an open book to your followers?

Authenticity is the most important thing to me and my career. Songs are second, but as long as I’m always open and honest, my fans will hopefully continue to respect me and grow.

What are some things on your artist “bucket list?”

I cannot wait to get on the road again to tour. I would love to be a part of an arena or stadium tour within the next few years, as well as put out a killer record. Awards are nice too!

Aside from music, what are some of your hobbies?

Sports! My girlfriend wants to kill me sometimes with the amount of football and hockey I watch. We love going out with friends and eating/drinking around Nashville! I also love working out, it’s something I have to do daily to stay sane.

What’s next for you?

Hopefully some new music soon! The music video just dropped, and I can’t wait to do some more of those, too. Once we can safely tour again, that will be at the top of my list as well!

Fans can keep up with Lily Rose on Instagram

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