Hillary Lindsay Inducted into Songwriter Hall of Fame

Published on 14 June 2024 at 18:34

Hillary performs “Blue Ain’t Your Color” with Keith Urban at the 2024 Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony June 13 in NYC. She co-wrote the song, which received two Grammy nominations and was the CMA Single of the Year in 2017. 

Washington’s Hillary Lindsey joined music luminaries REM, Steely Dan, Timbaland (Timothy Mosely), and Oscar winner Dean Pitchford in NYC June 13th for induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Hillary grew up on South Alexander Avenue with her sisters Lauren and Taylor, and parents Kathy and Ricky Lindsey. For many years, her family operated a Ford dealership in Washington. 

Her musical talents seem to be hereditary —  her father was a drummer — and inevitable.  She started writing songs at age two, and went on to sing in her church choir. She won her first award at age eight in the local Kiwanis Talent Showcase. As a child, she covered country and pop hits with a karaoke machine and dreamed up melodies on the family piano. 

"At that point I assumed that all of those artists wrote their own songs," Lindsey told NPR’s “Morning Edition”. "So when I moved to Nashville, that was my assumption and I was wanting to be an artist and also write my own songs.” 

As a youngster, she won 4-H singing competitions and participated in the 4-H traveling performing arts group, “Clovers & Co”. Lindsey eventually graduated from Washington-Wilkes Comprehensive High School, and moved to Nashville in 1994 to attend Belmont University’s Music Business School. Hillary quickly became an active part of the industry, earning a publishing deal and shortly celebrated her first in a long string of hits — by her senior year she signed her first publishing deal. In 2002 she celebrated her first #1 hit – “Blessed” by Martina McBride. 

With twenty-seven number-one songs under her belt, Hillary’s songs have been recorded by Lady Gaga, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Morgan Wallen, Florida Georgia Line, Kacey Musgraves, Luke Bryan, Little Big Town, Dierks Bently, Tim McGraw, Kelsea Ballerini, HARDY, Gary Allan, Lady A, and countless others – including a career total (so far) of five CMA Triple Play Awards – in 2010, 2014, 2016, 21017 and 2021, honoring  songwriters who have penned at least three chart-topping hits within a 12-month period. In 2020 and 2021, she was awarded with back-to-back ACM Songwriter of the Year awards. In 2022, Hillary was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Her many other awards include GRAMMYs for Best Country Song for “Jesus Take The Wheel” (Carrie Underwood) in 2007 and “Girl Crush” (Little Big Town) in 2016. “Girl Crush” also earned honors for CMA Song of the Year and Single of the Year in 2015 and topped the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for a record-breaking 13 weeks. Hillary’s award-winning “Blue Ain’t Your Color” won NSAI Song of the Year for 2017. 

Hillary’s success extends to the world of film and television; she’s earned Academy Award nominations for the songs “There’s A Place For Us” recorded by Carrie Underwood for “The Chornicles of Narnia: The Voyage of The Sawn Treader” soundtrack, as well as “Coming Home” recorded by Gweneth Paltrow for the “Country Strong” soundtrack. Both songs were also nominated for Golden Globe awards for Best Original Song. In 2018, Hillary had two songs, “Always Remember Us This Way” and “I’ll Never Love Again” — featured in the blockbuster film, “A Star Is Born”, starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, the later winning a GRAMMY in 2020 for Best Song Written for Visual Media.

Although Hillary is best known as a master songwriter, she is an accomplished performer as well. She has appeared on the Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show with Gary Allen,  joined Lady Gaga live during the “Dive Bar Tour” at the 5 Spot in Nashville, and they later performed “A Million Reasons” together on Saturday Night Live.

“I wanted to work with (Lindsey) because of “Jesus Take the Wheel” and “Girl Crush” — I think she’s written some of the most beautiful country-pop records,” Lady Gaga said of performing “Million Reasons” with Hillary. “What was so wonderful was when we sat down and started working, it was this instant connection we had.”

You’d think Hillary might have settled into the comfortable life of a Nashville celebrity, but she has an adventurous side. Twelve years ago, Hillary traveled with fellow songwriters and performers to perform for American troops stationed in Afghanistan.

The group featured Nashville songwriters Lindsey, Thomas Verges, Carlton Ray Scott, Billy Montana, and Keni Thomas. The tour was organized by Thomas, a singer and former Army Ranger. They visited troops at Forward Operating Base Gardez in eastern Afghanistan’s Khwost Province. For many years, the base frequently was targeted by insurgents, and eventually closed in 2014.

“This has truly been a life-changing experience for me,” Hillary Lindsay told Army Public Affairs specialist Sgt. Abram Pennington. “I’ve always appreciated what the troops do for us. But, being here and seeing firsthand … it is remarkable what they do. Just getting to be here with the soldiers has been amazing,” Lindsey added. 

Some of the hits they performed for the soldiers included; “Wasted,” by Carrie Underwood; “American Honey,” by Lady Antebellum; “Hard to Love,” by Lee Brice; “Beer Money,” by Kip Moore; and “Circle on the Cross,” by Keni Thomas.

Hillary is married to country writer and artist Cary Barlowe. They live outside Nashville with a daughter born in 2016.

Thursday night Barlowe, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban  — who've had career-defining hits with songs co-written by Lindsey — will be on hand as she’s inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Underwood won a Grammy for best female country vocal performance for “Jesus, Take the Wheel.” Urban was nominated for best country solo performance for “Blue Ain’t Your Color.” Lindsey also won Grammys for best country song for co-writing both songs. (Although The Hall of Fame doesn’t reveal in advance who is on hand to honor whom, given the strong connections between these performers or presenters and these honorees, it’s likely they will perform one or more of her songs). A songwriter with a notable catalog of songs qualifies for induction 20 years after the first commercial release of a song.


Written by Richard Crabbe




Add comment


There are no comments yet.