Live from Music Row, Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Nashville singer-songwriter Alexis Wilkins in studio to discuss the inspiration for her new single release of the song Grit.
Leahy: Every now and then, you have to bring in the studio a musical star. And we have that privilege this morning, Alexis Wilkins is in studio with us. You’ve been in here before.
Wilkins: Good morning. I have.
Leahy: Great to have you here. Every time I go to an event, there you are, Alexis Wilkins performing. You are at the big event that was out where was that? In Mount Juliet.
Leahy: It was quite a crowd there, wasn’t it?
Wilkins: It was.
Leahy: This was the event at the church there. How many people there? Three thousand, 5000?
Wilkins: Oh, gosh, I don’t even know.
Leahy: It’s called, like, Restoration. And a lot of speakers, a lot of performers. And you were one of the performers there. So I’m walking there, and I’m there to meet a couple of friends. I’m there to meet Floyd Brown, who’s the founder of The Western Journal.
Floyd Brown is the guy if you know Citizens United, that famous Supreme Court case that founded Citizens United way back when. And then he was to introduce me to and I did meet later Mike Flynn, the former national security advisor to Donald J. Trump.
So I’m there, and I’m just hanging out, and I’m waiting to go and be introduced by Floyd to meet Mike Flynn, and who comes by? But there you are. Hey, Mike, how are you doing? Alexis, what are you doing here?
Wilkins: Who let me in there?
Leahy: Who let me in there?
Wilkins: Oh, no, me. I met me. (Chuckles)
Leahy: What is it like performing for crowds like that?
Wilkins: Oh, it’s great. It’s really great. Especially singing STAND. They’re so rallied up, and it’s just great.
Leahy: Tell our listening audience what STAND is.
Wilkins: STAND is a song I released for Veterans Day at the end of last year. And we did a project with Truth Social and Rumble to put it out. And it’s been really great performing it live ever since.
Leahy: Now, are we debuting today a new song?
Wilkins: Yes, we are.
Leahy: You brought it especially to us here at The Tennessee Star Report, the world debut of a song titled Grit. Is that right?
Wilkins: This is the first play.
Leahy: We’re honored to be able to debut this song.
Wilkins: Thank you.
Leahy: What is the song about, and why you decided to release it?
Wilkins: Grit is no secret that I write a lot, both in songs and articles about old-fashioned values and the good old days and really just…
Leahy: Old-fashioned American values.
Wilkins: I know it’s sad that they have to call them old-fashioned, but I don’t know.
Leahy: Classic American values.
Wilkins: Exactly. Classic American values. And so Grit is about that Grit is no different to that. I wrote it, and I’m excited for you all to hear it.
Leahy: Ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to play this song in its entirety.
Leahy: The world debut of Grit, written and performed by our guest, Alexis Wilkins. (Grit plays)
Leahy: That is the world debut of the song Grit, written and performed by our guest in studio, Alexis Wilkins. Alexis, people who tuned into this program and said, what is going on with The Tennessee Star Report? That’s the first time we’ve played a song that long on this program.
Wilkins: But thank you.
Leahy: We need to support rising young stars who actually are writing songs that promote classic American values. Tell us about why you wrote that particular song. The opening line is, my dad forced me to change my tires, and I’m doing it again and I know how to do it. I got some Grit.
Wilkins: I’ve loved the word grit for a long time, and I’ve always loved it as a title, and when I went to write it, it was kind of just all of the things that feel like used to be really standard growing up, especially in the south. And you learn lessons, and you have to go through things, and they make you stronger.
You don’t have a chip on your shoulder because of them. What a concept. You learn from them, and you become a stronger and more whole person. And so writing that in a song that was easily consumable and kind of fun, kind of a fun play on it was really just the goal here.
Leahy: So you know what you’re really saying?
Wilkins: What am I saying? (Laughter)
Leahy: Unlike a lot of other people in America today, I am not fragile!
Wilkins: (Laughs) Exactly.
Leahy: I think that’s what you’re really saying.
Wilkins: I’m saying toughen up a little. Toughen up a little bit.
Leahy: Snap out of it!
Leahy: Quit whining!
Leahy: I’ve talked to a friend about writing a book about American engagement in the political process and I’ve got a working title. I don’t know if I’ll write it. Writing a song is a lot of work, isn’t it?
Wilkins: It depends. It depends on the song.
Leahy: Sometimes you can just knock it out in like in half an hour and sometimes it takes like a long time.
Wilkins: That’s true.
Leahy: Writing a book is different. I wrote a book that was published by Harper Collins. That was 11 years ago. My goodness, that’s a long time. I always had the intention of, well, I’m going to write a whole bunch of books. That was the last book I wrote. It was exhausting. But sometimes the idea just comes to you.
Let me just speculate here. When you went to college, were a lot of your peers in the business of whining and complaining about the world? (Wilkins laughs) Let me just put you on the spot here.
Wilkins: If you’ve been to a college campus in the last couple of years, you might have your own answer for that.
Leahy: That’s a very diplomatic way to answer. I’ll answer, yes, she has grit. We got to get more young people to have grit in the world.
Wilkins: We are trying to promote it.
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:
– – –
Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Alexis Wilkins” by Alexis Wilkins.