Her debut album, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, which is full of tales of drinking and trouble, was rejected 30 times before Jack White heard her, and signed Price to Third Man as his label’s first country artist.
Above, watch Price’s recent performance of “Hurtin’ (on the Bottle)” from a recent episode of Saturday Night Live.
Then read on to learn more about the hard-scrabble Nashville outlaw’s 13-year rise to fame, her perseverance, definition of success, and road to glory, which has been paved with poverty, the heart-breaking death of her child, and a drunken misdemeanor.
“I always wanted to be equal with the boys,” she says. “I never thought it was fair that women couldn’t travel freely because it was dangerous. I’d stay by myself on the North Carolina coast for a couple of weeks, with my dog and my gun, and my mom would be terrified. I told her, if I stay home, a lamp could fall on my head. You can’t spend your whole life inside because you’re scared.”
On the truthfulness of country music:
“What I always liked about country music was the stories, the ability to talk about very real things like divorce and drinking and death and jail.”
On accusations that she’s “cut the line”:
“To me, it’s like: ‘How dare a woman do something before a man does?’ Everybody gets different breaks all the time. No career is going to be the same as another career.”
On her definition of success:
“Never having to ask for money from anybody, being able to put my son in a good school, and putting food on the table.”
On losing one of her twin children in 2010 to a rare heart defect:
“I always struggled with depression long before I ever got pregnant,” she says. “That was the tipping point. Like, I’ve got a failing career, not a lot going for me, and now this happens? It had felt like, at least I’m gonna have these children and it’s gonna look picture-perfect.”
On whether she’s worried things are moving too fast:
“No! … I worried so long that I would sing to empty bars my whole life. I was singing my guts out, there would be five people into it. I’m in my prime right now.”
Above, here’s Price performing an emotional rendition of “Hands of Time” at NPR’s SXSW music showcase in Austin, Texas, this year.