From pet sitting to publishing deals: Baylor alumna finds success in country music

Baylor alumna Trannie Anderson has been nominated for Song of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards. Photo courtesy of Trannie Anderson

By Kalena Reynolds | Reporter

Baylor alumna Trannie Anderson has been nominated for Song of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards for co-writing Lainey Wilson’s “Heart Like A Truck.”

Anderson said she grew up with a musical gift that attracted her to storytelling, finding her passion for songwriting at 7 years old. The craft was second nature for Anderson, and she found success with her talent and drive.

“My mom said when I was even a toddler that she would put me in this little swing, and I would just sit there and hum melodies that she had never even heard before,” Anderson said. “My response to anything in life is musical.”

Anderson said she started writing Christian music as a child, which progressed into having a band with her classmates in high school. However, her style and genre developed over time.

“My senior year of high school and throughout college, I got really obsessed with country music,” Anderson said. “I didn’t know that was going to end up being the best fit for my writing. But I grew up a little outside of Waco in McGregor, and my family has cattle, and I grew up hunting and fishing with my dad, and so it’s like I could write about that lifestyle from a very honest place.”

Her freshman year of college, Anderson won a songwriting contest called “Texas Songwriter U,” which helped jump-start her career. After graduation, she moved to Nashville and began pursuing a music publishing deal.

During this time, Anderson lived with other Baylor alumni. To make money, she started a dog-sitting company for country artists who were touring called “Pup Stars Pet Services,” which she sold in 2021. Dan + Shay, Hunter Hayes and many other notable country artists were clients of Anderson.

“It was really cool because I was staying in the houses of the artists I wanted to be writing songs for one day, and I got to build a really genuine friendship with some of them,” Anderson said.

Anderson now writes for some of the country artists she dog-sat for. Dan + Shay released a new album on Sept. 15, and Anderson is featured on it.

A few of those connections got her into meetings with publishing companies, leading to her first publishing deal. She has been at Sony Publishing for five years.

“I had a couple independent cuts, but I didn’t have any major label cuts, or I wasn’t in with any artists that had a track to radio,” Anderson said. “I was definitely a gamble. They signed me off of raw talent, I guess.”

A week before moving to Nashville, Anderson received Lainey Wilson’s phone number from a mutual friend.

“We stayed in touch and stayed friends in the years after that, and then we both ended up at Sony,” Anderson said.

A few years later, one of Anderson’s best friends and co-writers, Dallas Wilson, suggested they write a song with Lainey Wilson. The first song they wrote together was “Heart Like A Truck,” which has over 100 million streams on Spotify.

“Dallas started playing guitar and played a chord progression that became the verse progression, and Lainey and I started singing some melodies over the top of it, and it just felt so right,” Anderson said.

“Heart Like A Truck” has been featured on a Dodge Ram commercial and is nominated for Song of the Year and Single of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards.

Through humble beginnings, Woodway freshman Adelaide Laborde said she believes these fresh country stars have the potential to reach legendary status.

“It’s really nice to have a woman like Lainey Wilson releasing good songs,” Laborde said. “Lainey Wilson and Trannie [Anderson] have a real chance at becoming big stars like Dolly Parton.”