The “Lucky” Ones – An interview with teen music star & anti-bullying advocate Josey Milner

Today, I’m interviewing an 18-year-old rising country music star about her influences, her anti-bullying advocacy and being a young adult woman in a tough biz. Meet Josey Milner!

Josey Milner

In a matter of just a couple of years, Josey Milner has gone from small-town teen to rising country music star. At 17, her debut single “Not Pretty Enough” earned her a nomination from the Independent Country Music Award for Promising Young Artist, and she soon launched her own anti-bullying campaign with Angels and Doves.

Already, Josey has had the opportunity to make music with widely recognized producers, engineers and musicians who have worked with Hall and Oates, Elton John and Dolly Parton, among others. Josey’s latest single, “Cowgirls,” is a dance anthem she hopes will take her already promising career to the next level.

You’ve worked alongside some pretty big names in the studio at such a young age. How does that feel? And what was it like working with them?

It is amazing and intimidating all at once. It was intimidating because of the big name artists that they have worked with. Here I was, an 18-year-old girl who was fairly new to the industry, working with some very skilled people. All in all though, they treated me just like another artist. They gave me advice on anything I needed help on, and the final product(s) sounded amazing!

Who are some of your biggest influences, musically or otherwise?

Miranda Lambert, Patsy Cline, Jo Dee Messina, and George Strait are some of my top influences with music. I grew up listening to Patsy, Jo Dee and George. Miranda is a big influence because she doesn’t care what people thinks about her. She’s her real self in the spotlight and she continuously releases hit after hit. Besides musically, just anyone who has gone out and chased their dreams. It takes a lot to follow through with something like this, so anyone who has tried and is happy with where they got is an inspiration and influence.

Josey Milner

When was the first time you performed in front of an audience? And what has been your favorite performance to date?

My first time performing with my band was at a place called Whiskey Tango is Grain Valley, MO. It was very nerve-racking but I loved it. My first time performing in front of a crowd was either on my horse in the rodeo arena (if you count that as a performance) or when I sang at the National Steel Guitar Convention in St. Louis, which is where my career really began. My favorite performance has been opening up for Scotty McCreery. It was amazing—completely sold out, and a memory that I will always remember.

You’re dedicated to a really noble cause. Describe your role as an anti-bullying advocate. Why is that so important to you?

I’m a spokesperson for Angels and Doves, a nationwide nonprofit charity that is focused on “bullying suicides.” With them, I am spreading the word about bullying through music. This organization is important to me because even though I have not been a victim of bullying, I have witnessed it. It breaks my heart when I see someone being picked on because of how they look, what their interests are, or anything on that level. Everyone breathes the same air and everyone should have the same opportunities. So hopefully with being involved with Angels and Doves, we will be able to make a difference.

You probably get a lot of advice as a young adult in the music business. What advice has resonated with you the most, and what advice would you give to young girls who want to do what you’re doing some day?

It’s hard to pick just a couple words of advice that I’ve been given. Throughout my career, I’ve always had someone there to lead me the right way on a decision. If I had to choose though, I would have to go with never giving up. Things can get frustrating, but you have to keep moving forward. You’re going to hit bumps along the way, but you have to get over them and not let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. There’s always going to be negativity from people, but you can’t let that tear you down. It’s a lot of hard work, but it will pay off in the end. Continue pushing forward, and as long as you’re dedicated, passionate and determined, you will make it.

Josey Milner

Your single, “Not Pretty Enough,” touches on a subject a lot of girls can relate to. Do you think it’s tougher being a woman in the music business? Why or why not?

There are some times when I think that, but then other times not so much. I think sometimes people don’t think a girl can entertain as well as a guy can, but I think some of the best performers are girls. The hardest thing for me is my age and getting people to take a chance on me with being so young. The couple of chances I have been given though have always turned out really good.

What’s the best part about being a musician/performer? The most challenging part?

The best part for me is being able to perform on stage and know that I’m providing entertainment for the people in the audience. I also love being able to meet so many cool and unique people. From radio DJs to venue owners and all the people in between, it’s pretty cool getting to know someone that you’ve never met before.

What are some of your favorite albums?

Some of my favorite albums are: any George Strait album, any Miranda Lambert album, or any good album period. I’m not very picky when it comes to music and my favorite song tends to change almost every day, if not every day.

Which would you say has played a bigger role in your success so far—luck or persistence?

A little bit of both. I’ve been very fortunate to have had some of the opportunities that I’ve experienced. Sometimes it has been being at the right place at the right time, while other times have been because of dedication and hard work. They both play roles in the career. I’d probably say more persistence than luck though.


Thanks, Josey, for sharing your story! Have any questions or thoughts for Josey? Leave them in the comments.