Gretchen Wilson and her mother haven’t spoken in a few years, but she’s hoping to change that on Sunday.
“As far as I know things are going a lot better with her life than they were previously,” said Wilson. “And so I’m thinking that this Mother’s Day, we might reconnect.”
Asked how that might happen, the “Redneck Woman” singer said: “Maybe a phone call.”
Wilson was born to a teenage mother, and has described her upbringing as impoverished and difficult. She has also depicted her mother as a battered wife who turned to alcohol and drugs to numb the pain of her life.
Wilson left home as a teen and also dropped out of high school at 14. But she went back to school after she became a country star and got her G.E.D. last year.
Recently, she testified on Capitol Hill about the importance of adult education.
“For three or four years, I was that redneck woman from the little bitty town with the eighth-grade education,” she said. “And that got me a long way in life, but I think this diploma is gonna get me the rest of the way. It’s helped me to hold my head up high. And I’m prouder. I’m proud to no longer be a part of that statistic.”
One reason Wilson felt driven to get her diploma is because she learned quickly how the music industry demands more than just talent.
“Growing up wanting to be a singer, that’s all you think about is the stage and the lights and the songs. But there’s a lot more business to it than I ever thought there would be.”
The 35-year-old singer is a mom herself now, to 8-year-old daughter Grace, and there is no doubt in her mind that Grace will finish school.
“Mothers and daughters have that rivalry thing,” Wilson said. “And now that I have my diploma, I have something that she doesn’t have. So I have a feeling just knowing her and knowing she’s like me, she’ll have to have one, too.”
And Grace takes after her mom.
“My daughter is a redneck woman, she’s a redneck girl,” said Wilson. “To me, redneck is a sense of self and a way of life. My daughter is proud of who she is regardless of what anybody tells her she’s supposed to be.”
Wilson’s fourth album, “I Got Your Country Right Here,” is set to be released this summer.