We are a small, independent media company on a mission to share the best of humanity with the world.
If you think the work we do matters, pre-ordering a copy of our first book would make a huge difference in helping us succeed.

eating disorder

Pop Culture

Loretta Lynn's granddaughter wows 'American Idol' judges with raw original song

Emmy Russell's original song "Skinny," featuring lyrics about body image and eating disorders, nearly brought everyone to tears.

America Idol/Youtube, Promotional image of Loretta Lynn/Wikipedia

Emmy Russell (left) and her grandmother Loretta Lynn (right)

Emmy Russell, granddaughter of country music icon Loretta Lynn, proved that she was an artist in her own right during a recent episode of “American Idol.”

The 24-year-old singer-songwriter from Nashville auditioned in front of judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan during the show's Feb. 25 episode, during which she opened up about wanting to not live in her grandmother’s shadow.

"She's one of the biggest country music singers of all time, but to me she's just Grandma," she said, adding "I think I am a little timid, and I think it is because I want to own my voice. That's why I want to challenge myself and come out here."

Russell then went to the piano and sang an origin song titled “Skinny,” featuring raw lyrics about living with an eating disorder. All three judges were floored by her storytelling and soft, but powerful voice.

"You're an A+ songwriter. So was your grandma. You got the gift. I don't think you need to compare yourself to what Grandma was. You're totally different. You shouldn't give yourself all that pressure,” Perry said just before Russell was given the unanimous approval to go through to the show's next round.

Viewers online seconded the sentiment. One person wrote, “apples don't fall far from the tree. Her Grandma passed on the gift of songwriting, and now Emmy needs to take that gift and add her own special gifts to it. It's your time to shine - enjoy the ride.”

Another added, “She definitely has a talent, and can tell a story in a song. With the right mentoring, and encouragement from people outside the family, she should fulfill the promise she shows, and step out of the Lynn shadow.”

Watch the full performance below:

Besides being a captivating performer, Loretta Lynn was known for writing deeply personal and honest lyrics. Russell does well by her role model, in a way that’s uniquely her own.