Megan Lindsey
Meghan Linsey Brooke Boiling

'Try Harder Than That' features rapper Bubba Sparxxx.

Meghan Linsey, the charismatic singer best known for her stint in Steel Magnolia, is doing things on her own musically these days, and her first single, "Try Harder Than That," is beginning to make an impact at radio stations -- especially SiriusXM.

"I wrote it with Corey Crowder and James Otto, and it's an anthem for women, I feel like," she tells The 615. "I know that people are likening it to the anti-bro-country songs, and I guess there may be a hint of that. However, it's more about empowering women, and telling guys they need to step it up. That's the message I was trying to get across."

How does standing in the solo spotlight differ from that of Steel Magnolia -- the 2009 winner of CMT's Can You Duet, who also enjoyed a top 10 hit with "Keep On Lovin' You"? She says it is different, but she feels that it's her time to share her music and lyrics with fans. "I'm enjoying it. I feel that I had a lot to write about the last five years. When you're in a duo, you're always compromising a little bit because you're trying to make everybody happy. It's been fun doing a project of my own, and having a say of what I want to do and the songs I want to cut."

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But, Linsey stresses she's not doing it entirely by herself. She does have a great team around her. "I have a lot of people that I work with where I trust them and their opinions. I'm never completely alone, and I have such an amazing team. There's a lot of other people working on this, but I find being a solo artist easier, to be honest. I have a great relationship with my band, which I play off of on the stage."

The single contains a vocal cameo from rapper Bubba Sparxxx, who Linsey said was a delight. "He's awesome. He's a big teddy bear. I didn't know what to expect. Corey is really good friends with him. He said, 'If we're going to do this type of song, I feel we need a rap.' I agreed, so he called him and it worked out."

Her fan base is very much in her corner as well, spreading the word about "Try Harder Than That." "Every time I go on the SiriusXM Highway page, it's blowing up, so that's been nice. I have some very excited fans that have put the fan club together. It's all been very positive."

Another change that Linsey is getting used to is not having the promotional arm of a major label behind her, but she says learning how all the pieces fit has been a great experience. "It's very different. Everything has changed, but I worked very hard on Big Machine. I'm very involved in it all. I have learned so much about what everybody's job is. I'm more appreciative of people and what they do."

There were times when, during the height of Steel Magnolia, things happened so quickly she really didn't have a chance to enjoy it. She plans to not let that happen twice. "There were things like playing Letterman. A couple of hours later, I remember thinking, 'Did that really happen?' It just didn't feel real. You're just going through the motions, and you're tired, so sometimes you don't get to soak it in until it's already happened -- which is crazy."

Look for more new music from the singer by year's end. "I have an EP we're working on that Tyler Cain is producing. I wanted to keep it fresh with the people we used. It's not your typical Nashville studio production -- it's a little bit outside the box. The fans seem to like it. I did a pledge campaign and mailed out the EP to the ones who pledged. I feel like we've got a lot of momentum right now."

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