90-Year-Old Willie Nelson Shares His Secret to Songwriting & Promotes New Docuseries

Angels Sing Willie Nelson 2013
Joaquin Avellan/Lionsgate/Everett Collection

Willie Nelson turned 90 years old this year and continues to tour and release music. Not only that but Nelson recently wrote a book called “Energy Follows Thought” and he and his family have a new docuseries in the works with Paramount+. Willie Nelson & Family will premiere on Paramount+ on December 21 and will share details about Nelson’s life and long career. Nelson gave filmmakers Thom Zimny and Oren Moverman access to his archives to deliver fans some never-before-seen content.

The four-part series is executive produced by Taylor Sheridan, co-creator of Yellowstone. Sheridan said, “Willie’s music formed the soundtrack of my youth. His songwriting helped shape me as a storyteller…. Willie has opened his life to us — warts and all — to serve as a beacon to overcoming failure, realizing dreams, and keeping your compass once the dream is achieved.”

Songwriter Willie Nelson 1984

Everett Collection

Nelson has written and performed hundreds of songs during his long career. In a recent interview on CBS Mornings, Nelson was asked about how he approaches songwriting and what he does if he ever runs into the dreaded writer’s block. He admitted that writer’s block happens to every songwriter but he said the secret is to simply wait. Inspiration will strike at some point.

He added, “I haven’t quit … I’m 90. Maybe I should, but … after every tour. I said, this is it. And then get the urge again to go back.” This year, Nelson was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and celebrated all of the music he has released. While Nelson is a music icon these days, it wasn’t always easy for him.

Willie Nelson performs at MusiCares Person of the Year honoring Dolly Parton at Los Angeles Convention Center on February 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California

Rich Fury/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

He recalled a time when things were very dark for him. He was trying to make it as a country artist in Nashville and wasn’t fitting in. He began to drink a lot and even contemplated suicide. Eventually, he moved to Texas and embraced the culture there, finding it was a much better fit. He quit drinking and things truly turned around for him.

Before watching Willie Nelson & Family, check out Willie Nelson’s 90th Birthday Celebration on CBS this Sunday, December 17 at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Kings Of Country
Want More?

Kings Of Country

March 2022

From outlaws Willie & Waylon to the Man in Black, Johnny Cash, we have every tear in your beer covered

Buy This Issue