She’s one of the few artists who can toe the line between mainstream radio (well, when they feel like playing her) while being somewhat of a critical darling who stays true to her Texas roots at the same time.
Not only that, but she’s managed to bring a lot of other female artists up with her and show the ropes to another generation of country music singers. In a radio landscape, that’s mainly filled with shitty bro-country and boring, manufactured singles, that’s no small feat.
Of course, she named of some of the greatest woman to ever do it:
“I grew up on the classics, with Dolly and Loretta and Tammy and Patsy. And then there was Reba, and then there was Faith and Martina and Shania.”
But, there was one problem. Beyond those iconic ladies who’s careers really peaked in the 90’s and earlier, there wasn’t anyone in the industry on that level to show Miranda the ropes like they’d done for decades prior:
“And then… there was a gap — and it was a big gap. I didn’t really have a lot of help… like, no one. I only went on tour with men because the men were touring.”
And she’s right. After those woman she named sort of aged out of radio play and mainstream recognition, there was no one. No woman to take Miranda under her wing to even talk about the simple things with.
She also notes she went on tour with men because, well, there really were no other options. They were the ones who were touring and if she wanted to have a chance to play her music for larger audiences, that’s what she’d have to do.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, certainly some of my favorite artists of all time are men. But sometimes, you need another girl to talk to because they’re the only ones who can truly understand whatever the problem may be.
Even things that seem so insignificant can be easily remedied by the listening ear of someone else who’s been there before. Of course, being a touring artist out on the road so much can present situations in daily life most other woman couldn’t even understand, so having another female that gets the issues that are unique to the music world is powerful.
“I was having a meltdown or having PMS and having to go on stage. I wanted to talk to somebody. I didn’t have that, so now that I’ve gotten to this place, I want to be that for anyone that might need it.
It’s a different game out there for girls, like, you can try to find a decent shower to wash your hair every three shows. Sometimes, no one understands that but a female artist. I take it close to the heart to be there.”
Of course, she’s definitely received some great advice from people like the aforementioned Loretta Lynn, who told her she has to remember to squeeze some real life in between all those tour stops. She just didn’t get it from someone who was out on the road with her:
“[She said] I get my inspiration from life, so if I don’t live any, then what am I writing about? Good, bad, or ugly, you have to have some time to go sit on a dive-bar stool and listen to a cover band and gather stories, or go through a breakup, or go through a really happy relationship, or just see things and do things because you’re removed when you’re on tour.”
There are a plethora of other issues with country radio beyond the fact that it’s heavily saturated with (a lot of really bad) male artists. Martina McBride recently did a podcast where she remarked that the larger issue at hand could be attributed to a question of content, rather than it just being a straight male or female imbalance.
I tend to agree with that sentiment, because if you’re reading this, you probably know there’s a lot of incredible music that will never even see the light of day at a radio station regardless of the artists gender. I’d probably call it more of a perspective gap than anything else.
So, I think the only real solution here is what Miranda’s already doing. Promote other talented female artists, expose them to your fan base, and keep making badass music that people love and relate to. Hell, do the same thing for the guys because there’s a lot of ’em making great music who deserve a chance on the radio, too.
Maybe that’s a pipe dream for now, but with people like her who genuinely care about the genre and are willing to help be a part of the shift, I don’t see why we couldn’t get there one day.
Of course, she also had a really solid alternative if that doesn’t work, and I think it could yield equally beneficial results…
You just ask the Queen of country music:
“I just need to sit down with Dolly. I have so many questions. She seems to know it all.”
Seems to me Miranda already knows a thing or two about it herself: