Miranda Lambert On The Struggles For Women Coming Up In The Texas Music Scene: “Knowing What You Want Doesn’t Make You A B*tch”

Miranda Lambert country music

Miranda Lambert is a Texas girl to her core.

You hear references to her life growing up in Lindale often in her music, and she’s pretty open about sharing how it shaped her into the artist and woman she’s become.

She’s talked about her experience coming up in Nashville when she really started touring and opening up for men in mainstream country before, but recently, she talked about the really early days when she was still playing small bars in east Texas.

Her first true gig at a bar came three weeks before her 18th birthday, so for a time before and after that, her dad would always go with her to the shows to keep an eye on her and make sure she was safe.

And honestly, she probably didn’t even need that, because the girl has always stood up for herself with ease. It was a family affair too, as her mom was her booking agent for years before she hired her now manager, Marion.

In a recent interview with Dr. Diana Vela, they discussed her induction to the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame museum, as well as what it was like for a very young Miranda to carve out her own path in the Texas music scene when it wasn’t always a place for girls back then:

“Absolutely, it’s a man’s world, like you said… my management is all female run. It’s me and my manager Marion, and before that, it was my Momma.

She was the one calling every bar owner in Texas saying ‘Can my daughter play some songs?’ It was pretty much ‘No’ 99 percent of the time.

Because there’s a whole Texas music scene, and it pretty much has always been dominated by males. Even from the Willie and Waylon days, you know. Jessi Colter snuck in there, but there was really not a lot of female’s on the scene, especially down there.”

It’s interesting to hear her talk about the Texas music scene specifically. I mean, most of my favorite artists right now are in Texas and I absolutely love the unique sound and culture they have down there.

But similar to Nashville, and possibly even more so, it was a challenge to get a spot in a lot of places because of the old “girls don’t draw” bullshit.

“And they would always say girls don’t really draw, so I ended up just kinda boots on the ground, like I’d go to shows of people I liked, and have my guitar and ask the bar owner if I could sing at set change.

And they’d be like, ‘You can get up there and do two or three’, or whatever, and I would just play and sing anywhere I could anytime I could.”

That just meant she had to work even harder to earn her spot, and she was more than willing to do so:

“And the more I had to learn to sing over clanking beer bottles, and bar fights, and louder jukebox music, and pool games, and football games on TV, the more it, like, put fire in me of like, I’m gonna get their attention.

And it’s gonna take a long time, but I was there for it. And I’m still doin’ that now.”

Of course, it has gotten much better since Miranda’s early days in the business. I mean, just take a look at some of the incredible young female stars right now that are poised for massive years in 2022.

But on radio especially, it’ still proven to be a hard place for female artists to really breakthrough. Miranda herself has struggled getting radio play and she’s THE female country superstar of the last decade.

And, now that all the end-of-year lists are coming out and we’re seeing all the data from the past year on radio, it only further proves Miranda’s point, unfortunately.

Here’s a look at Billboard’s Top 10 Country Airplay Artists of 2021:

You’re really gonna tell me Dan + Shay deserve more airplay on country radio than Carly Pearce or Lainey Wilson?

Sometimes though, it’s not even about radio numbers or awards… you have to do so much more to even get ready to go on stage, which can be fun, but also, really annoying at times:

“In country music, you know, there’s still that big, it’s closin’ in little by little, but there’s still that big gap of we just have to work harder. Woman just have to work harder. Whether it’s radio, or whether it’s puttin’ on our show clothes.

I mean, I would love to throw on a dirty ball cap and a white t-shirt and go on stage. That would be great. But, I got spanx, and heels, and all kinda layers, you know what I mean? It’s just, we have to do a lot more and we have to really be strong in it.

You know, I don’t know if you’ll have to bleep this, but one of my favorites quotes is, ‘Knowing what you want does not make you a bitch’.”

Can I get an amen?

She’s carried that mentality with her in all aspects of her career, and the people who work for her live by it as well:

“And I feel like that is kinda what we go by as far as, like, all the people in my camp.

Band, crew, management, my parents who do my merch and all that stuff. Like we just kinda go, this is who we are, this is what we want, and we’re gonna get it.

Even if it takes a little more time and a lot more effort.”

At the end of the day, that’s probably the only foolproof recipe for success regardless of anything else.

And one of my favorite things about Miranda is that she’s actually done a lot to help younger artists get their foot in the door. She’s done quite a few all-girl tours over the years, has a girl-band called the Pistol Annies, and often writes with some of the best women in Nashville.

Possibly most importantly of all is that she shares her honest, real feelings and life experiences in her music that make all of us girls feel a little bit less crazy sometimes (just sometimes, though, right?).

The whole interview is worth watching, but her thoughts on the Texas music scene start around the 12:20 mark:

A beer bottle on a dock

STAY ENTERTAINED

A beer bottle on a dock