Hannah Dasher is definitely female: As she puts it, she’s “100% woman.” And she’s also a hell of a country artist.
But she doesn’t consider herself a “female country artist.”
If you’re not familiar with Hannah yet, you probably will be very soon. Last year she released her Sony debut EP, The Half Record, and after just one listen it’s easy to hear that she’s not like a lot of the other women on country radio today.
There are songs like the bombastic “You’re Gonna Love Me,” where Hannah introduces herself to listeners as a “bad mamma jamma fresh out of Savannah.” And there’s the record’s first track, “Leave This Bar,” about a group of girls heading to the bar just to look for somebody who will give them a reason to leave.
Her songs aren’t like the typical love or heartbreak songs that you might associate with female country artists. She often sings about subjects that other female artists don’t – or that their teams won’t let them – include in their music, with songs like “Stoned Age” and “I’m Gonna Whoop Your Redneck Ass.”
In fact Hannah’s songs often sound like they’d appeal more to men than women – and that’s because Hannah says she considers herself one of the guys.
During an appearance on The Backstage Pass podcast this month, Hannah was asked about the recent increase in female country artists on the radio:
“I appreciate that they’re giving us a voice. But I plan to make noise whether or not just because I consider myself to be one of the boys, which is why I love Reba so much, because Reba didn’t wanna cut ballads like everybody else and sing those whiny songs like most women do.
And I don’t either. I sing upbeat and, you know, stuff that’s true to me.”
Now obviously a lot’s been made over the last decade or so about women being represented in country radio. (Remember “tomato-gate” back in 2015 when a radio consultant said that male artists were the “lettuce in our salad” and that women were the tomatoes?)
And we’re starting to see female artists get more airplay, especially in recent years with such incredible music coming from women like Ashley McBryde, Carly Pearce, Miranda Lambert, and a ton of other talented female artists.
But Hannah has an idea why females have struggled recently to get played on the radio:
“I think there’s a reason why boys have ruled the radio. It’s because girls have been singing a bunch of whiny, slow-ass songs that nobody wants to listen to.
I don’t listen to that. If I can’t put it on my gym mix, or if it doesn’t move me, then I don’t listen to it either.”
And Hannah also doesn’t want anything gifted to her just because she’s a woman – she wants to work for it and earn it like everybody else:
“I think it’s wonderful to provide opportunities for people, but I also think we don’t need to overlook the star quarterbacks that are sitting on the bench.
It’s really really political up here. And I’m not trying to sound like I’m jaded, because I’m so grateful to do this for a living. I just think there’s some really great talent out there that needs to be discovered, like Brent Cobb. There’s just a lot of great acts out there that I think are gonna do something.
But as a woman, I’m grateful to be unique, to stand out among the girls in my own way. And it’s a man’s world and I love men, so I’m hoping that doesn’t go away either.
I don’t want anyone to make an exception for me or for anybody else because I’m a woman, because I’m black or white – I think you really dilute the whiskey when you get to do that kinda thing. I just think that great music and great talent should speak for itself.”
There’s a lot to be said for an artist who knows who they are, and who they want to be, and wants to do the work to get there rather than being handed something. Authenticity in country music – we talk about it all the time here.
And that’s especially true for an artist like Hannah Dasher, who has to be one of the best-kept secrets in Nashville right now. I’ve often compared her to Chris Stapleton (and she’s even made the same comparison herself) in that everybody in Nashville loves her and knows how great she is.
But just like with Stapleton, he flew somewhat under the radar until his famous duet with Justin Timberlake at the CMA Awards in 2015.
If I had to guess, I think Hannah’s big break is going to come sooner rather than later.
And there won’t be any doubt that when that big break does come, it won’t come as something that was gifted to her because she’s a woman.
It will be because she’s earned it.
If you wanna check out the full interview with Hannah on The Backstage Pass podcast, you can watch it here:
And just because it’s my favorite song off The Half Record: