Maren Morris On Leaving Country Music: “I Cannot Participate In The Toxic Arms Of This Institution Anymore”

Maren morris country music

Maren Morris is speaking further on her choice to leave country music.

After the release of her EP The Bridge, the Grammy Award-winning artist announced that she was done with country music.

She shared when she released the two songs, “The Bridge” and “Get The Hell Out Of Here,” essentially announcing her exit and trashing what she referred to as the “toxic” culture of Nashville:

“I wrote this on the 10 year anniversary of my moving to Nashville. It’s about a toxic “family tree” burning itself to the ground. Halfway through, I realize it’s burning itself down without any of my help.

This song evokes the pain of exhausting all your love and time for this person or “entity” but realizing it’s just a draining, transactional relationship that isn’t nourishing in any healthy way. By the end of the song, I give myself permission to face the sun, plant new seeds where it’s safer to grow and realize that sometimes there IS greener grass elsewhere.

This is the aftermath of the tree burning. Being quite literally burned out, this is a story of me feeling pulled in every direction, needing everyone else’s understanding and acceptance but my own and how self-destructive that ultimately became.

I relinquish control of trying to change everyone’s mind or bad faith behavior and focus on my own power going forward. Doing the right thing can feel lonely at times, but there are more friends than foes, so I finally quit making myself one of them.”

Since the announcement of her departure, many artists have spoken out about her choice, including Ward Davis, who commented that it’s hard to quit something you weren’t in, to begin with.

After her announcement last month, Morris appeared this week on Popcast (Deluxe) conversation with The New York Times’s Jon Caramanica and Joe Coscarelli. She spoke further about her choice to leave the industry and elaborated on her thoughts.

She revealed that she has been sitting on the two tracks from the EP since January, also noting that she doesn’t want to say goodbye but:

“I don’t want to say goodbye, but I really cannot participate in the really toxic arms of this institution anymore. I couldn’t do this sort of circus anymore, feeling like I had to absorb or explain people’s bad behavior. And you know, laugh it off.” 

Morris says later in the podcast that she will continue to write in the space but is pulling all of her previously recorded tracks from being considered for award nominations.

“I asked not to submit my music…I don’t know if it’s forever or it’s just how I’m feeling in this current state. 

I’m not shutting off fans of country music — or that’s not my intention… it’s just the music industry that I have to walk away a few, like, factions from.”

Well, I guess that answers the pending question of whether she was genuinely stepping away…

Check out the full podcast episode here.

Morris noted the following in a Los Angeles Times interview when asked about her association with the Nashville country scene after the release of The Bridge:

“The further you get into the country music business, that’s when you start to see the cracks. And once you see it, you can’t un-see it. So you start doing everything you can with the little power you have to make things better…

 If you truly love this type of music and you start to see problems arise, it needs to be criticized. Anything this popular should be scrutinized if we want to see progress.

But I’ve kind of said everything I can say. I always thought I’d have to do middle fingers in the air jumping out of an airplane, but I’m trying to mature here and realize I can just walk away from the parts of this that no longer make me happy.”

She blames Donald Trump for empowering a new branch of racist and misogynistic “hyper-masculine” country music:

“After the Trump years, people’s biases were on full display. It just revealed who people really were and that they were proud to be misogynistic and racist and homophobic and transphobic.

All these things were being celebrated, and it was weirdly dovetailing with this hyper-masculine branch of country music. I call it butt rock.”

She adds that she feels betrayed by country music, and this new chapter of music is the result of that:

“These songs are obviously the result of that… the aftermath of walking away from something that was really important to you and the betrayal that you felt very righteously.

But also knowing there’s a thread of hope as you get to the other side.”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock