Maren Morris Not Afraid to Speak Up About Female Inequality in Country Music
Maren Morris has never been afraid to speak her mind. In a new interview, she takes a deep dive into the unfair treatment of women in the music business and country music specifically, saying more men need to "wake up and realize we're equal."
Glamour spoke to Morris as part of a retrospective honoring the 20th anniversary of Lilith Fair, a trendsetting all-female music festival that helped make singer-songwriters including Sarah McLaughlin some of the leading lights of the '90s.
Morris says those kinds of mass audience opportunities are decidedly lacking for female artists in the current climate.
"When I look at most lineups, especially in country, women are definitely lacking in numbers," she tells Glamour. "I’ve been one of maybe two recently at a festival. I definitely see the gap in opportunities for new female acts to get any sort of stage time with those crowds."
The Grammy-winning artist scored a huge hit right out of the box with "My Church," and her debut Hero album was one of the most critically acclaimed country projects of 2016. She has been very vocal about everything from how female artists get played less to how she gets less serious questions than her male counterparts, and has even gone where few country artists have dared to tread by criticizing President Trump.
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"There is an element of that fear when you say something, post something, or even write a song about something really personal. There’s always the inkling of some sort of backlash," she admits. "But I personally don’t think that I’ve alienated any kind of audience because I’m a new artist, and I’m still continuing to figure it out."
Morris points out that her slice of the country demographic is more progressive and open to debate. "At my shows, I’ve been fortunate to see every walk of life," she states. "I don’t think anything I would say at this point would alienate them because they're 20-somethings, and they're right there with me mentally."
Morris shares a surprising story to illustrate why she tries not to get defensive even when men in country music don't take her as seriously as they should, saying, "I think that's not constructive."
"So even when a drunk guy, a program director, was slurring his words and telling me what to do with my career, I didn’t react to him in a negative way, she adds. "You kind of have to joke back with them to put them in their place. I think that always wakes them up faster than using, 'F--k you, get off me.' I’m using a very specific experience."
She cites her father and her boyfriend, singer-songwriter Ryan Hurd, as examples of men who love and respect women and are "just as pissed off" about inequality as she is.
"I think more guys should wake up and realize we’re equal," Morris reflects. "You don’t have to take care of me."
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