It was a most unusual sight in Nashville on Wednesday evening: a country music show where the female artists were far superior to the men.
This was intentional when CMT's annual Artist of the Year ceremony decided to honor only women: Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris, Kelsea Ballerini, Hillary Scott, Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman
"This year we are developing the special to reflect on what's happening in the culture and lives of our fans, "said Leslie Fram, CMT Senior Vice President, last month. She was one of the clearest voices about the much-debated gender imbalance in country music, where there is a serious shortage of women playing radio, performing in streaming playlists and being included in festival lineups. "The dedication of one of the biggest nights in the genre to applaud female country artists not only reinforces our commitment, but we hope it will trigger a much needed change in the industry."
The 90-minute special was purely solemn with performances by honorees who worked with Gladys Knight, Tori Kelly, Brandi Carlile and Alison Krauss. But the artists did not restrain from frustrations. In a pre-recorded segment, the singers sang Country Radio, known as the launch pad, to establish the genre's success.
"I do not know why they do not play women on country radio," said Lambert. "I think the women are doing their job and it's really not a reflection on us – at the end of the day, the best song should win, it does not matter who sings it."
"They say women do not want women Listen, "Morris added, repeating a joint statement by radio programmers pointing out the demographics of listeners. "I'll have to call BS because I grew up with women, that's why I'm here today."
"For a while," bro country "was a trend," Ballerini said of male-focused party songs that Radio took over. "We do not say that this music is bad – we just say you leave people."
This was the cornerstone for the acceptance speech by Fairchild and Schlapman, also known as Half of the Quartet Little Big Town
"I can not say enough about CMT to honor women and celebrate women when it is right now And I am humble and hope to live up to this honor, "said Fairchild. Then she turned to her phone and began to read.
"But let me just say if anyone is watching: Danielle Bradbery, Runaway June, Kelleigh Bannen, Kassi Ashton, Ashley McBryde, Cassadee Pope, RaeLynn, Mickey Guyton, Lucie Silvas, Jillian Jacqueline, Heather Morgan, Abby Anderson, Aubrie Sellers, Tenille Townes, Rachel Wammack, Maddie & Tae, Carly Pearce, Ruthie Collins, Maggie Rose, Caitlyn Smith, Lindsay Ell, Jana Kramer, Clare Dunn, Lauren Alaina, Margo Price, the sister band, Natalie Stovall, Kree Harrison, Brooke Eden Candi Carpenter, Lillie Mae, Emily Hackett, Little Feather, Kalie Shorr, and Lacy Cavalier are here to help you – and play the radio if you want. "
The crowd cheered wildly on the long list, contains the acts on major labels; independent artists; Singers who had singles flopped on the radio; and some who had their first hits recently. Yet, these 35 names just scratched the surface of talented Nashville singers and songwriters. It was a confusing and disturbing contrast to hear this list and compare it to this week's top 50 country radio card, which has only five women's songs.
In other words, in just 45 seconds, Fairchild has one of the strongest award-show moments of the year. Social media started to hum, and some of the named artists could not quite believe what they had just heard.
Not to mention the show that was canceled with an outstanding medley by Carrie Underwood, accompanied by Maddie & Tae and trio Runaway June, the two acts she's touring with next year. It was another rare sight at a Country Award show when six women stood on stage and sang hits from female stars: "Stand By Your Man", "9 to 5", "Rockin 'with the rhythm of the rain "," Independence day, "Wilder," "Why did not I hear from you," "Man! I feel like a woman "and Underwood's own" Cry Pretty. "
Underwood was also sincere in her acceptance speech when she turned to her colleagues.
" Thank you, CMT, for doing so. We need more things like this, "said Underwood," but I definitely want to say to all the incredible, talented women who were on this stage tonight: you're not here because you're women. You're here because you're damn good.
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