Carrie Underwood Admits It’s Tough for Women in Country, Kellie Pickler Agrees
Carrie Underwood's success in country music isn't the typical story these days. The boys are ruling the charts, leaving the ladies to struggle to get to the top, despite their tenacious efforts. The superstar admits that it's tough for women in country to be heard, and fellow star Kellie Pickler agrees.
It's sobering to realize that in both 2012 and 2013, just three of the Top 25 artists on Billboard’s Top Country Songs chart were solo women. They included the 'Blown Away' hitmaker, Miranda Lambert, and Taylor Swift -- huge names in the industry, but certainly not the only big names.
Underwood unearthed her thoughts on this struggle to Billboard. “You would think that we would be farther along in the thinking about women in country music. I like to think things are getting better, but then I see stats like [the one cited above] and realize that women really do seem to get the short end," she relates.
“There is certainly not a shortage of talented ladies out there that want so badly to get their fair shot in this business," adds the singer. "But there seems to be only room for only a few.”
On the flip side, Underwood says, “there seem to be so many male singers out there who can be viewed as similar, and there seems to be plenty of room for all of them."
Indeed, the trend seems to be that the male artists in our genre have a much easier road with less obstacles. “We see new male artists have their first single reach No. 1 on the charts, but it generally takes a female a lot longer to build momentum,” Underwood continues. She earlier mused that women have a long way to go in equalizing the country charts -- and though she's experienced a multitude of success, she's definitely not the norm.
“I know that I am an exception to this, but I [also] know that if I hadn’t made my place in country music via ‘American Idol,’ I probably could have tried to make it for the rest of my life and never made any progress," she realizes.
Could it be that the content of women's songs vs. men's songs is the driving force? Underwood thinks that could attribute to part of the reason, as her meaningful hit 'See You Again' is far different from Luke Bryan's 'That's My Kind of Night.'
"I don’t think women can get away with the partying, beer-drinking, hung-over, truck-driving kind of music that a lot of the guys have gotten away with lately,” she says.
“It does kind of seem like it’s a big party right now,” fellow 'American Idol' star Kellie Pickler adds in agreement. “All the women that are played [on the radio] are outselling the men, and people are listening to what they have to say, so I don’t know why more women aren’t played.”
One insight that Bryan gave earlier -- while also admitting that the order of things is currently "pretty damn crummy" -- is that women are expected to look good and put-together all while staying on top of an exhaustive schedule. Yet, those same expectations are not put on the men.
Underwood elaborates on that notion, saying, "It seems women are expected to be so much more than men, which means we have to work that much harder. We’re the ones under the microscope. We’re expected to sound perfect. We’re expected to look perfect all the time. We’re expected to be style-setters, whereas the boys roll onto the stage in their jeans, T-shirts and baseball caps. I don’t know what we all can do to change this. But I do hope it does change."
Adds the talented songstress, "I would love to see more women making their mark in the music that I love so much ... There are so many more out there just waiting for their shot. I hope they get it!”
We do, too.