There is a very, very long article on the gender disparity in country music being reported by Country Aircheck, the industry website and publication.
There are statistics, charts, percentages and so on. But the most telling thing about the story, to me, is what Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild had to say.
She was part of a roundtable discussion on the issue and seems to think that if we all do a little more nurturing, we might have less of a gender gap.
Her recommendation is kind of a two-step process: nurture women and then push radio.
“We must nurture these women to write honest songs, to write from their heart and not to pander,” she said. “Give these girls some room to do what they do. Stop editing them, changing their hair color and worrying about the photo shoot before we worry about the music. Let’s not put the cart before the horse.”
When that’s done, she hopes country radio will support deserving artists.
“It might take a little bit longer to get a female all the way up the charts, and it might not research, but maybe we could just go with our gut a little longer sometimes,” Fairchild recommended.
But it’s not just what she has to say, it’s also the questions she asks that make so much sense.
I’d love to see us get back to 1998 when girls ruled. That was the year 38 percent of the top 100 songs of the year were from female singers. It was the highest high. We are, sadly, at 18 percent right now, the lowest since 1994.