Maren Morris’ “GIRL” Became a Bigger Message Than She Intended

She Wins CMA Album of the Year for GIRL

Maren Morris claimed a CMA Award this year for her exceptional album, GIRL. Backstage in the press room, she responded to questions from the media about her accomplishment.

When you were writing GIRL, did you write it with a sense of, “I want this to be about empowerment”?

Not really. “GIRL” was the last song we wrote for the record. But I felt like it tied all the other songs together in a really compelling way. And it moved me to tears when I heard it back after we had recorded it. I wrote so much of this over the last few years on tour, so it was honestly about me falling further into love and figuring myself out as a woman that’s not so much like the newcomer anymore, but that’s becoming more established in this genre and trying to make a space for myself.

I think there’s a lot of push and pull with this record. There was a lot of tension, good tension, making it. It just happened to become this empowering thing with “GIRL” being the title and the first single. It’s become a lot bigger of a message than I think I had originally intended, which is a very happy accident.
There are so many of us who felt so strongly that this was your year to win Female Vocalist. I know that that’s in your future, but I feel like you’re so strongly tied to the work of GIRL, the album, that you’re probably not disappointed about that. You’re just celebrating the album. Is that right?

Yeah. I mean, I walked away with the award that I really wanted. Kacey’s had a huge year. So, female vocalist, I feel like it should probably be called Female Artist of the Year, like the ACMs have changed it to. It’s not about who’s the best singer. It’s about who’s had the biggest year. I think all of these women in this category have in their own way.

I’m so excited and I kind of blacked out during my speech on stage. But I definitely wanted to make sure that respect was paid to Busbee [her late co-producer]. We’d been nominated for this before a couple of years ago with my album HERO. We didn’t win that year, but we just had the best time going as first-time nominees. And tonight is bittersweet, but more sweet than bitter.

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I think you had a lot to do this year with [bringing] women back to the place in country music they needed to be. Can you talk about the risks you took to help usher in this movement?

I don’t know if it was a risk, but I think the most impactful way to cause change in something that you’re frustrated with, and disappointed with the outcome so far, is… You know, paying women is a good start. So I brought out female openers on my tour and so has Miranda, so has Carrie. Putting them on stage is the most progressive way to get eyes on new artists that you’re a fan of, that you think your fan base would be a fan of. I think that that wasn’t really a risk, but it felt like a really good step forward.

I wrote the song “GIRL” on a really insecure day. I wasn’t trying to be empowering to anyone. I was really just trying to tell myself to get my shit together. And it’s become this empowering song. I feel like it’s the soundtrack to the year in a really positive way for me. It feels so timely that it won tonight, of all nights, where the theme is celebrating these women in country music through the decades to now. So, yeah, I’m happy that some of the risks have paid off.

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