Amanda Shires on the Patriarchy of Things

"For Me, Art Isn't Competitive"

Amanda Shires is doing just fine, thank you.

The Americana singer-songwriter has about two decades of experience in the music business, so she's seen and heard everything. One of the many observations she's made of the music business is how its gender imbalance affects its competitive environment.

"The music business is really a patriarchy," Shires tells Garden & Gun for its latest issue. "There are only a couple of spots available for women to fill, so there’s more competition than there needs to be. And country music especially, you have to be sold or presented as somebody who is available -- as a person who makes people think, 'Oh that could be my girlfriend. That could be my girl next door.'"

The issue is devoted to ten "awe-inspiring, risk-taking, big-dreaming, barrier-breaking, soul-baring, freewheeling Southern women," so Shires certainly fits nicely into that category. And maybe down the road, even more women will be celebrated for overcoming the odds stacked against them when it comes to making music.

"For me, art isn’t competitive. I can see things are changing, and hopefully, it will get better. We’re not solely objectified -- there are exceptions, of course -- but that’s how the majority of women’s music has been sold for a long time," she added.

While the story takes a serious look at Shires career, she gives readers a glimpse into her sense of humor.

When asked what advice she'd give to herself when she was getting started, she said, "Always pack a swimsuit -- you never know when you’re going to need it. You never know! Could be a creek, could be a Slip ’N Slide."

The August/September issue is on newsstands now.

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