Carrie Underwood Says ‘Songwriters Aren’t Writing for Women,’ But She Understands Why
Carrie Underwood offered her thoughts on the lack of women on country radio during a Q&A at the 2020 Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, Tenn. During the hour-long interview on Friday (Feb. 21), the country star said she is still struggling to find the exact cause of the issue, but noted that it's a problem that affects all areas of the genre.
"To be honest, I don't know what the answer is," Underwood says. "It's hard for me to find demos because songwriters aren't writing for women. Why would they? That's their jobs, it's what pays their mortgage and gets their kids through college. They're giving consumers -- which is the artists -- what they want, which is dude songs."
Musicologist Dr. Jada Watson recently released data that shows that women-performed songs make up only 10 percent of the music put on rotation by country radio stations. Although the long-standing myth that "women don't want to hear women" has been debunked, country radio is still playing female artists in much lower numbers than male artists overall.
When it comes to solutions, Underwood says, talking about the problem is the best way to kickstart progress within the genre. "I feel like being aware is step one, and I feel like everybody is," she notes.
"But it takes more people just to step it up and do it," Underwood adds. "Something incredible has come out of all of the conversation, and that is the fact that we as women have realized that we have to support each other."
Even though Underwood is now one of the biggest stars of the country music genre, she explained that the small playing field for women has brought a sense of rivalry. "Even earlier on in my career, there was still not that many of us, and I remember falling into my own mindset of things being like a competition," Underwood reveals.
"I feel like over the past two to three years especially, we've kind of put that crap behind us and realized that we're going to have to do it for ourselves [and] band together," she continues. "It's been wonderful, and everybody's just been so supportive."
In recent years, Underwood has publicly made efforts to support other female artists, including selecting both Maddie & Tae and Runaway June as support for her 2019 Cry Pretty 360 Tour. "These women deserve to beyond giant stages with lots of lights and lots of people because they're talented," she says. For Underwood, the decision to bring two all-women acts out on the road was had less to do with their gender and more about their talent.
"At first it was like, 'Can we do this? Is this allowed?' But the more we talked about it, the more it made sense," she shares. "The way it all came together, I couldn't have hoped for any more."
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