Karen Fairchild Uses 2018 CMT Artists of the Year Speech as a Call to Play More Women
Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild used her time onstage at the 2018 CMT Artists of the Year ceremony to send a message. During her acceptance speech, the country star ran through a list of rising female artists who she feels are deserving of airplay on country radio.
"I just wanna say, in case anyone's watching that [these women] are there for you to support and play on the radio if you want to," Fairchild said, ticking off the names of 35 women in the genre. Among the artists Fairchild called out were Kelleigh Bannen, Kassi Ashton, Lucie Silvas, Jillian Jacqueline, Abby Anderson, Tenille Townes, Margo Price, Candi Carpenter, Lillie Mae, Emily Hackett, Little Feather and Kalie Shorr.
The lack of women on country radio has become a hot topic among country music fans and industry members in recent months, following both 2015's "tomatogate" uproar and the ongoing #TimesUp and #MeToo movements. A June examination by Taste of Country shares that, between 2016 and 2017, according to industry publication Country Aircheck, the percentage of songs by solo female artists played on country radio dropped from 13 percent to 10.4 percent -- even though the number of solo women who charted a song stayed consistent.
CMT's 2018 Artists of the Year were all women. In addition to Fairchild and her LBT bandmate Kimberly Schlapman, the country music-focused TV networked honored Artist of a Lifetime Loretta Lynn, plus Miranda Lambert, Kelsea Ballerini, Maren Morris, Carrie Underwood and Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott as their 2018 Artists of the Year. Fairchild and Schlapman were presented with their honors by their bandmates, Phillip Sweet and Jimi Westbrook, who is also Fairchild's husband.
"Karen has one of the sexiest voices in music. And she’s fearless and loyal and, above all, a great friend and a great human being. She’s always thinking ahead and pushing us all to be our creative best for this band and our craft," Sweet shared from stage. Added Westbrook, "Besides her beautiful voice, Kimberly is one of the kindest, most compassionate souls I’ve ever known. I count it as a blessing that we get to share the stage every night and make music with these two intelligent, strong, beautiful women.”
During the 2018 CMT Artists of the Year ceremony, Fairchild and Schlapman shared the stage with Gladys Knight. Together, the trio performed Bonnie Raitt's “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and Kris Kristofferson's “Help Me Make It Through The Night."
See Photos From the 2018 CMT Artist of the Year Red Carpet