Lauren Alaina on Women’s Struggle in Country Music: ‘It Was Never About a Lack of Talent’
It took blood, sweat and many years for Lauren Alaina to grab her first No. 1 single last year, when "Road Less Traveled" found its way to the top spot of the Billboard Country Airplay chart. To say she was ecstatic would be an understatement, and from that moment on, the star from Georgia has been even more determined to ensure that her fellow country music females get to experience the exact same feeling.
“We had to kind of form this little girl group here in country music years back because frankly, it was hard to be a female that believed in these songs and watched some of them never make it on the radio,” Alaina says in a recent interview with Taste of Country during a show stop in Chicago on Jason Aldean's High Noon Neon Tour. “It was never about a lack of talent. For whatever reason, it just became a thing and we had to band together.”
Indeed, Alaina is one of a long list of females, including Cam and Kelsea Ballerini, who banded together to become one another’s social support through a very challenging musical landscape.
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“Now we are all friends,” Alaina says with a smile, checking her makeup in the backstage mirror minutes before taking the stage. “All those girls work really hard, and it's just inspiring and frustrating and exciting when I see the talent and it doesn’t happen, and when I see the talent and it does.”
Unfortunately, it’s still doesn't happen for many.
“It was such a struggle for women for such a long time, and honestly, comparatively speaking, it still is,” says Alaina, whose latest single, "Doin' Fine," is currently making its way up the chart. “If you really look at the Top 40 and look at how many men are in the Top 40 and how many women there are, it is still significantly less. I think even though it’s really better now and not nearly as scary as it once was, I think it is still difficult.”
Indeed, the radio airwaves are still admittedly a bit of a mystery to Alaina and her country counterparts, both female and male.
“Some of the best songs I ever heard didn’t make it on the radio,” explains Alaina. “Eric Paslay had a song a few years ago called 'She Don’t Love You,' and it's one of my favorite country songs of all time, and it wasn’t a huge hit on the radio. So I just think that the songs that connect and break through on the radio make your careers and sometimes the songs that don’t, don’t.”
Alaina says Kacey Musgraves is a perfect example of an artist that hasn't relied purely on radio to determine her career success.
“She’s a superstar and hasn’t had a ton of success on the radio,” she states. “She has had success, but not overly on the radio, and she’s touring worldwide. I mean, I pray every night for radio success, because it is a very big part of what we do, but I think there are ways that if you don’t get it — and not every song is going to get it — you can still make a career and be proud of yourself.”
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