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Singer-songwriter Maren Morris made headlines earlier this year when she announced her departure from country music. Morris, who is regularly outspoken about her political and social beliefs, said she felt “very distanced” from the country music genre and what it represents. However, two months later, she clarified her prior comments saying that she is not actually leaving the genre, but instead walking away from the parts that no longer make her happy and taking the good parts with her.
Objectively, Maren Morris has seen success in country music, with 5 CMA Awards, 5 ACM Awards, three No. 1 songs, and many other accolades. She has often used her platform to advocate for increased inclusivity of LGBTQ+ and people of color within the genre. For this reason, she was recently named Variety’s “Changemaker of the Year.”
In recent years, Morris has felt compelled to speak about about the injustices she sees in the industry. She discussed her decision to redefine her relationship with country music with Variety and shared:
“I don’t think of myself as this badass or anything; I just got so sick of being a yes person to get ahead. I’ve been successful, but — I think — at a moral cost. I couldn’t keep doing the same song and dance.”
Morris feels that being a woman in country music is “radical in itself” adding that as a female artist in the industry, “There are consequences any time you raise your hand and, even innocently, ask a question — or just wonder aloud if there’s a better way.”
Maren Morris credits much of her motivation to the Texas country music trio The Chicks (formerly the Dixie Chicks). The band famously denounced the Iraq War in 2003 in a move that would permanently, and negatively, alter the course of their career. Morris recalls witnessing the outcome of the controversy, saying:
“I saw these beloved superstars and heroes of mine get completely disenfranchised within their own genre. I think that’s probably where it started for me, and I guess I never shook it off.”
Morris believes that there is still a lot of work to be done in country music, which is why she is not separating herself from the genre entirely.
“I’m a piece of this town, and I want to make it better in the same ways I want the music industry to be better.”