Miranda Lambert Talks Country Radio Inequality: ‘I Had to Sing With Someone With a Penis to Get a No. 1′
Miranda Lambert recently notched a No. 1 hit at country radio with "Drowns the Whiskey," her collaboration with Jason Aldean from his Rearview Town album. The song is nominated at the 2018 CMA Awards in the categories of Single and Vocal Event of the Year, and is Lambert's first chart-topper in quite some time: Her four singles from her 2016 album The Weight of These Wings didn't even make it to the Top 10.
Lambert's modest solo radio success doesn't square with her sheer popularity, nor her critical acclaim, however: The most-award artist in ACM Awards history, Lambert also has two Grammys under her belt, and is nominated for three awards at this year's CMAs. The Weight of These Wings may not have notched a No. 1 at country radio, but it did go platinum, and it debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard country albums chart.
In a recent interview with the Washington Post, Lambert spoke frankly about the disparity between her success in album sales and her success at radio: "Yes, I had to sing with someone with a penis to get a No. 1," she says. "I do like this person, Jason Aldean, a lot ... so it was a great song with an old friend."
Lambert goes on to say that, while she may not perform as highly at radio, the album sales don't lie. "It is interesting that I haven't had even a Top 20 in a long, long time. And then it goes No. 1 because it's a dude," she continues (Lambert's last Top 20 song was her 2016 single "Vice;" her last No. 1 song came in 2014). "But you know -- if we went and looked at how many singles or records were sold for the Top 10 songs right now, I'd probably triple it on record sales. So it doesn't matter."
The Pistol Annies -- the country trio comprised of Lambert, Angaleena Presley and Ashley Monroe -- released their third studio album, Interstate Gospel, on Nov. 2; it debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. The group's two previous albums, Hell on Heels and Annie Up, debuted at No. 1 and No. 2 on the same chart, respectively, when they dropped in 2011 and 2013. Yet the Annies have not once cracked the country radio airplay Top 50 without a male vocalist on the track; their only brush with No. 1 on country radio was "Boys 'Round Here," a 2013 Blake Shelton hit that features the Annies on backing vocals.
The statistics may be disheartening, but Lambert isn't fazed; rather, she doesn't see country radio as integral to her career.
"At this point, music's just an in-betweener for advertisements on radio," she says in her interview with the Post. "But that's fine, whatever ... There's so many other ways to find music, I feel like people can find us and find all these artists that they love in other facets besides radio."
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