Sara Evans may not be the real-life Rayna Jaymes, but she definitely helped her come to life. In a recent interview with CMT, the artist revealed she served as a consultant for Nashville, providing insight into what it’s really like to be a woman in country music.

“It was kind of like a therapy session for me,” she explains. “I was able to say, you really don’t understand how hard it is to be a woman in the country music industry, to be a mom and a wife and to have all these other things going on that really male artists don’t necessarily have.”

Evans has been in the business for more than 20 years. During that time, she has navigated challenges that include her first marriage to Craig Schelske, which gave her three children, a contentious divorce in 2007. She married for a second time in 2008 to Jay Barker, creating her blended family of seven children -- all while managing a hugely successful career.

“We talked forever, and they were like, in awe of how much information I was giving them,” she says. “I’m very open. I’ll tell anyone anything about my life, and that is my biggest goal is to always be authentic — in my music, in my artwork, in everything I do. It has to be who I really am.”

Though they used a lot of her authentic experiences to inspire Jaymes, she said she hopes the parallels stop there.

“It was troubling to learn the writers had her killed off — I hope they’re not thinking of me,” she jokes.

Evans just dropped a new album called Words on July 21 via her own record label, Born to Fly Records. The album allows Evans the creative freedom to record and promote her music exactly as she pleases. She admits to not understanding why country radio has abandoned female artists like her in recent years, after supporting her career for nearly two decades during her run at Sony.

"My entire career and life for the past 20-plus years has been dictated by country radio, so I have a lot of mixed feelings about that," Evans tells Taste of Country. "There may be even a little bit of bitterness at times, because I don’t understand why I’m not considered to be someone that, ‘Oh yeah, of course we’re going to play the new Sara Evans record.’ Because I’ve busted my ass, I’ve done everything that I’ve been asked to do."

"It’s just a simple sentence: Play more females and broaden the genre," she adds. "I don’t know why it has to be so narrow. So it’s a very touchy subject with me. And also you don’t want to be too critical. That makes it worse. So there’s really nothing to do, other than get my music out on all other outlets, every other way that people can find my music."

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