Sara Evans ‘Devastated’ by Country Radio’s Treatment of Women
Sara Evans is very upset with the state of country radio today, and she doesn't care who knows it.
The singer turned to Twitter on Thursday (Oct. 25) to post a long, strongly-worded message about how badly she feels impacted by country radio's trend away from playing female artists over the last several years.
Evans says she been "devastated" by the changes in the genre, decrying the "blatant stonewalling of female artists."
"One day I'm a country artist with hits on country radio and the next, I can't even get one spin on ANY of my new music," she writes, adding that she's not even sure what genre her music belongs in now.
You've Never Heard Morgan Wallen Quite Like This Before
Evans also called out the "lack of creativity and lyrical sophistication" that she feels country radio is emphasizing now, comparing it unfavorably to the state of country music when she signed her first deal with RCA and female artists including Reba McEntire, Trisha Yearwood and Patty Loveless all had a strong presence in the genre.
"It's time for a change," she writes.
Evans' post came in response to what she says has been a lot of feedback she's received about an interview she gave to Billboard at the 2018 CMT Artists of the Year ceremony on Oct. 17. That show celebrated the women of country music, and in a red carpet interview, Evans called out country radio for its lack of support for her 2017 single "Marquee Sign," which failed to chart despite its parent album, Words, debuting at No. 4 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart. Evans placed her most recent No. 1 hit, "A Little Bit Stronger," in 2010 and scored her last Top 40 hit with "Slow Me Down" in 2013, but after a tepid response to her subsequent singles, she split with RCA in 2016 and formed her own independent label, Born to Fly Records, to release Words in 2017. She says the reaction from country radio has been hurtful to her entire family.
"It’s been sad," she admitted. "I grew up on country music and I made my whole, entire career on country radio and contributed what I believe is a lot of great music to the country genre. So for my family to watch me sobbing at home because [radio] refused to play the single I released when I’ve worked my ass off and gone to visit every country programmer in America and I feel like I deserve a spot ... they’ve grown up with it, watching it, and it’s devastated all of us."
Evans' comments echo remarks she made to Taste of Country in a cover story when she released Words. She openly questioned at the time whether a radio tour was even worth doing for an artist in her position.
"I can't do that anymore. I can't be that mom that is willing to go and do 40 free radio shows and be gone that much and kill myself, because the worst is when you do that and it still doesn't work," she told us. "It's awesome when you have a No. 1 record, or a two- or three-week No. 1 record. But it's just not the same anymore. It's very hard."
"I have a lot of mixed feelings about that," she admitted. "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."
The singer tells Billboard that even as an independent artist, she recognizes, "The sad thing is we still need mainstream radio and mainstream TV to really hit it big ... But until these programmers decide that they’re going to get back in their normal thinking minds and listen to the songs, and actually play great songs, it’s never going to change.”
Modern Women Who Blazed a Path in Country Music