Since joining the cast of USA’s new competition Real Country alongside Travis Tritt and Jake Owen, Shania Twain has been vocal about her desire to see more diversity in country music. In a new interview, the country-pop superstar discusses some of the present issues around equality on country radio and promises to help artists on the way up.
Speaking with E! News reporter Carissa Culiner, Twain touches on the lack of women being played by country radio and the conversation surrounding the topic.
“We are not making radio progress,” she says. “But we are making very small, steady steps toward awareness that we’re lacking women.”
Twain also noted radio’s tendency to gravitate toward a single type of sound for extended periods, as with the male-dominated movements of the last few years.
“We have too much of the sameness right now,” she says. “I’m a little bored with it. I wanna shake it up. The best way to do that is to be proactive.”
Twain released her latest album Now in 2017 following a lengthy hiatus, but didn’t get much attention from country radio — the album’s lead single “Life’s About to Get Good” peaked at Number 26. But she found her way to global superstardom in the second half of the Nineties by disregarding the strictures of radio country, creating a colorful collision of hard rock, country fiddles and brash confidence in songs like “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” and “That Don’t Impress Me Much” that influenced a generation of performers. She views her success and following as proof that country fans like having a little diversity in their diet.
“The fans are already accepting,” she says. “They’re already there. The fans are coming to my shows. Who I am as an artist, as a songwriter, as a performer, is completely outside the box of where we’ve narrowed country down to be right now. But the fans aren’t narrow minded.”
Ultimately, Twain says her goal with Real Country and beyond is to help other artists on the way up, particularly those who don’t fit the expected mold of a country artist because of gender, race or sexuality.
“There’s a lot of artists out there that are intimidated by what they believe country music is,” she says. “They might believe there’s no room for them in country music, that they may not be accepted by what people feel is real country, and that’s too limited for them. And I want to show them that there are no limits.”
Real Country airs Mondays and Tuesdays on USA at 11 p.m. ET. Twain is presently touring overseas, where she has a run of dates in Australia and New Zealand through December.
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