Maren Morris reveals she’s leaving country music due to industry’s ‘homophobia and transphobia’
Singer Maren Morris has announced her intention to leave country music, citing the “Trump years” that heightened homophobia and transphobia within the industry.
The “Texas” singer’s popularity hasn’t stopped her from being a rare, outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ rights within the country music scene. During her appearance as a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race season 15 earlier this year, she went as far as to apologise for country music’s historically poor relationship with its queer fans.
Back in March, she stood in defiance against Tennessee law officials after the state became the first in the US to ban drag performances in public. At her show in the state’s capital Nashville, she invited dozens of drag performers on stage with her, and demanded lawmakers “arrest” her for it.
In a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, however, Morris has stated that her attempt to “burn [county music] to the ground and start over” by making it more progressive and inclusive haven’t worked, and as a result, she’s “chosen to step outside of it”.
“The further you get into the country music business, that’s when you start to see the cracks,” she explained. “And once you see it, you can’t un-see it. So you start doing everything you can with the little power you have to make things better.
“All these things were being celebrated, and it was weirdly dovetailing with this hyper-masculine branch of country music,” she added.
Despite her efforts, the country music industry found itself entrenched in controversy earlier this year, when one of its biggest players – Jason Aldead – hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 with his song, “Try That in a Small Town”.
Aldean faced backlash after many suggested the lyrics promoted violence and racism, while the music video was filmed outside Tennessee’s Maury County Courthouse – where, in 1927, an 18-year-old Black man was lynched.
Aldean and Maren have been at loggerheads before, over comments posted by Aldean’s wife in 2022 which were widely condemned as anti-trans.
“Advocating for the genital mutilation of children under the disguise of love and calling it ‘gender-affirming care’ is one of the worst evils,” Brittany Aldean wrote on Instagram Stories. “I will always support my children and do what I can to protect their innocence.”
In response on X, formerly Twitter, Morris wrote: “It’s so easy to, like, not be a scumbag human? Sell your clip-ins and zip it, Insurrection Barbie.”
The quarrel between Morris and Aldean was then picked up by former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, with Carlson branding Morris a “lunatic”. However, Marren managed to turn the insult into a fundraising gimmick, raising $100,000 for trans charities.
Maren said that the “drama within the community” and country music “being used as this really toxic weapon in culture wars” has prompted her to walk away from the industry altogether.
For her new EP The Bridge, which was released on 15 September, Morris began working with producers Jack Antonoff and Greg Kurstin. Antonoff was famously instrumental in helping Taylor Swift take on a more pop sound with her music, producing several songs on her 2014 album 1989.
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