The “Bluebird” singer has been open about the sexism she’s faced over the years since she got her start as a contestant on the reality show Nashville Star in 2003. While she was still a teenager trying to book shows in her home state of Texas, she realized how much harder she’d have to work just because she’s a woman.
“The Texas scene wasn’t a place for girls at all back then,” she told NPR in November 2019. “Bar owners would hang up on my mom and say, ‘We don’t book girls.’ So, I would go to these places with my guitar and say, ‘Can I play during set change?’ [Collaborator] Jack Ingram was one of them that we’d always show up at his shows, and he would be like, ‘Yeah you can play a couple of songs while we’re changing.’ And people would be moving cords around my feet. It’s because I couldn’t get a gig — and then the bar owner would be like, ‘Well, she’s pretty good.’”
The “Actin’ Up” songstress released her major label debut album, Kerosene, in March 2005. It was certified platinum in the United States, but none of its singles hit No. 1 on the country chart. This pattern repeated itself again and again over the years, with Lambert’s subsequent albums receiving critical and commercial acclaim but little radio play.
When she released her sprawling album The Weight of These Wings in November 2016, the CMA Award winner knew that many of its tracks weren’t radio-friendly, but she wasn’t willing to compromise. “I walked into [my manager’s] office, saying, ‘I’ve got 24 songs,’” Lambert told HITS Daily Double in June 2018. “She said, ‘How’re you going to cut it down?’ I said, ‘We’re not.’ She said, ‘We’ll deal with it.’ Because I needed to say things, if only for me.”
Natalie Hemby, who’s cowritten many songs with Lambert over the years, is a major fan of her colleague’s ability to stand up for herself. “People are afraid to try s–t,” the Highwomen member told the Los Angeles Times in April 2022. “But Miranda’s attitude has always been: Hold my beer — watch this.”
Keep scrolling to see more of Lambert’s most critical quotes about the country music industry.