Want to hear a staggering statistic?
In the last four weeks, there has been only one song by a female solo artist in the Top 30 of Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart: “Sparks Fly” by Taylor Swift, which currently sits at number 23.
Meanwhile, on the pop charts, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Adele, Britney Spears, Rihanna, and Nicki Minaj continue to dominate.
Country music in 2011 is apparently a man’s world. But it shouldn’t have to be!
Where is the love for Kellie Pickler’s rough-and-tumble new single, “Tough?” Why did Sunny Sweeney’s latest track, the heartfelt “Staying’s Worse Than Leaving,” stall at number 41? Why won’t Sara Evans’ “My Heart Can’t Tell You No” take off at radio? Does Nashville have a problem with female singers right now?
Before you all jump down my throat—Listen, I know that Lady Antebellum includes singer Hillary Scott. I know that Kimberly Perry provides the vocals for The Band Perry. I know Carrie Underwood is a guest on Brad Paisley’s “Remind Me.” I know Thompson Square is one-half female. I know that Kelly Clarkson sings on Jason Aldean’s “Don’t You Wanna Stay” and that Grace Potter is featured on Kenny Chesney’s “You and Tequila” But all these ladies are successful alongside men—where are the solo country females?!
Currently, male solo singers like Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Jake Owen, and Chris Young, take up 22 spots of the Top 30, and while those singers make good music and deserve their success, it would be fantastic to see a little more diversity on the charts.
Country listeners can’t be blamed exclusively for the scarcity of solo women. Some of the blame belongs to country radio, too. Unless that format embraces ladies who aren’t part of a band or guesting on a man’s track, it will be tough for listeners to follow suit, and that’s not serving anyone. Solo women deserve a voice, so get on it, country radio! (Billboard recently wrote a report about women on country radio)
Of course, Miranda Lambert’s “Baggage Claim” will likely break this trend next week. It debuted at number 33 yesterday, and it should rocket up the chart in the weeks to come. Still, country audiences deserve more superstar women than just Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, and Taylor Swift. Those gals are great, but there’s room at the top for a few more, right?
More country on EW.com: