Kelsea Ballerini’s Fellow Female Country Artists Rally Around Her No. 1 ‘Miss Me More’
During the chart week of June 15, Kelsea Ballerini scored her fifth to-date No. 1 hit with "Miss Me More," following previous chart-toppers such as "Love Me Like You Mean It" and "Peter Pan." Shortly before the milestone became official, backstage at CMA Fest 2019, the singer showed no small measure of nervous excitement about the prospect of earning another No. 1 song.
"No. 1s are ... cool! We'll know more [soon]," Ballerini commented, her voice a couple notches higher than usual. Still, she quickly went on to put the prospect of a chart-topping track in perspective: "No, I love this song, and to be really, really honest -- I'd be really proud if it went No. 1. I'm really proud that it's sitting at 2 ... To be a female on country radio right now means a lot to me."
That Ballerini is a female artist, in fact, makes the achievement even more momentous. "Miss Me More" is the first No. 1 song from a solo female artist in nearly 15 months. Ballerini was also the last female artist to reach that spot, in February of 2018, with "Legends."
"There are two females in the Top 10 [right now], which is great. Tenille Townes and Runaway June and Carly Pearce are all on the chart, and they're all incredible," Ballerini goes on to say. "I'm really excited that females are getting that spotlight right now."
On the brink of achieving her fifth No. 1, Ballerini spoke about the women who were on the chart alongside her, and after "Miss Me More" officially reached the top spot, those women -- and more -- returned the favor. On Twitter, Maren Morris (who is the other female artist in the Top 10, with her song "Girl," which currently sits at No. 9 on Billboard's Country Airplay chart) voiced her support for Ballerini's accomplishment.
"It's more than a great song ... it's hard work. [Ballerini], you EARNED DAT S--T. So proud of you," Morris wrote. More of Ballerini's chartmates, including Runaway June and Pearce, also chimed in to commend the singer for her hard work and recognize the rarity of a No. 1 from a solo female artist.
Country singer Cam voiced both the magnitude of Ballerini's hit and the industry's culpability in limiting female voices on radio better than anyone: "I know the guys work hard, but I'm telling you from being in the thick of it -- it doesn't come close to how hard the top echelon of talented women and minorities HAVE to work for significantly less opportunity and less money," she wrote.
Cam then went on to call out male industry members who don't speak up on this topic: "I wonder if all the silent men in this industry feel guilty? Or if they even understand that they are participating in a system that refuses to give women and minorities their due, and instead hands our hard-earned share back to them? Some country music 'family,'" she related, adding a winking emoji.
Even when artists -- male and female -- do talk about the lack of opportunities for women in country music, that talk doesn't necessarily translate into action. For example, Luke Bryan recently responded to a question about inclusion of female artists on tours, saying that he hopes to bring talented women on the road with him. However, Bryan's recent tours have been largely male-dominated, with Lauren Alaina as the sole female artist listed on 2019's Crash My Playa bill, and an entirely male lineup for 2018's Farm Tour.
In her message, Cam went on to point out that the lack of women on country radio is more stark than ever before. Indeed, women on country radio have grown far scarcer since their '90s heyday. Aside from one moment in early 2018, when three women -- Morris, Pearce and Ballerini -- each netted a No. 1 in rapid succession, there have been months-long stretches of time when no female solo artist ever got to the top spot. The week of Dec. 8, 2018, marked the first time ever that no women appeared in the Billboard Country Airplay Chart's Top 20.
Cam concluded her post with a message for the chart-topping singer: "And to [Ballerini]: For the time, talent and care you've poured into this, you deserve more," she wrote.
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