"I’m trying to mature here and realize I can just walk away from the parts of this that no longer make me happy” said the singer-songwriter
The singer-songwriter, 33, revealed in an interview with the Los Angeles Times that she’s leaving the genre and plans to release music on Columbia Records, instead of Columbia Nashville, moving forward. The Grammy winner also opened up about her decision to “take a step back,” explaining that she’s felt “very, very distanced” from industry and its politics.
“I thought I’d like to burn it to the ground and start over,” Morris told the outlet of country music. “But it’s burning itself down without my help.”
The “Middle” singer opened up about the challenges of advocating for progress in the country industry and being outspoken about her progressive beliefs — which have included supporting the LGBTQ+ community, taking a stand for the Black Lives Matter movement, and critiquing people like Jason Aldean’s wife Brittany Kerr Aldean for making transphobic comments.
“I’ve always been an asker of questions and a status quo challenger just by being a woman. So it wasn’t really even a choice,” Morris said. “The further you get into the country music business, that’s when you start to see the cracks. And once you see it, you can’t un-see it.”
The pop artist explained that she tried to advocate for change, but only found that made her unpopular. She added, “I’m trying to mature here and realize I can just walk away from the parts of this that no longer make me happy.”
The star continued, “Being one of the few women that had any success on country radio, everything you do is looked at under a microscope. You’re scrutinized more than your male peers, even when you’re doing well. So I’ve had to clear all of that out of my head this year and just write songs. A lot of the drama within the community, I’ve chosen to step outside out of it.”
Morris also commented on the popularity of songs like Aldean’s, 46, controversial “Try That in a Small Town,” which received backlash for what many interpreted as having a pro-violent, conservative message. “People are streaming these songs out of spite. It’s not out of true joy or love of the music. It’s to own the libs,” she said.
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Fans speculate that the performer’s music video for “The Tree,” which she’s released as a double single project called The Bridge, includes references to the Aldean video. As the new clip also includes posters that read, “Lunatic Country Music Person,” it also appears to include a nod to how former Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson labeled her as such.
"I have heard the term 'Shut up and sing' more times than I can count — that’s always the cutesy little threat that they like to make," the CMA award winner said. "So I would say to my peers who are artists and to record-label heads, publishers, songwriters: I don't think any of us got into this art form to be an activist, but that’s ultimately thrust upon you to exist in this space and to feel like you can sleep at night."
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