Jennifer Nettles and “Today” have been morning friends for a long time. The woman whose voice brings the soul, power, and sweetness to Sugarland doesn't allow her vocal gifts to be restricted by genre. About a year ago, Jennifer Nettles was sharing the stage with Josh Groban, performing “99 Years,” which the two powerhouse singers have also sung at Madison Square Garden.

This morning, March 6, Jennifer Nettles was on “Today” to speak out rather than sing. What began as a bold written statement emblazoned on the bright fuchsia lining of the stellar vocalist’s jacket at last November's CMA Awards is now a life mission for the artist.

Her message is still the same, but now, Nettles is expressing herself in every way possible on behalf of sister female artists, and Country Music is just the starting point.

Jennifer Nettles has bold words in black and pink

Last fall was far from the first time that Jennifer Nettles had graced a CMA Awards red carpet, but in honor of celebrating women, the singer chose to have “a moment.” As lovely as she is, her statement had nothing to do with striking a fashion pose or any designer label.

“Play our f@$#in records” pleaded one side of the cape lining, with “Please and thank you,” on the other side. The silent but strong words got notice everywhere, and Jennifer Nettles is now speaking out loudly against the blatant inequality for female artists in the Country Music industry, from TV Shows to her stage.

The statistics back up Jennifer Nettles and her many friends

Country music has made a sustained effort to “celebrate women” from its award stages and festivals over the past year, but Nettles is among the chorus of artists who insist that true support means playing the songs, buying the tickets, and creating playlists of female country music artists.

Per Forbes magazine, female voices in country music make up only 1 out of 10 plays on Top 40 country radio stations. In a new artist can’t get played, she can't get gigs or bookings, and thus, can't sell tickets or attract an audience. Jennifer Nettles condemns the “toxic environment” that has been built on gender bias in her industry for creating an unending “vicious cycle.” Saving Country Music conducted a 2018 survey that revealed that female artists only make up 7.5% of an entire full-day broadcast on the majority of mainstream country radio.

No wonder the climb to the top is so hard. Jennifer Nettles is known for her song “I Can Do Hard Things,” and she has strong support in this battle, from sisters, and brothers, too.

Sadly, statistics can feed off of bad habits. Radio station program directors often hold to “policies,” such as “We don't play two women back-to-back.” Old-fashioned rumors have plagued female artists, harkening back to “You can't take women on the road-- they're so competitive.” In contrast, Jennifer Nettles notes that “we take each other out all the time,” truly proving a sisterhood in song.

Nettles also speaks up for the many male artists in country music who probably share the bill with mega-talented women. She urges more of her male counterparts to follow the example of The 1975 in pop music, who have declared that they will no longer play festivals without gender equality represented on the bill.

Program directors have been major sources of pushback in gaining “equal play” for female artists. Even after decades of acclaim in her industry, Jennifer Nettles knows “only two” female program directors. The old-school thoughts that “women don't want to hear women” don't hold true. Kacey Musgraves struck gold with “Golden Hour” struck critical and public gold from every gender with truthful and timeless songs that touch souls. Musgraves doesn't mince words when it comes to personal truths, either.

Fans can open purse strings and make playlists, says Jennifer Nettles

Those who cherish country music can remember the time when no one could move a radio dial without hearing Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, or Tammy Wynette.

Jennifer Nettles had the privilege of portraying Dolly Parton’s mother in the TV-telling of “Coat of Many Colors” and she adds Linda Ronstadt, Rita Coolidge, and Juice Newton among her songstress “sheroes.”

“If you can't see it, you can't be it,” she reminds and the same goes for hearing that unique “it” that only country female artists can deliver. When a “Today” audience member asked what an average country music fan can do to support female artists, Nettles not only encouraged buying tickets to shows but also creating whole playlists of female talents.

Jennifer stressed that modern music streaming tabulates the songs that are pulled to create playlists, and those most preferred will ultimately get preference for radio play and artist promotion.

She elaborated on how numbers and algorithms are currently used to select “perfect” candidates for everything from home loans to new jobs, instead of one-on-one connections.

Rolling Stone reports on March 6 that Jennifer Nettles was among the A-listers at the Women Shaping the Future event in New York City on March 4. She shared a day-long music industry platform with numerous other performers from across the globe, highlighted by conversation and performances.

Jennifer Nettles has never made music based on a statistic. Her songs and soaring voice speak straight to the heart, and her words for equality are destined to make a difference. Hopefully, the important change will come far sooner than 99 years.

Follow the page TV Shows
Follow
Don't miss our page on Facebook!