Grammy Award-winning artist and Monticello, Georgia, native Trisha Yearwood is returning to the country music scene with a new album, titled Every Girl.
The accompanying single, "Every Girl In This Town," is an empowering love letter to girls and women of every description.
Yearwood has long pushed for gender equality in the world of country music. In 1991, she became the first female artist in the genre to sell 1 million copies of her debut album.
GPB Morning Edition host Leah Fleming sat down with Yearwood during an album release tour that took her from Monticello through Atlanta all the way to Nashville.
They talk about the inspiration behind her latest work, the lessons she's learned over her decades-long career and her desire for more inclusion in the world of country music.
INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS (edited for length and clarity):
On the album cover, which features a picture of Yearwood as a child:
The song for me is being that little girl who had a dream. That picture represents when we're little girls and we're not old enough to know to doubt ourselves yet. Nobody's told us we can't do something. My arms were outstretched and it's almost like the possibilities are endless.
And so to try and channel that time when you're just dreaming big and you don't have any fear. That’s something that we lose along the way, so you try to recapture it.
On telling stories through country music:
There's a lot of different kinds of artists that inspire me in that way. There's a lot of art that tell stories, and that's what I'm drawn to. When you see yourself in the song, that’s when you can relate.
For me, when I'm listening to songs, I'm looking for that thread of something that draws me in and that makes me feel like it understands me.
On female artists in country music:
When I came along in the 1990s, there were 10 or 12 women who were dominating the charts. It was really a woman's world! Now, it seems like that has kind of gone the other way.
There's all these common myths, like you don't play women back to back on the radio because people change the channel. And I'm like, “Well, where’s the research on that?” And there's not any! Some guy in some room said, “Let’s say this!”
We (as women) always put our head down and we work and we're not complaining, but we're just saying this is not OK. So, I think that's the beginning and there are a lot of male artists in country music who are speaking up about that too.
I think it is slowly starting to change, and it has to, because it is not a good look.
On the importance of female artists supporting each other:
I think that the expectation might be that we should be competitive and having catfights and all that.
Really, because it's difficult, we band together. You see it when there's an award show and multiple generations of female artists are together in a dressing room laughing. When young artists come up and say, “I grew up on your music.”
(It is) real camaraderie and support and you see it with social media being so big. You see the support when somebody releases an album or when a female song goes to #1. It's a really cool club to be in.