Maren Morris on Being Part of The Highwomen: 'I'm a Girl's Girl'

The Highwomen's self-titled debut album is out as of Friday. The group includes Maren Morris, Natalie Hemby, Brandi Carlile and Amanda Shires – four distinct women making one cohesive sound.

Morris has for sure held her own, on and off stage, with her male peers, including her "The Middle" duet with Zedd and Grey, as well as "Seeing Blind" with Niall Horan, but she admits she enjoys surrounding herself with other females like herself.

"I’ve always been a girl’s girl," Morris told Esquire. "I have a sister. My mom’s a hairdresser; I grew up in a salon. I’ve just always been surrounded by women. So I feel a kinship with that gender. And some of my best heart to hearts, that have changed my molecules, have been with women. So I’m just really proud to be in this project."

Carlile credits Morris with being at least part of the catalyst for her own recent successes, after Morris invited Carlile to perform "Natural Woman" with her at the 2018 CMT Artists of the Year ceremony.

"I was just like, 'Man, there’s something really special about this person,'" Carlile recalled. "She’s completely embraced by the establishment. She’s beautiful; she fits. And she’s invited someone, to do this with her that doesn’t fit and isn’t accepted by the establishment, and to sing a song called 'Natural Woman,' when I’m very clearly a different kind of woman.

"I don’t know if that ever occurred to you, but I thought it was really poignant," Carlile said, addressing Morris. "And it changed a lot about my career. It caused people in the country music community to take a second look at me. So when Amanda started talking about The Highwomen, I was like, 'You don’t know it, but you’re talking about Maren Morris.'"

The Highwomen joined forces to promote having more women played on the radio in country music, but they make sure to point out that their music is for everyone.

"We did say, 'We are not going to do sassy music on this,'" said Shires. "And what I gathered from y’all was about wanting to be inclusive. So maybe in our subconscious, or whatever you want to call it, we knew that that was what we were trying to do."

The Highwomen also hope that their music can reach not just men and women, but a rising generation of children who can rely on the music behind their message.

"I remember being at summer camp as a kid and my counselor would wake us up every morning with 'Wide Open Spaces' by the Dixie Chicks," Morris recalled. "That was the soundtrack. And I feel like little girls will hear The Highwomen and be changed by it. It’s going to be the background music and the defining music of their youth.

"And women, like Dolly [Parton]'s age and older, will love to hear it and see themselves in it. It’s just good music," she concluded. "And it’s music that people need to hear and that they desperately want to hear right now. It’s like a heap of medicine."


Purchase, download or stream The Highwomen's debut album by visiting their website.

Photo Credit: Getty images / Cindy Ord