Lindsay Ell on the State of Country Music: 'Females Need to Work a Little Harder' (Exclusive)

Country music is making strides in leaving the bro-country era behind and embracing female artists, but it still has a long way to go, at least according to Lindsay Ell. The powerhouse singer and guitarist recently spoke out about the state of country music, as she prepares to release her very vulnerable sophomore album.

"I think as female artists right now in the format, I always believed that females need to work a little harder for the same job, regardless of what industry, walk of life," Ell told PopCulture.com. "It's just kind of the way it is right now, which is fine. I'm not even complaining about it. I'm just stating a fact, almost. Being a female artist, specifically in country music, I feel like you need to be a little bit more honest, a little bit more real, a little bit more raw, a little bit more defined. Every female needs to carve that lane and carve their own groove out, more than male artists."

"That's the only way you're going to have a voice that cuts through," she continued. "I feel like you're seeing a lot of that from a lot of female artists in the format right now, because that's the way we really share ourselves with our fans and with the country music family, is we get pretty real. We say things that arguably, a guy may not. We're like, 'No, we don't have time for that anymore. This is getting right down to it.'"

Much like her friends Kelsea Ballerini and Carly Pearce, Ell vows that her next record will be painfully, even brutally, honest, holding nothing back this time.

"It's the only real way to go," Ell insisted. "I'm talking about things in my childhood that I've never talked about. I'm talking about basically how I got to where I am. All of the scratches and flaws and your strengths and weaknesses make you into who you are."

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Ell is especially honest in her current single, "I Don't Love You," which is a snapshot of her feelings for her former boyfriend, Bobby Bones. Ell performed the song in front of the radio host at his benefit, Bobby Bones and the Raging Idiots Million Dollar Show, benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Download or stream the single at LindsayEll.com.

Photo Credit: Getty / Jeff Kravitz