Over the last several years, the scales in country music have been greatly tipped towards the male artists, including Luke Combs. But while Combs has enjoyed massive success over the last few years, with seven consecutive No. 1 songs, and sold-out concert dates, he is well aware that plenty of female artists –– even really good ones –– haven't had the same opportunity for success that he, and other men in country music, have enjoyed.
"I've got Ashley McBryde out with me right now and I'm a huge fan," Combs told Music Week. "If I were to bring just female artists out, obviously that would help, but it's not getting to the root of the issue in my opinion. You have to let the listeners decide. You have to play as much female music as you do male music and give people an opportunity to choose.
"If a song is not going to perform well at radio, it shouldn't be because the artist is a woman," he continued. "It should just be, like, 'Well, you put that song out and people didn't like it.' That should be the ultimate thing. And I don't think those opportunities are at an even par right now for us. I'll be the first guy to tell you that, that we do get more chances to succeed. For sure."
Still, gender aside, Combs has worked hard to get where he is. The North Carolina native writes all of his songs, and gambled his last few dollars on "Hurricane," which became his first chart-topping single.
"I'm definitely competitive about it," Combs said, referring to his songwriting. "I definitely want to be the best at what I do, whether it's on stage or in the writing room. And I'm not the best at what I do, at least I don't feel like I am. I still feel like I have the capability to grow a lot as a performer, as a songwriter and as a singer.
"There are so many things I could do consistently to get better," he added. "I think once you get complacent, that's the problem; when you're going, 'I've got eight number ones!' It's just, like, 'Who cares?'"
Photo Credit: Getty / Tim Mosenfelder