Ashley McBryde Was Stunned by Early Struggles as a Female Artist in Country Music (Exclusive)

It wasn't until Ashley McBryde went on her first radio tour that she realized the severity of the [...]

It wasn't until Ashley McBryde went on her first radio tour that she realized the severity of the problem female artists face in country music. The Arkansas native admits she was stunned when she realized how pervasive the problem had become, even though she is now cautiously optimistic that the tide is — finally — turning.

"I think it's starting to [change]," McBryde told "I think it started to, when I first started doing radio tour two years ago, it's at least started to move a little bit, and now I would say it's starting to finally get some momentum behind it. I thought, 'Surely to goodness, everybody's exaggerating about this and it's just not that bad.' And after about a month maybe of radio tour, and dealing with actual radio people, I was like, 'Yeah, no, it does suck. It does. It definitely does suck.'"

Still, that wasn't enough to discourage McBryde, at all. Instead, the singer-songwriter decided to face the problem head on, choosing to work harder instead of complain.

"You know what? Let's say you take a stray cat home," McBryde proposed. "What a cute kitty. I'm going to take it home. And then it bites you. And then upon further investigation, you figure out that that's an opossum. That's not a cat. It's not the opossum's fault. That's the animal it just is. You can either learn to keep it in your house or learn to get along with it or do two can get along completely separately."

McBryde, like much of the rest of the world, isn't touring at all right now, due to coronavirus. But she is keeping herself occupied, even if it isn't on stage.

"This is so terrible," McBryde told "All this virus stuff is such crap. I was hoping it was just going to be like a, 'Never mind. Everybody's fine.' I've got a guitar hanging on the wall right now. I play music, play music, play music. I make candles when I'm stressed out. My house always smells like 14 different things because I'm like, 'Let's make whiskey scented candles today.'

"I'm honestly not sure what's going to happen to me emotionally and spiritually while we're not working," she added. I'm a racehorse and racehorses don't just run now and then."

McBryde's sophomore album, Never Will, is scheduled for an April 3 release.

Photo Credit: Getty / Image Group LA