Lauren Alaina Unites With Other Female Artists in Fighting For More Time at Radio

Lauren Alaina knows it's harder for a female artist at country radio, and she's becoming more and more frustrated by that fact.

"We had to kind of form this little girl group here in country music years back because frankly, it was hard to be a female that believed in these songs and watched some of them never make it on the radio," the 23-year-old tells Taste of Country. "It was never about a lack of talent. For whatever reason, it just became a thing and we had to band together."

Alaina joins a long list of women, from established artists to new acts, who struggle to find their place in an industry dominated by male artists. Both Cam and Kelsea Ballerini are among the female artists who are speaking up about the discrepancy, and Alaina is proud to join themin the fight.

"Now we are all friends," Alaina insists. "All those girls work really hard, and it's just inspiring and frustrating and exciting when I see the talent and it doesn't happen, and when I see the talent and it does."

The Georgia native earned a No. 1 hit with "Road Less Traveled," as well as with "What Ifs," her duet with Kane Brown (from Brown's eponymous 2016 freshman record). Still, Alaina knows that she has to fight twice as hard for a chart position as her fellow male singers.

"It was such a struggle for women for such a long time, and honestly, comparatively speaking, it still is," says Alaina. "If you really look at the Top 40 and look at how many men are in the Top 40 and how many women there are, it is still significantly less. I think even though it's really better now and not nearly as scary as it once was, I think it is still difficult."

In fact, in the most recent Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, only five of the Top 40 songs are by a female artist (not counting groups like Sugarland and Lady Antebellum, or collaborations, like Bebe Rexha with Florida Georgia Line or Chris Lane with Tori Kelly). It's an unfair disadvantage female artists face, and one Alaina will continue to fight to change, although she is also taking notes from artists like Kacey Musgraves, who manage to carve out a successful career in spite of their lack of radio support.

"She's a superstar and hasn't had a ton of success on the radio," says Alaina. "She has had success, but not overly on the radio, and she's touring worldwide. I mean, I pray every night for radio success, because it is a very big part of what we do, but I think there are ways that if you don't get it — and not every song is going to get it — you can still make a career and be proud of yourself."

Alaina adds that, while radio primarily focuses on male artists, finding a radio hit is a challenge for both genders.

"Some of the best songs I ever heard didn't make it on the radio," admits Alaina. "Eric Paslay had a song a few years ago called 'She Don't Love You,' and it's one of my favorite country songs of all time, and it wasn't a huge hit on the radio. So I just think that the songs that connect and break through on the radio make your careers and sometimes the songs that don't, don't."


Photo Credit: Facebook/Lauren Alaina