During the first half of her career, Taylor Swift became one of country music's biggest stars, paving the way for a new group of female artists after her. Before Swift, there were The Chicks, who also helped carve a new path for women in country music. Swift has long been vocal about her admiration for The Chicks, and one of her early recordings is a cover of the trio's hit "There's Your Trouble."
The pop star further opened up about how the band has inspired her in a new Billboard piece about The Chicks, sharing that band members Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer's unique way of doing things allowed her to feel free to make her own way. "Early in my life, these three women showed me that female artists can play their own instruments while also putting on a flamboyant spectacle of a live show," she said via email. "They taught me that creativity, eccentricity, unapologetic boldness and kitsch can all go together authentically. Most importantly, they showed an entire generation of girls that female rage can be a bonding experience between us all the very second we first heard Natalie Maines bellow 'that Earl had to DIE.'"
In 2015, Swift brought Maines on stage during her 1989 Tour to perform The Chicks' "Goodbye Earl." "If not for this woman and her band, I would not have known that you could be quirky, be fun, be yourself, be outspoken and brave and real," she told the crowd during the show. "I wouldn’t have, when I was nine years old, gotten my first CD. I wouldn’t have dreamed the things that I dreamed, and I wouldn’t be standing on this stage today."
Last year, Swift enlisted Maines, Maguire and Strayer to assist on "Soon You'll Get Better" from her album Lover, The Chicks adding soft harmonies and strings to the most vulnerable and emotional song on the project. Swift also referenced the trio in her Netflix documentary, Miss Americana, explaining that she had been told throughout her career to stay silent on politics because of what had happened to The Chicks. "Part of the fabric of being a country artist is: Don't force your politics on people," she said in the film. "Let people live their lives. That is grilled into us."
"She’s helping so many girls for the future [with the documentary], just showing that vulnerable place of figuring this shit out for herself," Maines said of Swift. Strayer added, "The power she has right now to change things is way beyond any power we ever had. She’s in a different position than we ever were."