7 Female Country Artists Who Deserved CMA Awards Nominations This Year
The 2017 CMA Awards nominations are a bit of a disappointment in many ways, but nobody got snubbed as badly as the women of country music — despite the fact that there's plenty of CMA Award-worthy work going on with female country artists.
The CMA Awards have traditionally been one of the last recourses for artists who are producing excellent work that falls somewhat out of the mainstream to get noticed, since they're chosen by industry insiders with a more sophisticated knowledge base and tastes than mainstream consumers. And while Jason Isbell got a much-deserved nod for Album of the Year in the 2017 CMA Awards nominations, for the most part this year's nods seem uninspired, as if the CMA voters simply looked at the charts, pinned pictures of the artists they saw there to the wall and threw darts to randomly select the nominees.
The CMA nominations underscored what has been a problem for years in country music, as women are simply not getting any attention in the marketplace. Miranda Lambert is the only solo female nominated for Single, Song or Album of the Year in 2017, though Little Big Town are also nominated in all three as a group, and Lady Antebellum scored an Album nod. Women genuinely only dominate one category in the 2017 batch of nominees: Female Vocalist of the Year. They're represented well in Music Video, but mainly in groups with men, and in Musical Event of the Year, but in second billing to men.
Female Country Trailblazers Who Are Changing the Game
It's not because women aren't producing worthy work. In fact, 2017 is another year in which the female acts of country music have quietly released some of the best work in the genre. The lack of CMA Awards nominations for artists like RaeLynn, Lindsay Ell, Natalie Hemby, Aubrie Sellers and more speaks to a larger problem in which women are simply being systematically excluded from every aspect of country music, especially country radio, which is the all-important marketing tool for the genre. You can't very well nominate someone for Album, Song or Single of the Year if you don't sign and properly promote them in the first place.
Chris Stapleton saw one of the most massive career boosts in country music history after his surprise CMA Awards sweep in 2015, which was premised on the quality of his debut album, Traveller, and not its commercial success, which came afterward. Why do we not see that kind of CMA attention for female artists like Hemby and Brandy Clark (whose most recent album falls between cycles for this year's CMAs), who are writing and releasing some of the best songs and albums in country music? One wonders if either one of them had written and recorded Traveller note-for-note instead of Stapleton, if we'd have seen the same outcome.
Scroll through the gallery above to see which female country singers deserved nominations in the 2017 CMA Awards.
Remember: The best way to watch the CMAs is on TV, with ToC on your phone!
Country Women Well-Represented in 2017 Taste of Country RISERS