At the 2019 Grammys, five-time nominee Maren Morris praised her fellow female nominees for their recent contributions to the entertainment sphere

By Jen Juneau
February 10, 2019 10:07 PM

Maren Morris is celebrating the “badass women” in music.

The country singer, 28, spoke to PEOPLE exclusively on the 2019 Grammys red carpet Sunday in Los Angeles — which she attended alongside husband Ryan Hurd — and praised her fellow female nominees for their recent contributions to the entertainment sphere.

“It feels really positive. Even in the pre-televised awards, you saw Ariana [Grande], you saw Brandi [Carlile], you saw Kacey [Musgraves], Lady Gaga — they all won and the show hasn’t even started,” she said.

“So I think it’s a reflection of how badass women have been in music this year,” added Morris, who was up for five Grammys this year, including song of the year. She has been nominated five times previously, winning best country solo performance in 2017.

Out of the eight nominees in the coveted album of the year category, five are women — Cardi B, Carlile, H.E.R. (Gabriella Wilson), Janelle Monáe and Musgraves. This is a big change from last year’s ceremony, in which four out of the five nominees were men.

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Maren Morris
Maren Morris, Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus

The “My Church” singer’s comments come one year after Recording Academy President Neil Portnow landed in hot water after sharing his thoughts on why males had dominated the Grammys in 2018, stating in part of women, “[They need] to step up because I think they would be welcome.”

Morris opened up to PEOPLE last month about the ongoing conversation about women’s representation in Nashville, Tennessee, and beyond, admitting it’s “baffling” to her.

“There are tons of artists making incredible music, not just women — people of color and different sexualities are making catchy country music,” she said. “I’m grateful my singles have done well, but it’s frustrating to continue to have these conversations and no results.”

Be sure to check out PEOPLE’s full Grammys coverage to get the latest news on music’s big night.

Maren Morris and Ryan Hurd

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Morris helped honor Dolly Parton Sunday evening, performing “After the Gold Rush” alongside the 73-year-old country legend and Parton’s goddaughter Miley Cyrus.

“I met her, and I was trying to not quote Steel Magnolias at her obnoxiously,” Morris said of Parton’s classic 1989 film during a pre-show conversation with E! News on the red carpet.

The country singer added that Parton is “a total pro,” playfully noting of their shared stature, “She and I are the same height!”

The 61st Grammy Awards, hosted by Alicia Keys, are broadcasting live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 10, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on CBS.