"I’m hoping in this year we see more of a tide turn," Maren Morris tells PEOPLE, calling for more diversity on country radio

By Jeff Nelson
January 23, 2019 01:00 PM
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Maren Morris is joining the chorus of voices calling for more diversity on country radio.

In this week’s issue of PEOPLE, the Grammy winner — who just released her new single “GIRL” — weighs in on the ongoing conversation about women’s representation in Nashville and beyond.

“It’s baffling,” says Morris, 28. “There are tons of artists making incredible music, not just women — people of color and different sexualities are making catchy country music. I’m grateful my singles have done well, but it’s frustrating to continue to have these conversations and no results.”

Morris adds: “Kelsea Ballerini and Carrie [Underwood], I think they’re in the Top 20 now, so that’s an improvement to a month ago when there was zero. But we need more. I’m hoping in this year we see more of a tide turn.”

Women’s representation on the radio and in country music has been an important discussion for years. In 2015, a male radio consultant sparked a renewed vigor in that conversation when he compared female artists to “tomatoes” in a “salad” of male artists, since dubbed “Tomato Gate.”

For more on Maren Morris, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.

In recent years, everyone from Lambert and Cam to Underwood have spoken out about the imbalance in the genre.

Since rising to fame in 2016 with her breakout album Hero, Morris has connected with fellow female artists behind-the-scenes, which she says has helped her work through different experiences in the industry.

Whether partying at her bachelorette party or simply enjoying a wine night, Morris has shared glimpses her friendship with artists including Ballerini, Carly Pearce, Raelynn, Lindsay Ell and Cassadee Pope on social media.

“It makes me feel like I’m not just dealing with it myself,” Morris says. “I love those nights when we can just unplug and wear sweatpants, hang out, have tequila and laugh and cry.”