Country singer Maren Morris doesn’t regret anything that she’s said publicly, even though it’s cost her.
“Every time I’ve spoken up or clapped back at some troll, it has been very much me,” Morris says in a new interview with Playboy. “I wouldn’t go back on any of it, because they deserved it. Body shamers? They’re asking for it. I would never regret calling them out.”
Morris says she lost about 5,000 followers on social media after posting a photo of Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 people dead and inspired survivors like Gonzalez to advocate for gun control. For Morris, the alternative to that, to stop herself from saying what she feels, would be worse.
“To not be able to share an opinion, or to lose fans and ticket sales over it, is so mind-boggling to me, because it’s an American right — a human right — to be able to voice your opinion,” she tells writer Andrea Domanick. “Of course, any fan has the choice to quit buying your music or listening to it. But as a tax-paying citizen, I should be allowed to speak up when I’m passionate about something.”
Morris wants her fans to know what she really feels.
“It’s always to increase awareness. It’s to let my fans know where I stand. I don’t want to be one of those head-in-the-sand artists who’s only worried about keeping the money in my pocket,” she says. “I get only one life here, and if I’m going to be a musician and do this thing I’ve been given a gift for, I would like people to know what I believe in. This is where I stand, this is what I want, this is the world I want my kids to live in. That’s why I speak up when I do. It definitely ruffles feathers. Not many country artists speak up.”
However, Morris dispels the notion that, as a country artist, she’s held back.
“That I’m restrained in any way is a dumb perception, because I’ve tried to kick ass at everything I do,” she says. “I work hard. I wish the same for my sisters, because they work just as hard, if not harder, than I do, and they don’t get a single spin on the radio, I don’t think I’m pissing on my success by speaking up for them. I’m just trying to say, while I have the success and while I’m here, why aren’t any of my friends getting played? I want to shine a light while I have it and not let it be just about me.”
The “GIRL” singer has something else to say about those other women, too, after she’s asked about the inspiration for that song.
“It’s about a fight I was having with another woman who’s also in the music industry,” explains Morris, who also writes and produces music. “Women in this industry are often pitted against each other. It’s not our fault, but we internalize it, because that’s what women do. We take on the weight, because we’re always so quick to apologize and make peace when we should be like, ‘Actually, this is their issue, not ours. We need to figure this out. It’s not our fault there are so few slots that we turn on each other.”
Morris, who married country singer Ryan Hurd in 2013, also answered a question about what she wants people to know that she’s become so recognizable. She was nominated for an impressive five Grammy awards this year. (She won her first Grammy in 2017.)
“I would love for people to do their research and know that I’m not just an artist,” she says. “I started as a writer and wrote for other artists, and I co-produced my last two albums. I don’t get a ton of questions about my work in that realm. It’s always, ‘So you changed your hair and, like, how crazy is that?’ It’s like, Motherf***er, I produced my album, thanks.”
Read the full interview in the new issue of Playboy, now available for download and for sale on newsstands.
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