How country star Loretta Lynn has paved the way for some of your favorite artists
How does one survive the entertainment industry for 70+ years?
It’s a question which certainly begs an answer: 86 year-old musician and country music star, Loretta Lynn, has been on a winning streak since we can remember.
In 1972, Loretta became the first woman to be named Entertainer of the Year by the Country Music Association. Fellow musician, Candi Carpenter, adds, “That’s an incredible feat, considering only seven female acts have taken home that award in the show’s 52-year history. She’s the original Queen of Girl Power.”
And that she is.
The self-taught singer, songwriter, and performer, has certainly had an incredible run. Loretta is one of the most awarded musicians of all time and has been inducted into more music Halls of Fame than any other female recording artist.
And, she has no intention of slowing down. Loretta’s last studio album, Full Circle, was a Grammy nominee for Best Country Album, and her latest album Wouldn’t It Be Great, is already creating excitement. The album features some of Lynn’s best work- namely the soulful single “Ain’t No Time To Go.”
Aside from her acclaimed and widely beloved musical career, Lynn has also been fighting for women’s issues for quite some time – she’s been an advocate for female empowerment within the entertainment industry, and was among the first artists to speak out about issues like domestic abuse and contraceptive rights.
While she continues to accomplish so much in her own career, Lynn has inspired a new generation of artists. Read below as some of your favorite contemporary musicians speak on the impact Lynn has had in their lives.
Kacey Musgraves describes Lynn as “intelligent, irreverently ladylike, witty, authentic, beautiful, strong and brave.” Kacey goes on to attribute much of her own passion for music to Lynn’s fruitful career, adding, “these qualities have minted Loretta Lynn as a legendary figure in American music, and beyond. I can say, without a doubt, that I would not be living the musical life as I know it without her example to follow.”
As a light is being shed on some of the issues that women in the entertainment industry have been forced to undergo, it’s important to consider the success of industry veterans like Lynn. “When I think about Loretta’s journey, it’s even more impressive to me that back then there was zero formula. There was no ‘norm’ for an outspoken artist who just happened to also be a poor, young mother of four,” says Kacey.
Not to mention, in a culture that continually glorifies overnight sensation and novelty over longevity, Kacey takes a moment to appreciate Lynn’s career trajectory: “There was no norm for songwriters or guitar players. There was no norm even for women in general. No iTunes, no cell phones, no AutoTune, no social media, no YouTube, no reality television shows promising stardom, and no instant gratification. Back then, there was just pure grit, aligned stars, unique perspective, and good, old-fashioned talent.”
Further, Kacey notes, “When I think about the comments, reactions, and situations I’ve been exposed to as a female artist in modern day country music, I can only begin to imagine the odyssey she has been on.”
Lynn is certainly not one to adhere to expectations or allow anybody to put her in a box.
Fellow musician, Kalie Shorr, emphasizes the impact of Lynn’s legacy by comparing her to some other familiar legends. “I’ve always thought Loretta Lynn was just as much a rockstar as Mick Jagger, Slash, and Steven Tyler. She tore down walls, spoke her mind, and looked real good doing it. I grew up on rock just as much as I did country and I remember hearing her project with Jack White and thinking ‘oh, that’s what happens when you combine them both.’ It really showed me what was possible when it came to blurring the genre lines.”
“My band and I have recently started doing a cover of ‘You Ain’t Woman Enough To Take My Man’ with power chords and a rock and roll beat. It’s so fun and people go crazy. I’m so thankful for the path she’s paved for women in country to rebel with purpose,” Shorr continues.
Another fellow singer, Candi Carpenter, tells the story of when she first met Loretta Lynn, and how this inspired the trajectory of her career.
“I first met Loretta Lynn when I was 16 years old. My childhood mentor, Jack Greene, formed a friendship with Loretta when they both toured the country with Ernest Tubb in the 1960’s. We sat with Ms. Loretta in her living room while she listened to my first CD. She asked me if I could teach her how to yodel, and then showed me her doll collection.”
“I’ll never forget the way she encouraged me, and asked everyone to leave the room so that she could talk to me one on one. She looked deep into my eyes, searching, and told me that she believed I was meant to be a performer and a songwriter, but that it was going to be a long and painful road. I felt like I’d been to see a psychic. Ms. Loretta told me that if I wanted to be successful as a storyteller, I had to be fearless. She said, ‘They can’t hate ya for sayin’ it if it’s the truth!’ She didn’t abide by the societal norms laid out for her. She created her own.”
“Ms. Loretta invited Jack and I to perform with her at her ranch, and when I walked out to sing ‘Stand By Your Man,’ she stood behind me and hyped the audience. Loretta Lynn was my hype woman for the evening! The way she champions other female artists is an example I hope to follow. The friendship she forged with Patsy Cline serves as an example of how two women in the same field can not only love and respect one another, but also offer each other genuine support and understanding.”
Aka, Loretta has had a huge impact on other young female performers that is definitely something to commend and look up to, no matter what profession you’re in.
American singer, Cam, adds, “To me, above all the career milestones and success, I have always felt Loretta was real, multidimensional, and proudly imperfect (and I mean that in the best sense of the word), and to see a real woman brave enough to speak truth like that, is a reason women and men are freer today than before there was a Loretta Lynn.”
We couldn’t have said it better.
Loretta’s newest album, “Wouldn’t It Be Great,” is officially out now, and we couldn’t be more excited. Her influence and inspiration lives on, and we hope you all give her a listen and learn a little bit of magic from her, too.
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN LORETTA’S LATEST ALBUM, WOULDN’T IT BE GREAT.