Mar 19, 2024 - News

Beyoncé reveals the story behind "Cowboy Carter" country album

Beyonce

Beyoncé at New York Ready to Wear Fashion event last month. Photo: Nina Westervelt/WWD via Getty Images

Beyoncé says her new country-inspired album "Cowboy Carter" was "born out of an experience that I had years ago where I did not feel welcomed."

Why it matters: In a post previewing her album, which drops March 29, Beyoncé said the experience led her to "a deeper dive into the history of Country music and studied our rich musical archive."

  • Her project has revived the debate over diversity in contemporary country music, which is dominated by white artists.

Zoom out: Queen Bey is no stranger to this conversation. The Grammys' country music committee rejected her song "Daddy Lessons," which she performed alongside The Chicks at the CMAs.

  • The CMA performance and subsequent Grammy snub sparked renewed interest in the Black influences embedded in country music's DNA.

State of play: While some listeners balked, her latest single "Texas Hold 'Em" is a genre-spanning smash. Beyoncé became the first Black woman ever to top Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. The singer said she was "honored" by the distinction.

  • "My hope is that years from now, the mention of an artist's race, as it relates to releasing genres of music, will be irrelevant."

What she's saying: "The criticisms I faced when I first entered this genre forced me to propel past the limitations that were put on me," she wrote.

  • The new album "is a result of challenging myself, and taking my time to bend and blend genres together to create this body of work."

The intrigue: "I have a few surprises on the album, and have collaborated with some brilliant artists who I deeply respect," she continued.

The bottom line: Beyoncé may be exploring country music, but she continues to defy genre.

  • "This ain't a Country album," she wrote. "This is a 'Beyoncé' album."
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