Lone Superstar State: Texas Women Continue to Dominate the Music Industry | Life + Entertainment
Don’t mess with Texas musicians. The 2022 Grammy nominations list is filled with female voices from the Lone Star State. But their impact should come as no surprise, as generations of female Texas artists have been kicking down doors and etching their legacies into music history for decades.
In the 1960s, Janis Joplin, a white woman from Port Arthur, became involved in emulating blues and soul through rock music. Joplin then raised many eyebrows, as the genre has long been performed by black artists. But looking back years later, any rock fan must have had Pearl in their collection and should have rolled down their car windows and sung “Cry Baby” or “Piece of My Heart” at least once.
Decades later, Houston native Selena Quintanilla-Pérez changed the Tejano music scene forever before her tragic death in 1995. Her influence never stopped, as it’s not uncommon to see someone a thoughtlessly mumbling “Dreaming of You” with the “Queen of Music Tejano[’s]” blasting small convenience store speakers.
And then there’s Beyoncé, a Houston native whose undeniable impact has inspired generations of artists. If you grew up in the 2000s and didn’t play “Bootylicious” or “Crazy in Love” on your iPod, you were doing it wrong. Her influence has aged like fine wine, as Beyoncé became the performing artist with the most career Grammy wins in Grammy Awards history, tallying 28 trophies last year.
If you haven’t played Come Away With Me by Grapevine’s Norah Jones, which won her five Grammys: Best Pop Vocal Album, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Best New Artist, Record of the Year and — the most of the evening — Album of the Year, do yourself a favor and give it a try. Jones is nominated this year for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.
Texas singers seem to have it all: passion, talent and stage presence. If you grew up with them, you’re probably not wrong to think: this is it. This is the peak. What else can the next generations of Texas women say that hasn’t been said?
The next generation of Texas women nominated for this year’s Grammys are living in a time when previous generations have paved the way for them. But that doesn’t make their job any easier. They have even more stories to tell, whether through music or social commentary. They have inspired millions of people throughout their career. They won’t try to top the legends, but they’re ready to pick up the slack.
mickey guyton rewrites country music history
Black artists have always been marginalized in the country genre. Ironically, it was built on black performers like DeFord Bailey, Ray Charles and countless others. Still, it was presented as white music somewhere along the line. Yet some black artists are ready to rewrite this piece of music history.
Last year, Arlington native Mickey Guyton became the first black solo woman to receive a country genre nomination with her song “Black Like Me.” She upped her chances this year with three additional nominations: Best Country Solo Performance, Best Country Song and Best Country Album for her debut album Remember Her Name and titular track.
“I feel validated. Like, um, thank goodness. Because there was a doubt about this project before I published it. So now, to see the response, I feel relieved,” Guyton told The New York Times of his nominations.
Maren Morris approaches the country through country music
The country music scene is brutal, especially in Texas, where clear lines are drawn between left and right. When the Dallas Chicks spoke out against the Bush presidency many years ago, they immediately faced backlash, boycotts and death threats from country fans.
Which makes Arlington native Maren Morris’ efforts to stand up in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement bold and powerful. Morris received a Best Country Song nomination for “Better Than We Found It,” a song that deals with discrimination, harassment and police brutality, as well as a Best Country Duo/Group Performance for “Chasing After You”.
“I still have hope for this country and its future, and as a new mother I wanted to promise my son that I will do everything in my power to leave this world a better place than the one I was in. walked in and the one I see right now,” Morris said in a statement about the song.
St. Vincent find humor through a personal story
Musicians are inspired by their music anywhere. Some enjoy developing different identities and writing songs unrelated to what they’re going through, while others breathe personal life into their music.
Dallas’ own two-time Grammy-winning St. Vincent has always been comfortable playing with different identities across her albums. But for his sixth solo project Daddy’s Home, which earned him a nomination this year for Best Alternative Music Album, St. Vincent loosely bases his songs on his father, who has just been released from prison, and pokes fun at the situation.
“My dad’s incarceration was a story that was kind of told without my consent, but ever since it came out I’ve been like, ‘Well, I can write about this because I can tell it. from my point of view, and with a sense of humor and compassion and don’t be too Disney about it,” St. Vincent told W Magazine in 2021.
Selena Gomez draws deep into its roots
There always seems to be a barrier between Latin artists and their audience. For some, they are shunned by the public because of their musical genres or the fact that they are not fluent in Spanish – even when the “queen of Tejano music” is not fluent in the language. Yet many artists don’t let this barrier stop them from feeling proud of their heritage.
Thirteen years after her debut album, Grand Prairie native Selena Gomez received her first Grammy nomination on November 30. But with all the success she racked up over the year, the nomination wasn’t for any of Gomez’s English pop endeavors. Instead, she received a nomination for Best Latin Pop Album for her first high-profile Spanish project, Revelación.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for 10 years, to work on a Spanish project, because I’m so, so proud of my heritage, and I really felt like I wanted this to happen,” he said. Gomez told host Zane Lowe. in an interview for Apple Music.
Kacey Musgraves breaks down gender boundaries
It seems country music has its own set of rules too as it’s no longer uncommon to see comments like “This isn’t country music” or “I miss the real country” whenever an artist country announces a new project. But again, how can you define the genre, if Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Anne Murray have already been nominated or won the pop categories at the Grammy Awards with their country hits.
Golden, Texas native Kacey Musgraves won album of the year three years ago with her country-pop album Golden Hour. She followed with star-crossed, which was moved from country to pop by the award committee. She failed to be nominated in that genre, but racked up Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song for the “camera roll”, showing her the support of voters nationwide.
“I feel like I don’t belong to a country in any way on the one hand. But on the other hand, I’m deeply rooted in this genre,” Musgraves told ELLE in 2021.
Megan you stallion proves authenticity sells
There’s something about successful women that men have trouble with, especially black female artists, because they come out of their shell and express their authenticity through their music. People are starting to speak up, saying these women are hurting the next generation of women by selling vulgarity and they desperately need attention.
That didn’t stop Houston’s Megan Thee Stallion from receiving a Best Rap Performance nomination for “Th-t Sh-t” and an Album of the Year nomination for her involvement in Lil Nas X’s Montero. She picked up three awards last year, including becoming the first female rapper to win Best New Artist since Lauryn Hill in 1999.
“Let me repeat: I choose what I wear, not because I’m trying to please men, but because I take pride in my appearance, and positive body image is at the core of who I am. as a woman and a performer. I value compliments from women much more than from men,” Stallion wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times in 2020.
The winners of the 64th Grammy Awards will be announced on April 3.