Kellie Pickler on Being a Country Radio ‘Tomato': ‘I’ve Been Called Worse’
Even though she's a female country artist with a new single at country radio, Kellie Pickler isn't particularly concerned with the debate that's going on right now in the wake of so-called "Saladgate."
The controversy started in May, when a radio consultant named Keith Hill said in an interview, “If you want to make ratings in country radio, take females out," adding, "Trust me, I play great female records and we’ve got some right now; they’re just not the lettuce in our salad. The lettuce is Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and artists like that. The tomatoes of our salad are the females.”
The comment was part of a larger interview about radio trends and research, but it was re-printed by many media outlets, causing an enormous amount of discussion about the seemingly slanted playing field for women in the current climate at country radio. Top female artists including Martina McBride, Sugarland singer Jennifer Nettles and Sara Evans have also weighed in, calling for a fairer shot for women.
But Pickler — who recently released a new single titled "Feeling Tonight" — tells Rolling Stone Country she's not that interested in the flap. "There are bigger issues going on in the world than being called a tomato," she explains. "I've been called worse! If our biggest thing is fighting to get on the radio, then that's a good problem to have, considering what other women are dealing with around the world, who would do anything to trade problems with women in country music."
Pickler and her husband, songwriter and producer Kyle Jacobs, worked together on her forthcoming album, and they're also starring in an upcoming reality TV show titled I Love Kellie Pickler, which will document their life together. But Pickler says her philanthropic work with causes like supporting the military is her real purpose. Jacobs says they would like to eventually be in the position to travel the world and start orphanages.
"I do my job as a vehicle to get me in the door so I can be a part of people's lives and make a difference," Pickler says, adding, "The goal is to get to a place where we can cash out and help the world."
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