Gretchen Wilson Battled Major Impostor Syndrome at the Start of Her Career
In 2004, Gretchen Wilson put out her breakthrough debut studio project, Here for the Party. The album produced four Top 10 singles, including her chart-topping signature smash, "Redneck Woman." But even though she was at the top of her game, Wilson admits that back then, she questioned her place in country music.
"Everybody just seemed classier than me," she admitted to Taste of Country at the CMA Awards in 2013. "You know, I felt like ... you ever walk into someplace where you're supposed to have on a suit and tie, and you're like, 'Ooh, I don't fit in here'? That's kinda how I felt for the first little while. It took me a while to adjust to the industry."
Part of that impostor syndrome came from the fact that even as "Redneck Woman" became a hit, it didn't immediately translate to the singer measuring up to her country star peers in terms of income. In her book, Redneck Woman: Stories From My Life, Wilson explained that at that point in her career, she'd stopped bartending and singing demos for other artists. That meant that, at least for a while, her sources of income had stopped.
"In fact, I was more broke, I think, than I'd ever been in my life," she writes. "... Unfortunately, royalties on records don't just come in a couple days after people start buying the records. It takes a while, anywhere from nine months to a year or more, before they slip a royalty check under your door."
Ultimately, of course, that's part of what made "Redneck Woman" so successful: It was Wilson unabashedly and authentically singing about her life story. The song was actually inspired after Wilson watch Faith Hill's high-glamour music video for "Breathe," with the singer-songwriter pitting that ideal of country superstardom against her own, comparatively humble, lifestyle.
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