Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift may differ in many ways, but at the core of their artistry, they are both strong, assertive females in a male-dominated industry. Although Lambert often opts for a more in-your-face attitude with her music (as opposed to Swift's softer approach), the 'Over You' singer gives credit where credit is due.

"Taylor Swift is a pop singer," tells W Magazine in an exclusive interview. “But she really helped country music. When she hit, I was thinking, 'Thank God Taylor’s out there to show people we’re not cheesy.' Some people still think that country music is twangy and cheesy, and they pigeonhole us. But I thought if they’re looking for Taylor’s videos or songs, they might see or hear other people they like. If her fans are watching for her, they might like me too."

Lambert strongly embraces female empowerment in her hits 'Gunpowder and Lead, 'Kerosene' and 'White Liar,' but the singer also admits being a woman in the music industry has been an uphill battle, one that she has to often consciously think about. “When I started out, I’d only wear jeans and tank tops," confesses the Texas native. "No dresses. I didn’t want these dudes in the bars that I was playing to look me up and down because I’m a blonde girl with blue eyes. I wanted to be heard, not seen. That’s how it all started."

Even with her hard-edged persona, Lambert remains a rather appealing contradiction. She's tough, but sweet. She values her independence, but her marriage to fellow country superstar Blake Shelton remains a top priority. "It’s been a roller coaster. He had to get a divorce. We were both trying to build our own careers. I moved from Texas to Oklahoma, which no one does," Lambert admits of the sacrifices they've made. Even in marital bliss, the singer knows exactly who she wants to be.

“We don’t want to be this matchy cutesy­ country couple,” she explains. “He’s busy, and I’m busy. We’ve been married a year, and I think we’ve only spent four months ­together.”

Lambert certainly is busy this summer. The singer continues to tour the country on her headlining On Fire Tour, with labelmates Chris Young and Jerrod Niemann providing opening entertainment. Her all-girl trio, Pistol Annies, will also be on-hand for some shows. Click here for tour dates and ticket information.