Morgan Wallen says ‘chances are, I’m gonna be a black guy in country music’

Written by By Max Foster, CNN

Country music has been criticized for years by artists of color, particularly women. Some have called the genre the “queen of whitewashing,” and at times, fans have been known to abandon a release altogether over perceived issues with representation.

While that still seems to be happening, new country music star Morgan Wallen proves that diversity on country radio and in the writing room is — at the very least — in full swing.

In a video interview with CNN Style, Wallen, who signed to Capitol Nashville last week, says diversity has never been more apparent in the industry, including in writing staff, as it is now diversified across genres.

Morgan Wallen in his dressing room. Credit: Gina Martin/CNN

“I don’t think you can deny the fact that there is more of that happening,” he says. “When you look around, you know, it’s not as far-fetched that [country music] might look different in ten years. It’s not as far-fetched. It might be that way. I just wish that everyone could see it, and realize there’s amazing opportunities for everyone.”

So far, Wallen has won over fans — and everyone else — with his honest, accessible approach to country music. But he says fans are often more forthcoming than label executives and others when it comes to discussing his new direction.

“I feel like the industry is definitely starting to listen,” he adds. “People’s opinions matter. The label also is understanding that but there are still things where they don’t want to hear about it. But a lot of those opinions were coming from fans. I think that’s something I’ve noticed, that most people that listen to my music aren’t from Nashville, but they love it.”

“I felt like the industry was starting to get a little bit more understanding that people want what they want and if we’re doing it right, they’ll take that as well.”

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