Heidi Parton - An interview with a legend in the making. She opens up to CMV regarding bias in the music industry.
Is it more difficult for women to get work in the country music industry then men?
I have had heard that there is a stigma in the country music industry that men are getting more
work than women. I am relatively NEW to the country music industry as a Publicist to know if
there is a difference. I personally do not see it, nor have experienced a prejudice against
women country music singers. I would hope that isn’t the case. Some of my most favorite
country music singers are women. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great male country
music singers as well. However, I think back at some of the most dynamic country music singers and Crystal Gale, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton comes to mind.
There are some recent women performers that are independent artists, that I consider very
talented. Such as Brieanna James, Maggie Baugh, Bri Bagwell, and Ava Paige. Just to name a
few. Though you still wonder with this much talent, why should there be a disparity with the
amount of men artists being hired, versus women? Is there a logic to this? Is this something
that is tangible? Maybe it was just an isolated case, that was blown out of proportion
Needless to say, Country Music Vibe had to prove have an answer. It is important that we go to
someone with firsthand knowledge of how the industry works for women artists. That brings us
to an interview with Heidi Parton.
If you have been living under a rock for decades of your life, you will still be familiar with the
Parton last name. Even if you are somewhat familiar with the “who is who” in country music,
you should would still know this familiar face and name Heidi Parton. Let’s see what Heidi
Parton had to say regarding this very important subject.
Q & A with Heidi Parton
CMV: I want to begin with stating it is an honor to interview you today. You come from a long
line of talented artists. There is no doubt, that you have followed in the footsteps of those
before you. However, you bring a different kind of sound to country music that is simply
Heidi: Well thank you so much! I’m so excited that you wanted to interview me! Aww thank
you, I would say I try to bring a uniqueness to what I do but really God has just blessed me and
I give it my all.
CMV: In the general workforce, there has been some imbalances in the pay structure for both
men and women. Those with the same exact job title and work responsibilities are getting paid
differently just because of their gender. There has been some changes to improve that within
the last decade. It seems that these imbalances have found its way within the country music
industry. Has this type of inconsistent treatment affected you, or any of your friends within the
country music industry?
Heidi: I’ve been hearing about this type of discrimination for a very long time now. I am
however very grateful to say that I personally have not experienced this issue. I have had
discussions with friends over the issue to hear their opinions on the situation but since that
information was given to me in confidence I won’t go into further detail out of respect for
CMV: It is the strong belief of Country Music Vibe and CMV Radio that both men and women in
the country music industry be treated the same. There should be a direct contrast in their
opportunities, pay, and respect. What is your perspective on how this should be resolved? Or
has it gotten too far out of control to do anything about it now?
Heidi: I believe the resolution of these issues should be left to the experts, lol! I’m an
entertainer, I do my very best to stick to what I know. It’s like the old saying “write what you
know”, same goes for me, I try to stick to my music and leave certain things up to the
professionals in their area of expertise. I do however believe that everything can be resolved
with patience and tenacity, nothing is ever really too far gone.
CMV: It has been said, that the imbalance is consistent and fair because men have the ability to
bring in more of an audience. Again, it has been reported that an industry controlled by men is
responsible for this prejudice and therefore trickles down to the smaller establishments where
country artists get their start. Is it your opinion that the executives in the country music
industry, are responsible for these imbalances of gender discrimination?
Heidi: Music is such a wonderful outlet for all walks of life and I don’t believe neither
men nor women are causing an imbalance. I say that because everyone has different
taste in music-- no two artists are the same so there is something for everyone
whether it be a man or a woman. It’s just a personal preference left up to the
individual and consumer of that particular genre. As for the question about the
executives, I don’t really have an opinion on that. I’ve personally never met these
people so I cannot and will not pass judgment on someone I’ve never met and/or
CMV: Maybe I have been living in a bubble to a degree. However, I never imagined that this
would take place in the country music industry. Especially when we hold women artists on a
pedestal. I have heard male country music singers say they look to women singers for
inspiration. There is no doubt, that you too are one of those that inspire every gender of
country music talent.
Hopefully, more men and women take their stand on this issue. You don’t have to be involved
in politics to feel strongly about equality for all people. If this type of discrimination exists, how
does change take place? And when?
Heidi: I try very hard to be a good inspiration to men and women and everyone in between. I’ve noticed recently that the youth have been drawn to me more and more and that surprised me, but they say that my energy and my passion inspires them.
Lets be honest, I’m not a small
women and even though I struggle with my weight everyday I still get up on stage and give it
my all. I’ve even had older women say that I inspire them and that just makes my heart full.
That’s why I do what I do, to inspire people and to let them know that they aren’t alone. As I
say “changing the world one song at a time” and with each song I hope to help one soul at
time. I personally am a firm believer in equality! I love everyone no matter who you are to me
it’s the person, nothing else. That type of discrimination does exist, we see it every day and it
is heart wrenching. All day, everyday. That’s how we change it, by never giving up and not
stopping until equality isn’t even something that has to be discussed. Because as humans we
deserve to be equal.
CMV: I know this is a very sensitive subject. I am glad that you took the time to talk about it.
Country Music needs someone to take a stand, and say enough is enough.
Before I let you go, I wanted to get your feedback from an event you recently had the
opportunity to perform at. The Josie Awards 2018. How did your performance at the event all
come about? What was your overall feeling about the Josie Awards and the benefit that it has
for independent artists?
Heidi: I had a blast! Josie actually pm’d me via Instagram back in June of this year. She asked
me if I’d be interested in performing at her award show since it was going to be at Dollywood
this year, as well as being a guest presenter for some of the winners. Now I get a lot of fake
mail so to be safe I forwarded the message to my manager and had her do some research to
see if it was legitimate and if it was I knew I would really enjoy getting to do it! After we found
out that it was real and had been around for several years now we moved forward with Josie.
Moving forward included an on air interview via cellphone, because with my schedule I
couldn’t get to Illinois to be in the studio. I loved it! I got to sit backstage and watch several of
the artist perform. I also had the honor of meeting several of them. I have to say, getting to
see those amazingly talented individuals that work so hard and strive to achieve their dreams
and witnessing all their hard work come to fruition was both very humbling and overwhelming.
I look back on it and mind you it’s only been a month, I’m still so grateful that I got to be
CMV: To conclude our Q&A would you like to say something about your latest debut? I really
believe it is amazing. It is a very soul searching album, and its in a league by itself. It’s the type
of quality that you come to expect from a Parton. However, as mentioned previously, you have
your own dynamic that can’t be matched by any other country music artist. Both Male and
Heidi: Why thank you love! I love this album and my latest single! Who am I kidding though, I
love all the music I have the esteemed honor of recording. Music is my love and my life. I love
everything about my career and my music. As a Parton I try to not only bring that special
dynamic you mentioned earlier to everything I record but I also try to represent my family in
the best way possible. Because let’s be honest I am who I am and I’m beyond proud of that. I
mean what an incredible family to be born into. I do my best to hold myself to a high standard
not just for my aunt but for myself. I want to make her proud as well as myself because after
all this is my dream I’m pursing. Wow what a compliment, thank you so much! I literally have
nothing to say to that except Thank You! Truly, that means a lot.
CMV: One last thing, would you agree to following up with us for a second interview in the near
Heidi: Absolutely! I’d love to do a follow up interview in the future. Thank you again for having
me. I look forward to next time!
CMV: Thank you Heidi for taking the time to answer some very sensitive questions. You have
made a strong statement today, and you are a remarkable example for all women and men to
follow. We wish you the best on your career as a country music artist.