Beyoncé: Star 'can open UK country music floodgates'

February 16, 2024 6:03 pm

[Source: BBC]

“Okay, they ready. Drop the new music.”

As millions tuned in to the Super Bowl to watch a win for the Kansas City Chiefs, Usher on roller skates and the latest chapter of the Taylor Swift-Travis Kelce love story, it was this announcement from Beyoncé which got the BeyHive buzzing.

The second part of her Renaissance project is on the way and she dropped two singles immediately giving clues as to its direction.

Article continues after advertisement

Texas Hold ‘Em and 16 Carriages are both country songs, suggesting the whole album, which is out next month, will be country too – a first for Beyoncé.

The genre “has a bit of a stereotype that it’s all line dancing and cowboys,” UK country artist Kezia Gill tells BBC Newsbeat.

But if anyone can change that, it’s got to be someone with as much star power as Beyoncé, she thinks.

“Massive artists like Beyoncé bringing out country music, it’s just going to open the floodgates for us,” Kezia says.

The singer from Derby feels Beyoncé’s presence can make the genre “accessible to everyone”.

“I think what’s really funny is so many people are going to listen and think Beyoncé just invented this whole thing.

“But if that can bring in a whole generation, then it’s going to be amazing.”

Beyoncé’s announcement comes soon after Lana Del Rey confirmed her first country album, Lasso, was in the works earlier in February.

Another UK-based artist, Jess Thristan, feels prominent female artists releasing country music is key to growing the genre, particularly for women hoping to break through.

Taylor Swift’s 2008 country pop album Fearless has been credited with making the genre more relatable to younger people.

Her re-recorded version, Fearless (Taylor’s Version), is currently number one in the UK’s Official Country Artists Albums Chart, but generally Jess feels the genre’s “very stereotypically male-dominated”.

“In the UK, we have an incredible roster of [upcoming] female country artists.

“I think we’re trying to break that stereotype and mould of traditional male country artists and show everyone what the women are doing.

“If there’s anyone out there that’s listening to Beyoncé and Lana’s new songs, thinking ‘this has unlocked something in me’, then get down to a country show in the UK,” Jess, from Halifax, says.