August 5, 2008
It's hard not to get a little excited over Melissa Lawson's win last night. Granted, Nashville Star hasn't been producing hitmakers by the dozen, but some truly talented artists have gotten their start on the show. Miranda Lambert is the most obvious example, and while Buddy Jewell had a handful of hits, I think the strongest male artist to emerge from the show so far has been Chris Young.
Lawson's getting a lot of press because she doesn't fit the “young and perky” mold that has been so popular with the gatekeepers at radio and the record labels. The deck is always stacked against female artists anyway, and it seems to be harder whe
n you're a little bit older and can't be mistaken for a pinup girl.
Country fans have voted Lawson in, and hopefully she'll be given a fair shot by radio. Country audiences aren't nearly as shallow as the label execs that pander to them, and the loyalty commanded by female artists who put substance over style runs very deep.
Lawson's got an awesome voice, strong stage presence and actually looks like a real person. She reminds me of what Joe Galante said about K.T. Oslin, which was along the lines of: “I don't care what anyone says. I think she's one of the sexiest women I've ever seen.”
Sure, there will be juvenile snickering and cheap shots taken by those who never matured past middle school. But there women and girls who are on the receiving end of similar comments all the time, surrounded by images in the media that reinforce those negative sentiments. The victory of Melissa Lawson last night was a victory for them, too.