They Just Completely Control These Artists

Spending over 30 years performing on stages all over the country, John Rich nurtured a promising career working with groups like Lonestar and Big & Rich. While enjoying his time in country music, the singer criticized the entire industry for how they control artists. Not holding anything back, Rich insisted the next Johnny Cash or Waylon Jennings is out there, but due to the current state of country music, he said, “None of those people would have been allowed to exist today.” 

Pulling back the curtain on country music, Rich sat down for an interview with Prager U. While discussing his career, Rich harped on the future of the industry and the current state of the genre he loved so much. “These artists are sitting there and they’re being told by their publicists, their managers, the heads of their records labels, ‘Hey, we know that you think these things about America, that you’re against all this woke stuff that we do.’”

[RELATED: John Rich Remembers “Patriot” Toby Keith: “He Was God, Family, Country”]

With the industry controlling artists, Rich explained how many of them only have two options. “They just completely control these artists. And the artist only has two choices at that point: Do they wanna go have a career? It’s been their dream, do they play the game, go forward and just don’t step on these landmines?” He continued,  “Or, do they go out and hit the trip wires and light the place up? And lose their record deal, and not get invited to the awards show, and radio won’t play them, and so forth, but basically just erase their career.”

John Rich Blames Nashville For Stealing Creative Freedom

Although revealing the current state of country music, Rich added how Nashville stole creative freedom and art from future artists. “Is there freedom in art in Nashville, like total freedom? Absolutely not. It’s sad. To make authentic art, the artist needs to have free reign over whatever they’ve got in their mind…So when you start building walls and parameters and barriers protocols around artists, then the art’s dying at that point.”

While there will always be only one Cash or Loretta Lynn, Rich noted how the industry wouldn’t allow them to exist today. “If you’re wondering why it seems like people are pulling back and not giving you the full meal deal, there’s no Johnny Cashs, or Waylon Jennings, or Loretta Lynns, there’s a good reason for that. None of those people would have been allowed to exist today.”

(Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

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