- The Magazine
Country music star Maggie Rose loves a good tomato. When radio consultant Keith Hill compared women in country music to tomatoes in a salad, Nashville was thrown into a controversy aptly named “Salad Gate.” According to his research, country radio generates more revenue from their female listeners, and women just don’t like listening to women.
If country radio wanted to make more money, he posited, they should limit their playlists to mainly feature men, and never play female artists back to back. And like tomatoes to greens in a salad, they should be the accent, not the feature. “A lot of people were upset,” Rose says. “But I decided to have fun with the analogy.”
Since Rose’s breakout in 2012, she’s been the indie darling of the country music scene. “I moved to Nashville six years ago,” she says. “And my goal was to get a hit on country radio.”
That came in May of 2012 with her single “I Ain’t Your Mamma” which reached No. 29 on the country airplay chart. A year later, her album Cut to Impress made was named one of the best country records of 2013 by CountryRecordMusic.com. Now, as the sixth most played woman on country radio, Rose wants to use her visibility to highlight the great work that women in music are doing.
“I started a campaign called #TomatoTuesday,” she says. “Every Tuesday, I release a song I’ve been working on. And I’ll do that until labor day when I’ll drop a single.” However, not everything she releases is specifically country. “I’m getting to create and cultivate new styles,” she says. “I’m looking forward to sharing it with my fans.”
Born in Potomac, Maryland, Rose spent a lot of her youth in the District. “I’ve been to the 9:30 club a lot, but never played there,” she says. “I’m excited to finally get a chance. It was definitely on my bucket list.” But don’t expect a twangy guitar and a down home sound at her show on July 16th. “It’s going to be fun to go home, and back to my growing fan base,” she says. “I’ll be playing a lot of my new stuff there. Hopefully, I’ll make some new fans at 9:30 club too.”
For Rose, Keith Hill’s salad analogy has had the opposite effect. Female-driven country music is flourishing. “I get a pretty cool look at what women are creating in Nashville,” she says. “I’ve never seen women support each other as much as they do now. There’s really good material being generated, either underground or simmering at the surface. People are going to start yearning for more women on the radio.”
Maggie Rose plays the 9:30 Club, 815 V Street NW, on Thursday, July 16th. Tickets are $25 and are available at the door or online at 930.com. Read more about #tomatotuesday on Rose’s website iammaggierose.com.
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