WATCH: Blake Shelton Performs Controversial Single ‘Minimum Wage’ on ‘Ellen’

by Josh Lanier
(Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for ACM)

Despite the initial backlash to the song, Blake Shelton performed his hit “Minimum Wage” Friday on The Ellen Degeneres Show.

Shelton originally released the song in January, and critics immediately attacked the song and Shelton for its lyrics. Some of them include: “Girl, lookin’ at you, lookin’ at me that way / Can make a man feel rich on minimum wage. Girl, your love is money, your love is money / Yeah, your love, can make a man feel rich on minimum wage.

Critics said Blake Shelton was a wealthy man who is out of touch with the working poor. The people who actually must survive on minimum wage. Shelton said they misunderstood his lyrics and were taking him out of context.

He told CMT that some people were looking to “pick a fight” and wouldn’t listen. He said they preferred to use their anger for social media clout.

“I just feel like these days; there are people out there who don’t want to know the truth. They just want to hear what they want to hear, and they want to pick a fight,” Shelton told CMT in a Q&A. “No matter what your intention is, no matter what the truth is, they want it to be something that they can be upset about so that they can get on social media and try to grab a headline.” The Oklahoma native explained that initially, he thought, “Wow, I guess I just I’ve missed something here.” But the more he looked into the response, he “realized this was really not real.”

Blake Shelton Said He Understands Struggles

Blake Shelton wasn’t born a multi-platinum selling, award-winning country music singer. He spent several years barely making ends meet, he said. So, he understands what it means to struggle, he told USA Today during the initial backlash.

“I just related to the lyrics so much, you know?” Shelton said, talking about his life before fame. “Just like probably 95 percent of artists out there, I struggled for so long to get by. But at the end of the day, I wouldn’t trade those times for anything. Those days when the big struggle was, ‘Man, do I pay my rent or my electric bill, or do I just say screw it and go buy some beer?’”

But regardless of any of that, he said, the song has nothing to do with the minimum wage. It’s just a set-up for a love song.

Minimum Wage” tells the story of a happy couple who has nothing but unpaid bills and unconditional love for each other. It’s a tried and true country love ballad, not a political message.

His defense of the song has done little to appease his detractors. So, Shelton has stopped fighting them and just kept singing the song.

“As country artists and as an industry, we have to stay focused here and know that what’s right is right,” he told USA Today earlier this year. “And I believe this song is a great message and I’m proud of it.”