Blake Shelton Speaks Out on ‘Minimum Wage’ Critics: ‘They Want to Pick a Fight’

by Jennifer Shea

After his new song “Minimum Wage” proved controversial to some people, country star and “The Voice” coach Blake Shelton is explaining his take on the song and sounding off on critics.

“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 recent interview.

Blake Shelton Lived Through Lean Times

“Minimum wage” is a song about love through lean times. Its chorus goes, “Girl, your love is money / Yeah, your love can make a man feel rich on minimum wage.”

Shelton didn’t write the song. Nicolle Galyon, Corey Crowder and Jess Frasure wrote it, according to CMT. But Shelton told CMT he really related to its lyrics.   

“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?’” Shelton recalled. “You had to decide because you didn’t have enough to go around.”

Shelton has held low-paying jobs in his life. He said he struggled to get by for years – and ironically, the period after he got his first record deal was one of the toughest for him financially, because the money he’d been making singing demos dried up.

Still, in spite of Shelton’s firsthand experience with rough times, he faced a backlash for singing about money at a time when millions of Americans are out of work. 

Unemployment claims skyrocketed to 965,000 last week, levels never seen before the pandemic hit. And Shelton reportedly makes somewhere in the neighborhood of $43.5 million, including $13 million per season as a coach on “The Voice.”

But Shelton remembers the days when he was making “barely minimum wage,” he told CMT. And he recalls them fondly, underscoring the song’s theme that people can have the time of their lives while they’re barely getting by.

Blake Shelton Rips Critics

As for the critics, they just don’t get country music, he said.

“I have to say, if we have to start thinking like this, then I guess that’ll be where I have to bow out,” Shelton told CMT. “Because that’s one of the longest-standing traditions in country music is lyrics about love. And if you’ve got love, then that’s all that matters. There won’t be much left to play or write about on country radio if this is something that we have to think twice about.”

Moreover, he couldn’t believe anyone who had actually heard the song would have a problem with it. Some people are just looking for a fight, he said.

“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,” Shelton said. When there was a backlash, he added, “at first I thought, ‘Wow, I guess I just I’ve missed something here.’ And the more I read into this, I realized this was really not real. Whatever this backlash is is just four or five people that probably don’t know anything about country music.”

But like most Internet tempests, the backlash died out before too long. As Shelton himself acknowledges, many people were puzzled by critics who found the song offensive. 

At the end of the day, Shelton said, people are rich who have love and are happy, and that’s the real message of the song.