17 years ago superstar Gretchen Wilson took the country music world by storm with her debut single “Redneck Woman.”
There are certain songs that become anthems in the country music world. And Gretchen Wilson’s “Redneck Woman” is one of them. The song soared to fame as a proud proclamation of authenticity for badass country women everywhere. During the song, Wilson sings,” ‘Cause I’m a redneck woman. I ain’t no high-class broad. I’m just a product of my raising. I say, ‘hey y’all’ and ‘yee-haw’…So here’s to all my sisters out there keeping it country. Let me get a big ‘hell yeah’ from the redneck girls like me.”
Wilson released “Redneck Woman” as the first single from her debut album, Here for the Party. The song spent five weeks in the number one spot on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. And the album debuted at the top of the charts. Additionally, Here for the Party became the fifth-best-selling album of 2004. And Gretchen Wilson won a Grammy award for Best Country Female Vocal Performance.
Behind Gretchen Wilson’s ‘Redneck Woman’
Artists can often find inspiration from fellow artists. Which was certainly the case for Gretchen Wilson. During an interview, Wilson revealed that she was inspired to write “Redneck Woman” after watching Faith Hill‘s music video for “Breathe.” She said that she was at a writing session with songwriter and performer John Rich. During a break, Wilson watched music videos and Faith Hill’s came on. Wilson admitted that she immediately began to doubt her own ability to succeed in the country music world.
“I said, ‘Look at her. If that is what you have to be a country music artist, it’s never going to happen,'” said Wilson. “‘I’m not that. I’ll never be that.‘”
Luckily, Rich saw the moment as an opportunity to write a song that was a true representation of Wilson.
“He said, ‘Well then, what are you?'” said Wilson. “I said, ‘Well, I guess I’m just a redneck woman. That’s what I grew up around. That’s all the women I know, are redneck woman.’ He said, ‘Well, you don’t have to do that. Let’s write I’m a Redneck Woman today.'”
And, just like that, a country music anthem was born.
During another interview, Wilson shared that she believes staying true to herself was the key to her success.
“The reason why I became successful in the first place is, I think, women — and maybe some men — they accepted me because I was a voice that was speaking to them about them,” said Wilson. “For a long time, I feel like in country music, women had gotten so slick and soft and pretty. So being authentic and being real, that is what got me to this dance.”