Gretchen Wilson Credits Faith Hill for Inspiring ‘Redneck Woman’
Sixteen years ago, Gretchen Wilson burst onto the country music scene with her 2004 single "Redneck Woman," giving hard-partying, badass country woman an anthem for their whiskey-drinking ways. The inspiration for the hit song, however, came from a surprising source, says Wilson: Faith Hill's music video for "Breathe."
While writing with John Rich of Big & Rich, Wilson was watching music videos, and when Hill's sexy video for "Breathe" started playing, inspiration struck in the most surprising of ways.
“She’s gorgeous. She looks like a supermodel. She’s rolling around in satin sheets. And that was the inspiration behind "Redneck Woman,"" Wilson recalls to Taste of Country. "I looked at John and said, ‘This is probably never gonna happen for me because I’ll never look like that, and I’ll never be that. That is just not the kind of woman I am.'”
Rather than accept her statement, Rich pushed back: "He looked at me [and asked], ‘Well, what kind of woman are you then?’ And I said, ‘I’m a redneck woman.’ Then he said, ‘What’s the matter with that?’" Wilson remembers. "We, at that moment, decided to be as authentic as we could about that kind of a woman, and I felt like it was a responsibility almost at that point to speak to those girls who felt like me.”
Wilson's desire to be honest about who she is obviously paid off: "Redneck Woman" became her signature song, spending five weeks at No. 1 on the country charts and earning the singer a Grammys trophy for Best Country Female Vocal Performance. The single appears on Wilson's debut album, Here for the Party, which debuted at the top of the charts and became the fifth-best-selling album of 2004; again, for that success, Wilson credits her willingness to be herself.
“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," Wilson explains. "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.”
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