By Brian Goins
Bold Like a Lion is an understatement when it comes to describing Meghan Linsey. The performer, who got her start in the duo Steel Magnolia, has had her share of spotlight recently for standing her ground on issues.
In September, Linsey sang the National Anthem at a Titans game that was being televised. She sang the entire anthem standing up, but then fell to one knee at the end of the performance.
It was a bold statement, but she doesn’t regret it.
“It just opened me up and allowed me to be so honest and real,” she said. The album, too, is about being bold and speaking up.
“The last couple of years in general for me have been about being unapologetically, completely myself,” she said. “I’ve done that in various ways, voicing my opinions on issues or by being an advocate on for things that I believe in.”
Another way she’s expressed that is in this album, a 13-song offering that has Linsey’s voice front and center, as it should be, featuring daring tracks such as the shout out to haters in Say It to My Face and the funky Freak for the Beat.
The music, she said, reflects her desire to make music that she wants to make.
“Bold Like a Lion felt like such an appropriate title for this album, for where I’m at in my life … personally and professionally,” she said.
Linsey spoke with Focus magazine on the day of her video release for Mr. Homewrecker and just before her gig as emcee of Taste in support of Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
How does being on a smaller label affect what you do?
I’m independent. I put everything out on my own label, Bold Music Group. I do everything, pretty much (laughs). We’re like the Little Engine That Could team. Three people just doing every single thing. But it’s nice because I am independent, I can do what I want. I can put out what I want and say what I want to say. There’s a lot of freedom in that.
You recently took some heat for taking a knee at a Titans game that was televised. Do you ever second guess or think maybe you should pull back a little from that sort of statement?
No. It’s definitely something you want to think about before you do it because of you know, I knew what the backlash would be. It just opened me up and allowed me to be so honest and real. I feel like I’ve been hiding behind this façade for so long, having been in the country music industry. It’s really hard to speak out and speak to your causes. This has really opened the floodgates for me to be completely honest about where I stand on certain issues … to use my platform to shine a light on injustice. I don’t regret it, because it’s very freeing.
You sang the anthem and then knelt. That seemed like a pretty diplomatic way to make the statement.
I know how sensitive people are when it comes to patriotism, so I didn’t want it to seem like … obviously, I meant no disrespect to anyone who served in the military, or to our country. It wasn’t about that.
I think it’s been very misconstrued in the media about what it even means to take a knee. I think originally the whole knee-taking was out of respect. It was to bring attention to the fact that systemic racism exists. Police brutality is really happening.
There’s not any good way to protest that isn’t going to offend somebody. I did think it was a peaceful, respectful way to protest. That was my goal, to shine a light on that — especially coming from my background and being white, and being a woman, and being in country music — I really wanted to be one who was willing to take a stand.
What are some of the things you’re doing in the community now as an advocate?
I’ve been an ally and an advocate my entire life, but it’s been so hard under the confines of a major record label and being in the country music industry to voice that. As soon as I was an independent artist, I was able to support the LGBT+ community. It was nice to be able to finally voice my opinion on the issues.
I was one of the first to do the Ty Herndon concert for Love and Acceptance when it wasn’t popular to do. I always want to be an advocate for justice and equality.
Country music has been known to make its performers feel like they can’t be who they are, which is the opposite of what country music is about, don’t you think?
It’s supposed to be authentic and Three Chords and the Truth and all these things, but it’s just … I feel like how it is in the industry now, it’s just so censored.
What’s next for you? Will you be touring?
Being an independent artist, it’s so nice to be able to continue to promote the album after the initial spike. I can continue to put out videos for each song and promote the album over the next year, so that’s my plan. Planning a tour for next year … we’re in the middle of figuring that out right now.
MEGHAN LINSEY’S BOLD LIKE A LION ALBUM RELEASE SHOW
Featuring special guest Tyler Cain
When: 7 p.m. Friday Dec. 29
Where: City Winery, 609 Lafayette St., Nashville
Tickets: $12 in advance; $15 at the door