Dixie Chicks say the darnedest things. Former Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines recently opened up to Us Weekly about her upcoming album and revealed that despite the country trio's 13 Grammy awards and many, many country music accolades, she does not, in fact, listen to country music anymore.
"People do look at it as an insult that I say I don't listen to country music, which cracks me up," the 38-year-old singer told Us. "Music is a personal preference. Everyone's free to connect and like whatever they want."
"I definitely have a bad taste in my mouth about country radio," she added. "We did get supporters, but as a whole, the country music industry did not support us. Award shows would laugh at our expense. It was fun to hate us."
In 2003, the girl group made headlines after Maines criticized then-President George W. Bush's plans to launch a war against Iraq and reportedly told an audience in London that she was "ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas."
Radio stations across the United States immediately pulled the band's tracks from the airwaves after listeners angrily attacked the group for Maines' comments. Even now, however, Maines said she doesn't feel the need to apologize for speaking her mind, as controversial as her opinions proved to be.
"To me, I was right from the beginning, because it's my right as an American to speak up and question our President, have my point of view, have my opinion, question what I want to question, and say what I want to say about our government," she said. "It's very scary to me that people actually think we should just follow our leaders. If we can't learn from our history, we're nowhere."
Adds Maines: "My point I try to make about that is it's not a thing I wanted to be right about. It's not a good 'I told ya so' with all these people losing their lives. War is horrible."
When Maines' comments blew up, the singer added, she felt a lack of support from the country music community that continued on years after the incident.
"I don't know about the country community," Maines continued. "But the Dixie Chicks have fans that have stayed loyal and stayed with us, but just as a whole or a radio market, or a musical genre. I am very liberal. A lot of them don't like me, and what I have to say."
Maines is currently branching out from her Dixie Chicks roots, and is set to release her first solo album, Mother, on May 7. And the singer and mother-of-two said she couldn't be happier about the direction her new sound is taking.
"I'm kind of enthusiastic right now," she said. "I definitely wanted it to be different. Significantly different from the Chicks. Someone might think that I'm just trying to find another genre because I don't have a great relationship with country music right now. But really, that never crossed my mind that people would even think that. To me, this album is who I am."
Not that being a part of the three-woman group, with bandmates Emily Erwin and sister Martie Maguire, was ever a negative experience, Maines is quick to say.
"I mean, being in the Dixie Chicks was like winning the lottery ten years in a row," she told Us. "It was a constant high, and excitement and the next thing or opportunity. And you know? It was SO much fun. The heyday, the climb, was really fun."