The Highwomen visited The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Thursday (Oct. 3) to show how they’re “Redesigning Women” with their fight to increase female representation in the country music genre.
The all-female country supergroup — comprised of Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris, Amanda Shires and Natalie Hemby — sat down with DeGeneres before performing their power anthem “Redesigning Women” from their self-titled debut album, which crowned the Top Country Albums chart and simultaneously debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard 200 chart (dated Sept. 21).
The talk show host asked whose idea it was to form the foursome, and Shires stepped up to answer with a disheartening detail about being a woman in country music. “I was inspired by my daughter, I think, because she was starting to show signs of wanting to play music maybe when she grows up,” she responded. “I thought the worst thing that could happen is she would go for country because there are only currently two women’s voices that you can actually hear.”
Carlile chimed in to say The Highwomen came together to amplify “more women and girls’ voices in country music.” Their reasoning prompted a stunned DeGeneres to ask top-selling artist Moris if she’s not frequently played on country radio stations.
“They play me, but when you compare it to some of my male peers, it’s pretty staggering still,” the “Girl” singer replied. “And I’m one of the few lucky girls that gets played on country radio. We’re just trying to change that.”
The all-star group took their female empowerment theme straight to the stage for their performance. The Highwomen were accompanied by twins and Carlile’s longtime collaborators Tim and Phil Hanseroth on guitar and bass, respectively, as well as Shires’ husband Jason Isbell on guitar.
Their distinctively bold voices started the song separately before the foursome’s succinct, sweet harmony carried the rest of the performance focused on the hardships and highlights of today’s women, which can be perfectly categorized in the chorus: “Running the world while we’re cleaning up the kitchen.”
Watch their performance of “Redesigning Women” and their Ellen interview below.