Blake Shelton celebrates the all-encompassing power of love in his new single, “Minimum Wage,” releasing the song today (January 15) despite a bit of controversy.
Written by Nicolle Galyon, Corey Crowder and Jesse Frasure, the uptempo track features inspiring sonics and an arena-sized vocal from the country superstar, as he leans on his blue-collar roots. It’s built around the idea that true love can make a regular Joe feel like a million bucks, and celebrates not just romance, but the resilience of Shelton’s working class fan base — but he’s already taken some heat for the track.
Even before the song’s release, some online critics noted it makes light of the dire situation many Americans find themselves in, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues and unemployment is still sky high. Others pointed out that as a country superstar, Shelton isn’t exactly hurting for money, so he maybe isn’t the type of artist who should be waving the paycheck-to-paycheck flag. But according to Shelton, those detractors are just looking for something to complain about.
“I just feel like these days, there are people out there who don’t want to know the truth,” he told CMT.com in an exclusive interview. “They just want to hear what they want to hear, and they want to pick a fight. No matter what your intention is, no matter what the truth is, they want it to be something that they can be upset about so that they can get on social media and try to grab a headline. With ‘Minimum Wage,’ at first I thought, ‘Wow, I guess I just I’ve missed something here.’ And the more I read into this, I realized this was really not real. Whatever this backlash is is just four or five people that probably don’t know anything about country music. They clearly hadn’t heard the song or read the lyrics. If they had, they couldn’t feel this way about the song. It’s literally a love song about how if times are tight and you ain’t got much money — as long as you have love and you’re happy — at the end of the day, that’s all any of us can really hope for. You got it if you got that. That’s all that matters. And if that’s offensive to you, then we’ll just have to agree to disagree.”
Shelton said he may be living good these days, but he knows what it means to survive on minimum wage. He talked about playing gigs for free and making $40 a demo for years before his big break — and he also famously worked as a roofer when he first arrived in Nashville — so why shouldn’t he be able to sing about it? But more importantly, that’s not what he feels the song is about. In any case, the superstar said he’s not looking to defend himself by jumping on to a treadmill of social media firestorms.
“We’re at a point now where it doesn’t even deserve a response,” he explained. “That’s why I didn’t come out initially and say anything, because they’re not entitled to a response from me. This is absolutely ridiculous. I looked after the first day when those headlines were popping up, and then for the next week after that, I didn’t see any more. It was hard to find anything negative. If it was something negative about me, it had to do with ‘I hate Blake Shelton’ because of some other reason. Most people were saying, “I don’t get what’s so offensive about this song.” And that made me so happy that Ronnie Dunn came up and spoke out about how he puts his money on the common sense of the common hard-working people out there. And I do, too.”
Blake Shelton is currently back on TV for season 20 of NBC’s The Voice, and expects to release more new music this year.