On the CMA Awards Wednesday night, Keith Urban is set to perform “Female,” a new song written in response to the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault and harassment scandals. He posted the song, which was written by Shane McAnally, Nicolle Galyon, and Ross Copperman, on YouTube late Tuesday.
The song’s lyrics get to the larger issues — “When somebody laughs and implies that she asked for it/ Just ’cause she was wearing a skirt/ Oh is that how that works?” — and even slip in a reference to Beyonce’s 2011 hit “Girls (Run the World)” early on: “When you hear a song saying you run the world/ Do you believe it?”
The song “just spoke to me,” Urban said at the BMI Country Awards on Tuesday in an Associated Press video interview. “I think it’s just time for a recalibrating of the past, you know? Things have been a certain way for a long, long time, and I think you’re seeing a turning of the tide for that.”
Copperman, who was named Songwriter of the Year at the BMI awards, confirmed that the song was directly inspired by Weinsten. “We’re in a room and we’re like, ‘What can we do about this?’,” he told the AP. “And that’s the one thing we can do is write songs.”
The CMA Awards have been rocked by current events in recent weeks: Last week, the organization issued a directive telling reporters not to ask performers about last month’s shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas — which killed 59 and injured more than 500 — guns or politics on the red carpet. The ensuing uproar, which included a critical Tweet from show co-host Brad Paisley, led the CMAs to change course quickly.