Miranda Lambert announced Wednesday that she is leaving Sony Music Nashville, the company she’s been with since the beginning of her almost two-decade recording career. She did not say where she might be landing after her departure — only that she “can’t wait” to see what comes next.
“Since I was 19 years old, Sony has been my home in Nashville,” Lambert said in a social post. “Over the last 20 years together we have released albums that allowed me to share my story with the world, and we’ve reached heights I’d never even dreamed were possible.
“I’m so thankful for our time together and everything they made possible for me,” Lambert continued, “yet I wouldn’t be true to myself if I wasn’t constantly looking for the next challenge and a new way to stretch my creativity. With that in mind, I’ve decided to say goodbye to my Sony family. I can’t wait to see what the next adventure holds.”
Sony Nashville declined to comment on Lambert’s announcement. The artist’s camp declined further comment beyond the Instagram post.
Lambert is the second major veteran artist to announce a departure from Sony Nashville in less than a month. On Feb. 22 Brad Paisley announced he was leaving, also after about a 20-year run; his announcement included news of his new home, Universal Music Nashville. Paisley released a new single, “Same Here,” on Universal just two days after announcing his switch.
Lambert posting that she needed a new label with which to stretch her creativity may come as a surprise to some industry observers and fans, since Sony Nashville had been known in years past for allowing the singer-songwriter her freedom, as one of the biggest and most celebrated stars in country music.
However, neither of the two singles from her most recent album, “Palomino,” was a radio success, which may have led to the loggerheads over her future direction.
The freedom Lambert was allowed was most evident in her 2016 double-album, “The Weight of These Wings,” which won her some of the best reviews of her career, as well as a CMA nomination and ACMs album of the year win, despite not producing the hit singles to which she had become accustomed. She followed that with a more commercial album, 2019’s “Wildcard,” which had her landing a No. 1 on the country airplay chart with “Bluebird.” Lambert’s two projects for Sony Nashville since then, 2021’s “The Marfa Tapes” (a joint effort with Jack Ingram and Jon Randall) and 2022’s “Palomino,” swung the pendulum back toward arguably more conceptually ambitious fare, again to rave reviews. The album’s lack of success at radio, though, was much discussed in the country community. The album’s first single, “If I Was a Cowboy,” peaked at No. 12, while her most recent radio song, “Strange,” stalled at No. 43.
Lambert’s major-label debut album, “Kerosene,” came out in 2005 and immediately established her as one of country’s rising stars. Her second and third albums, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and “Revolution,” both went double-platinum and brought her to new heights, with the latter album’s “The House That Built Me” in 2010 becoming her first No. 1 airplay single. Altogether she has had four Billboard No. 1s and 12 songs that reached the top 10. Sales-wise, “House That Built Me” was her biggest single with the label, being certified four-times platinum, followed by “Mama’s Broken Heart,” certified for three million, even though it was stopped at No. 2 on the radio chart.
Besides her eight solo studio albums with Sony Nashville, plus the shared “Marfa Tapes” collaboration, Lambert had released four additional albums with her side project Pistol Annies, for a total of 13 total full-length releases.
Lambert finally picked up the coveted entertainer of the year award for the first time just this past spring at the Academy of Country Music Awards.
She resumes her Las Vegas residency March 24 at Zappos, where she has 24 dates booked through December. Lambert was also just announced for a headlining slot at the CMA Festival in Nashville in June.