Blake Shelton fought back at criticism he faced after performing his new single “Minimum Wage” for New Year’s Eve 2021. Shelton faced social media backlash with people criticizing him, a millionaire, for releasing the track during the country’s record unemployment rates and economic struggles due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though Shelton told CMT he first wondered if he “missed something” when he learned of the criticism, he quickly realized it “was not really real.” In fact, he found the backlash “absolutely ridiculous,” noting how he “struggled for so long to get by” early in his career.
“I wouldn’t trade those times for anything. Those days when the big struggle was, ‘Man, do I pay my rent or my electric bill, or do I just … go buy some beer?’ You had to decide because you didn’t have enough to go around,” said Shelton, who makes far from minimum wage now. “But those really were some of the best days of my life that I still think about all the time. And I think about all the jobs and things that I did over the years, just so I could play music for free somewhere.”
Shelton went on to defend his single, telling CMT, “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.” So what is “Minimum Wage” really about?
Blake Shelton's 'Minimum Wage' is 'literally a love song'
After addressing the backlash he faced for singing about “Minimum Wage” in the midst of a year with massive unemployment and financial struggles, Blake Shelton revealed to CMT that those calling out the singer are simply misconstrued. The single is just a simple country love song.
As the Voice coach sings on the chorus: “You can make a six-pack on the carpet / Taste like a million dollar bill / You can make a one-bedroom apartment / Feel like a house up on the hill … Girl, lookin’ at you lookin’ at me that way / Can make a man feel rich on minimum wage.”
“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,” he told CMT. “And if that’s offensive to you, then we’ll just have to agree to disagree.”
“I’m going to put out the records that resonate with me and my life and not look back,” he continued. “As country artists and as an industry, we have to stay focused here and know that what’s right is right. And I believe this song is a great message and I’m proud of it.”
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