Blake Shelton got some backlash from the internet when he debuted his new single “Minimum Wage” on NBC’s New Year’s 2021 special.
The song is about a guy whose significant makes him feel like a million bucks, despite only earning minimum wage. Some folks felt that it was hypocritical and tone deaf for a millionaire (Blake) to deliver happy talk about poor folks. After all, there are folks struggling right now, as a pandemic ruins livelihoods. So, rich folks like Blake aren’t in a position to be singing about poor folks.
Blake kept his mouth shut after the controversy first broke. But now, he’s speaking with CMT, to talk about the song, address the backlash, and share his own history earning minimum wage.
Blake explains why he likes the song. He may be successful now, but he struggled financially at the beginning of his career, and he’s grateful for that struggle:
I just related to the lyrics so much, you know? Just like probably 95 percent of artists out there, I struggled for so long to get by. But at the end of the day, 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 say screw it and go buy some beer?” You had to decide because you didn’t have enough to go around. 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.
Hey…Blake has worked minimum wage jobs! And even after landing a record deal, he was still poor.
If I was making minimum wage back then, it was barely minimum wage. But at the same time, I was super young, and just needed what I needed to get by. The other main job that I had — that I was able to at least get by on — was singing demos. And strangely enough, you would think when you get a record deal, that’s when you start making the big money, right? Well, I got my record deal in 1998 and the demos work stopped immediately. So those would’ve been some of the tightest financial years of my life even after the record deal. Because people assumed, “Oh, Blake got a record deal. We can’t hire him to do demos anymore.”
The backlash against the song didn’t really shock Blake. Because people on social media are M3AN. And they just like to complain. AND THEY CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH. And to those who are offended? Too bad.
I just feel like these days, there are people out there who don’t want to know the truth. 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.
Blake explains why he didn’t respond right away. Or barely at all, really.
We’re at a point now where it doesn’t even deserve a response. 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.
Check out Blake Shelton’s “Minimum Wage” lyric video below.