Laci Kaye Booth Dropped from Label: ‘Women Need Creative Control’

Laci Kaye Booth
(ABC/Eric McCandless) LACI KAYE BOOTH

Fans suspected that American Idol season 19 alum Laci Kaye Booth had parted ways with her record label, but now the country singer opens up about the experience, which she calls “embarrassing.”

Laci posted a quick Tik Tok message to let her fans know why she has been teasing a bunch of music lately, but not releasing it.

“I just wanted to get on here and give you an update about this music that I’ve been teasin’ and not releasing and people want to strangle me and that’s all right,” Laci said. “I would want to strangle me too but I have a really good explanation for it.”

“I got dropped from my label”

Laci shares that it’s something that happened “a couple of months ago…maybe a month or two ago” It’s obvious at this point, that she’s struggling to just come out and say it. “I’ve just been kind of embarrassed to share it I guess. I hate sharing my failures.”

She finally admits, “I got dropped from my label.”

The timeline is a little fuzzy. Fans have been wondering about her label status for MONTHS. She has been absent from the Big Machine Label Group website since early this year. However, she participated in events sponsored by 19 Recordings in June and July. 19 Recordings, American Idol’s record label, initially signs alums, and sometimes will find major labels or big independents to partner with. Did Big Machine drop Laci first and 19 Records part ways months later? Laci doesn’t get specific in her video.

“I won’t say anything bad. I won’t speak ill of nobody”

But she does get pretty emotional about the experience. “First label in town that I signed with,” says Laci, “First label, I met three years ago when I came to Nashville.” She’s likely referring to Big Machine Label Group here. She doesn’t want to bash anybody because “there’s still a lot of people over there at that label that I love, so I won’t say anything bad. I won’t speak ill of nobody.”

However, Laci decries the lack of creative control she had, and believes that the reason was gender specific. She took a month off of “everything” and “recorded so many songs and it just opened up my whole mind, body, spirit, my eyes,” she says. “I finally saw who I was supposed to be as an artist. The vision that I’ve had since I was a little girl was finally here. And it makes me emotional to talk about.”

“Women in the industry…we don’t always get to have creative control”

“But I feel like women in the industry for some reason, we don’t always get to have creative control like we should as artists,” she said without really pointing fingers. “So I just wanted to say that.”

And while she’s been going through some “failures” lately. And she feels “like it’s a failure,” nevertheless she “created something good out of it. And if anybody else is going through the same thing, there’s always going to be blessings and good around every corner and I pray that on you.”

@lacikayebooth ALEXA PLAY I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T by Webbie ? #indieartist #independentartist #selfcare #stressrelief #countrymusic #realtalk ? original sound – Laci Kaye Booth

“I have new music coming out as an independent artist”

She signed off with a very loud message. “Women need to have creative control. I have new music coming out as an independent artist. I love you all. Have a great day.”

Listen to a snip of “Damn Good in a Dive Bar” which fans can pre-save now (better pre-save, or things could get weird, right?)

@lacikayebooth This song with the slo-mo effect is ?? Pre-save LINK IN BIO BABY?????? #damngoodinadivebar #fall #countrymusic #newmusic #stressrelief #cmcrocks ? original sound – Laci Kaye Booth

Laci signed with 19 Recordings/BMLG in 2020

Host Ryan Seacrest announced that Laci signed with 19 Recordings/BMLS records on the American Idol finale in 2020.

Born and raised in Texas, the singer/songwriter moved to Nashville following her time on season 17 of Idol in 2019. Placing in the top 5, she wowed viewers with her stunning vocals, covering artists from Brett Young to Miranda Lambert.

Laci didn’t release her debut EP until August 2021. The 8 track self-titled EP set her raspy vocals to soft, dreamy melodies in songs such as “Shuffle” and “Used to be You.”  However, singles from the album didn’t gain traction on country radio. She did tours and promotion, but BLMG did not follow up the EP with new music. 

19 Recordings brought her to Nashville with a bunch of other American Idol artists, including the current winner, Noah Thompson and runner-up Huntergirl, for the CMA festival in June. She also played a couple of Nashville showcases in July that seemed to be sponsored by 19 Recordings.

About mj santilli 33688 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!

21 Comments

  1. I’m confused on if she was dropped from everyone including 19 or if she is still with 19 because she now calls herself an independent artist, but 19 is still promoting her and including her in things.

  2. Most of you know my grudge against her after Katy chose her over Jeremiah (I did enjoy her more than most female country singers on there ) but yes, 19 sucks ….. Jer just put out his 3rd album in 3 years and has a finished 4th one . That’s what happens sometimes when you have creative control . Hopefully Laci will release new music ASAP as i remember when Greyson Chance was dropped from Interscope (which was actually just brought up on here recently ), he apparently wasn’t allowed to record anything for a year (think we only knew about that as he was a minor ) . Of course as mentioned in that thread , the whole thing with Greyson has been fishy . And off ..

  3. Also, She was with Big Machine . That’s Scott Borchettas label that did that shady deal with Scooter Braun on Taylor Swift’s masters !!!

  4. Oh true, I didn’t think of that. I guess there is 19 Entertainment and then 19 Recordings and you can be part of one and not the other.

  5. Truthfully when they switched her first single I knew they didn’t really know what to do with her. And what direction to do or didnt fully believe in her and once Shuffle didn’t get traction on radio, I knew it was a one and done.

  6. She should keep going. She has such a vibe, such a great sound. She has it all. Someone else might pick her up.

  7. Does any new artist get creative control with a major or successful indie label? Even those who have achieved some success (gold/platinum) can run into problems with direction and style so it is not unique to women or country. These labels today don’t spend a lot of time developing artists. They often pull the trigger when you fail to move fast. If your label is not behind you and fails to get you much radio, how are they of much help? Nothing for her to be embarrassed about. But she should continue cause you never know when something will click or you find that much needed support.

  8. 19 can also act as a mgt company I think. David Cook stuck with them for a few more years after he became indie

  9. As someone that follows the country genre, Big Machine in general isn’t known for being great with female artists. They had Taylor & currently Carly Pearce, but in general they don’t really push their female artists unless they get a lot of buzz or traction on radio.

    However, I would also point out that in general they don’t really try to develop new artists. But I’m not sure most big labels do anyways. Many labels & artists (especially new) on major or known labels don’t get creative control right away. That’s not necessarily just Big Machine. There are established country artists that don’t have input on single choices, image, etc. Even known independent labels in Nashville such as Black River (Ex. Kelsea Ballerina), Triple Tigers (Ex. Scotty McCreery), etc. will have some creative control with their artists. Laci will have to realize that. Unless she self-releases it will be hard to have full creative control in the music industry.

  10. She may be referring to things other than choice of single, etc. She may have felt that her entire image was out of her control. Unfortunately, appearance still matters more for women in the music industry.

  11. Well she said creative control. I thought when Gabby started to look more modest after she married Cade, it might hurt her but it didn’t. Laci does not look much different from many others and blends right in, so not sure why her image would be a problem.

  12. Yes, the single switch was a bad sign. However, I think “Shuffle” was the better single choice. It should have been the single choice from the beginning. I don’t know if it would have changed anything though. She did a long radio tour. None of the songs from her EP was connecting in sales, streaming, etc. The majority of the successful songs on radio the last several years are connecting in terms of sales, streaming, listeners, &/or all of these factors. In the current industry, generally the industry, labels, etc. look at those factors to make a lot of decisions. Laci wasn’t connecting & that wasn’t a good sign.

    I like Laci’s voice. While I preferred “Shuffle” as a single than her 1st single, I can’t say anything from her EP sounded like a radio hit. Honestly, I was a little disappointed because I can’t say any song “stood out.”

  13. I doubt her image was the main issue. From what I’ve seen, she has a typical image that many female country artists have. Besides single choice, I could see “creative control” meaning the type of sound/style in her music. Her EP was trying to be more mainstream country/country pop. The snippets she’s been posting isn’t that style. I don’t know how to describe the snippets, but it’s not music typical on country radio. A label having influence on an artist’s sound especially a new artist is pretty common & I could see that being part of the problem here.

  14. That actually makes me think she doesn’t know much about the industry since she was signed right away. Yes, her father is a Texas country artist. However, when I looked him up he self-releases his music. Her father would be able to have control to release what he wants. If Laci or any artist is signed to a label, generally they have to listen or do what they want especially if you’re a new artist.

  15. I mean I kinda feel the “creative control” thing sometimes is a cop out as I bet they wouldn’t be saying that if the single succeeded and she wasn’t dropped. I also can’t blame her for signing right away either as I’m sure there’s A LoT of artists in Nashville who would’ve taken that deal with a label like BMLG. Realistically they did more for her career than she probably would’ve done without them at this point. It just didn’t work out and I rather an artist say that. But also get she’s speaking up for other artist and women in the format who struggle with creative control. Don’t know what truly happened behind the scenes tho. But I agree with you on the kinda naivety I’m feeling with Laci and hope she can bounce back as it definitely is much harder after getting dropped the longer the time goes by.

  16. Thing too is that she was essentially signed on her unique voice and potential without having to create demos to get signed as they were the first (and only) label she met with after moving to Nashville and signed with them. I remember her manager Elissa being proud of her of how fast she got signed after moving to Nashville without even having demos (Other than her 5 track ep released before idol), having developed a larger network in Nashville so I’m actually surprised she thought they’d give her a ton of creative control. Itd be different if she came in there with a project and vision ready but they kept her in development for a while before releasing her ep.

  17. The problem I kinda have with Laci now getting dropped is that I don’t think she made enough imprint in the industry to get picked up by another major or strong indie (at least right now unless she somehow gets something to go viral). It’s not like her label didn’t put resources into her (those radio tours in themselves aren’t cheap at all and she went on a solid length one not even talking the recording, video and marketing costs. In reality I remember her having less than 10k Spotify listeners before getting signed and then maximum 100K or so during her ep release week. Now she’s at 50k which is still Better than what she was at before signing. I’m not sure how many fans And contacts she actually made during her time BMLG and that’s what worries me.

  18. Me too cause she has a vibe for sure. Truthfully, I don’t think the timing is right for her quite yet. I could actually see her coming back in a couple years with a more confident more folk country sound. She’s still young.

  19. Yes, I could see “creative control” sometimes as a cop out. However, I also don’t want artists to have a successful single that they don’t like or not the style they want to do either. There are established country artists that in their early careers tried a sound different from what they originally were doing. The song became successful & then the label started pushing them towards this new sound. Some embraced the new direction such as Luke Bryan. However, there are others who want to go back to their original sound, but the label continues to push them in the other direction.

    Again, we’re speculating that Laci wasn’t able to make the type of music she wanted. I’m just saying from listening to her EP & the new snippets they are different sounds. Sure, maybe she recently developed her sound. But from her “speaking out” about this I could see her knowing the type of music she wanted to do before, but compromising with the label to put out the music the label wanted (which many artists do to please the higher-ups).

  20. When you are with a major or successful label, as a new artist, you can make your wishes known but in the end they will have the last say. If you are successful they are happy. If not, they feel it is your fault and you may not survive. If you have success, make a name for yourself with a nice bank account, it is much easier to move on to more control and other opportunities. You may even get signed by another major or good indie label. If not, you may have creative control but control of what? Chances are it will be even harder to make it work when you are completely in charge. But that happens in all genres. It is not really easy for any of them.

  21. You right, BMLG doesn’t have a great streak at breaking female artists, I think the most success they’ve gotten recently was Calista Clark and I don’t think she broke the top 15 and hasn’t had any luck with a follow up radio wise or streaming wise. I think some of the female artists like Laci think of what they did with Taylor Swift and/Or Carly Pearce (who PAID her dues) and don’t do more research beyond that. AND/or they’re the only label that has interest in the artist so it’s BLMG or back on the grind building more buzz and leverage until a better deal presents itself.

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