Katie Armiger has broken her silence about her lawsuit with her former record label Cold River Records. “I never quit country music. I haven’t spoken because I wasn’t able to,” Armiger says. “My label filed suit against me, but I kept hoping for an amicable solution. Now, everyone can see my response. The answer I filed with the federal court speaks for itself.” Armiger released four albums, charted seven singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, made national TV appearances, toured internationally, and saw her videos repeatedly voted by fans onto the GAC “Top 20 Countdown.” In mid-2015, the Texas native spoke enthusiastically about a forthcoming fifth album and a songwriting competition for female writers. Then, in what has been called one of the most curious events in recent country music history, Pete O’Heeron, the President of Cold River Records asserted that the young star had “decided to take a breather” from music. The label continued to release similar statements on Katie’s behalf through her social media accounts. She quickly disputed the announcement on Instagram, and also noted that she no longer had control of her Facebook and Twitter accounts. “I’ve worked hard and I’m proud of what I’ve done musically and personally,” Armiger says. “My label had expectations for how I should behave to get ahead, particularly how I should interact with influential men in the industry. I just wasn’t willing to take that approach. I wanted to make it with integrity and I still do. I know that there are good people in this business and particularly in country radio, and I’m so grateful to those who support my career and play my music.” Armiger’s experience is not unique. Just this month, the Los Angeles Times reported on the resignation of music publicist Heathcliff Berru from his company, Life or Death PR, in the wake of widespread allegations of sexual harassment.
In 2013, British songstress Charlotte Church was quoted as saying that the music industry demoralizes women. More recently, superstar Taylor Swift filed a lawsuit in the fall of 2015 against a Denver radio host whom she accused of groping her while posing for a photo. Swift has requested a jury trial, and says any money she might receive as a result of the lawsuit will be donated to charities that are “dedicated to protecting women from similar acts of sexual assault and personal disregard.” In 1991, the Los Angeles Times published an in-depth article about sexual harassment in the music industry. The subject was also the focus of a segment on ABC Television’s Prime Time Live, and Billboard Magazine published an article that included interviews with female and male record industry executives about the prevalence of sexual harassment in the industry. In May of 2015, Keith Hill made waves across the music industry by asserting that if you want to make ratings, take females out. The challenges against female recording artists are well documented. Armiger previously announced that she’ll be part of the It’s A Girl Thing Tour this year along with Jamie O’Neal, Hannah Blaylock and country newcomer Andrea Pearson. Katie will be available for interviews at the annual Country Radio Seminar (CRS) in Nashville in February. “I’m eager to share some new music very soon,” Armiger says. “I love country music. This is where I want to be.”