The Songwriter Behind Keith Urban's 'Female'

Nov 12, 2017
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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

I'm Lulu Garcia-Navarro. Last week, Keith Urban debuted his new song "Female" at the Country Music Awards in Nashville. Some viewers called it Urban's response to the slew of sexual misconduct accusations in Hollywood. Nicolle Galyon is a Nashville songwriter who co-wrote the tune. And she says that the idea was brewing long before the scandals.

NICOLLE GALYON: One of my co-writers, Shane McAnally, walked in and just said, hey, got this title. I don't exactly know what to do with it, but it would just be a song called "Female." I do remember Shane had the idea or kind of like the mood of, like, the first line of the song. Like, how does it make you feel when someone says hit like a girl?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FEMALE")

KEITH URBAN: (Singing) When you hear somebody say somebody hits like a girl, how does that hit you? Is that such a bad thing?

GALYON: But then once the song was pretty much sess-ed out and almost written, I remember I was taking a break and kind of looking at it and going, oh, wow. This is really timely with everything that's going on around us. What's going on in the news right now has been going on forever.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FEMALE")

URBAN: (Singing) And somebody laughs and implies that she asked for it just 'cause she was wearing a skirt. Oh, is that how that works?

GALYON: Not only is it important that a man sing it, but it was important that Keith sing it because Keith is believable.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But Urban faced backlash after his performance. Some critics claimed that he was mansplaining feminism to women. Others took offense that the song uses the word female as a noun. Galyon, for one, is owning that word.

GALYON: I can only speak for myself. And I'm so freaking proud to be a female and to be called a female - feels more like a badge of honor to me.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FEMALE")

URBAN: (Singing) Secret keeper, fortune teller, Virgin Mary, scarlet letter, technicolor, river wild, baby, girl, woman, child, female. Female. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.