Darius Rucker Talks About The Racism He Still Faces In Country Radio

Darius Rucker is opening up about his path to country music stardom and reveals it hasn’t been an easy one.

The 54-year-old “Wagon Wheel” singer, and former Hootie & The Blowfish frontman, spoke to People about how his journey to get airplay on country stations was met with racism.

“I’m still trying to get on the radio, you know?” he shared. “It’s that point where I don’t even see it like [I’m a ‘big deal’]. I’m begging. I’m still putting out this song, which is a smash hit, and watching it slosh its way up the charts like everybody else. You’re praying that it does something, and it’s still the same thing. So, I still don’t feel like I’ve made it …”

Darius added that “a lot of the bigger stars don’t have to call every radio station.”

“I still got to be on every radio station. I still got to do all the work, and do all the stuff that you have to do to get your song to move the charts. So I just feel like every time I put out a single, I feel like I’m starting over.”

Darius recounted some of the things he’s been told while making country music and how stations were hesitant to put him on air.

“I’d just come from the Hootie thing, and so, when I came here and said I would do a radio tour, they were all excited,” he says. “I was doing what my label wanted me to do. I guess I hadn’t had any hits. So I wasn’t really thinking about the Black country singer thing … I wanted people to play my music for my music. If you like the song, please play it. If not, don’t. Don’t play it because I’m Black, and please don’t not play it because I’m Black.”

“The first time I walked into [a country radio station] — nobody said they wouldn’t play it,” Darius added. “What was said was, ‘I don’t think my audience will accept a Black country singer.’ Just like that. ‘I love the song. I think it’s country. Love it. I’m going to play it tomorrow, but I don’t think my audience will accept a Black country singer.’ I go, ‘Wow. Really? I thought music was notes and words and chords. I didn’t know music was color. I found that out today.’”

Darius is set to host the upcoming 2020 CMA Awards with Reba McEntire.

See all the nominations here!

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