Blake Shelton caught some heat after he debuted a new song on NBC’s New Year’s Eve special called “Minimum Wage.” There were some Twitter haters who got upset that a multimillionaire would be singing about what it’s like to live on $7.25 an hour, calling it “tone deaf.” But the 44-year-old says that it’s just a small, disgruntled group of people who haven’t paid attention to the lyrics of the song, which is about how even in financially tight times, love is what matters most of all. You can listen to it below:
Blake told CMT News‘ Alison Bonaguro in a Jan. 14 interview — hours before “Minimum Wage” drops as a single — that he wasn’t surprised by the initial backlash. “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.”
Sure enough Blake was right, as initially the song didn’t seem to offend people when he played it on TV on NYE. But a few days later once some people posted about it on Twitter, the topic of a rich man singing a song with the title “Minimum Wage” took off and ended up trending. Many people hadn’t even listened to the lyrics, yet still called the song “tone deaf” to the times.
“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,” Blake explained.
“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 continued, adding, “I believe this song is a great message and I’m proud of it.”
The song includes lyrics such as “Girl, lookin’ at you lookin’ at me that way // Can make a man feel rich on minimum wage,” and “Your daddy was cryin’ when he gave you away ‘Cause all those country songs I played // They didn’t come with a 401k, But hey, I had you.”
Blake says the first time he heard the demo for the song, he know he had to record it. Because he’d been there through years of tight financial times working minimum wage — or less! — trying to make it as a singer. “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,” the “God’s Country” singer explained.
“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,” Blake recalled, “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.” Blake’s new song “Minimum Wage” dropped at midnight on Jan. 15 across all streaming platforms. You can listen to it above.Click to Subscribe to Get Our Free HollywoodLife Daily Newsletter to get the hottest celeb news.