Roberta Lea Gives Global Voice to Misogyny with “Too Much of a Woman”: Exclusive Interview

Roberta Lea is fed up with misogyny, which she channels into her new single, “Too Much of a Woman.”

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The idea for the song came to Lea while standing in line at the gate at the airport about to board a flight. “Too Much of a Woman” soon became a proclamation of standing unapologetically in her power as a woman.

“I feel like women’s experiences, there’s this tension that’s always happening around who we are,” Lea expresses to American Songwriter of how the song title came to her when she was in a “meditative” state of mind. “It feels like all of the experiences that I had finally made their way out, flashing back to all of the times where I had to deal with misogyny or the ego of men and their patriarchy. It felt like I was finally coming to relief that, ‘It wasn’t me, I’m not the problem.’” 

The Virginia native recalls one of her many experiences with misogyny. When she was a child at a water park the adult male family member she was with pointed out that a young boy was looking at her and commented, “We have to find a better bathing suit for you.”

Lea brings a global perspective to the issue of sexism through “Too Much of a Woman as she also channeled the stories shared with her by many women around the world. One story includes a friend and fellow country singer from Iran. As protests have broken out across the country to fight against a law that requires women to cover their hair, women now take to the streets and openly cut their hair in defiance. Lea’s friend in Vietnam who’s also a singer is facing her own set of challenges, telling Lea how after having a baby, she was considered “too big” by her country’s beauty standards. Booking agents now request that she send photos to decide whether or not they want to book her. 

“We really think that the misogyny is far removed from culture, but it’s not,” Lea attests. “The female experience is in my face 24/7 where I can see that it’s 100 times worse in other places and there’s a lack of progress. So I feel like now, my songwriting is so much more informed.

“This is a global issue as to how women have been treated for so long, and now as a songwriter, I get to broaden that take. It also confirms it for me to know I’m not just whining and complaining about my own perspective, but this is global. This is much wider than me, it’s much bigger than me.” 

The Black Opry member gives these women, and many others like them around the world, a voice through “Too Much of a Woman.” The lyrics find her refusing to stay silent or back down as she sings of bruised male egos, unattainable standards women are held to that they can’t “measure up” to and vowing to “break the silence.” If I’m too much of a woman / You can kindly step aside / A true king can handle me / He’s got what it takes inside / Well I hate to disappoint you / By now you should understand / If I’m too much of a woman / You’re too little of a man, she chants in the chorus. 

The 2023 CMT Next Women of Country inductee enlisted an all-female team of musicians to help her share this empowering message. Written and produced solely by Lea, she called on her friend and Brandy Clark’s bassist, Vanessa McGowan, to play bass on the track. Ellen Angelico plays lap steel guitar, drummer Megan Jane, who’s played in Brittney Spencer’s band, and Jackie Venson on electric guitar. Lea released an acoustic version of “Too Much of a Woman” in 2022 and when she shared it with the musicians, along with her desire to have an all-female band play on the studio version, they leaped at the opportunity.

“Their response to the song was not only professional, but it was personal,” Lea explains, praising how it was “so easy” to work with a team of women. “It spoke to them. Everyone is supportive of the moment, everyone supports the message and they’re willing to give 100 percent to make it come to fruition. I felt like for the spirit of that song, it was important to have every single instrumentation, line, phrase to represent the voices of women across the world and I felt like that’s what we were able to do.” 

Lea cites the tagline of the chorus if I’m too much of a woman / Then you’re too little of a man as the most personal line in the song. It connects to her realization that she’s not always the one at fault when it comes to misogyny, even when she’s tried to convince herself otherwise.

“It’s meant to just dagger,” she says of the line’s meaning. “I feel like that line gives the exact impact that I needed it to. It’s that sentiment where we all have that moment where it dawns on us, ‘It’s not always me. Maybe it has something to do with your ego and your insecurities.’” 

Another part of the song that stands out is the bridge where she speaks from the heart singing, trying to appease you / Have me out of my mind / I won’t let it happen this time that leads into Venson’s guitar solo. The lines were inspired by the many conservations Lea’s had particularly with women who’ve had to “sacrifice their careers” to support their husbands in the military, representing the stereotype that women are expected to support men and their goals.

“It’s a preconceived notion and the social construct that we are to appease them,” she explains of the meaning of the lyrics. “The narrative has always been we drop everything–we drop our lives, our dreams, our goals–and we appease him.” 

No longer aiming to please, Lea has her sights set on her upcoming debut album that she is co-producing and hopes to hire an all-female team to help her record it. She’s leading the charge with “Too Much of a Woman,” Lea hoping that it empowers the women who hear it to take action in their lives and stand firmly in their power. 

“I hope it gives whoever she is the confidence to walk away from a situation that’s not serving her,” Lea proclaims of how she hopes the song impacts listeners. “I hope it gives her clarity in a situation that has nothing to do with her like, ‘It actually is not me. I’m showing up, I’m being 100 percent’ and she can live without that burden on her shoulders.

“I hope that it frees women from carrying that weight of male ego, of having to appease and keep things calm, stay in your place and don’t ruffle the feathers or rock the boat out,” she concludes. “I hope it frees women to rock the boat.” 

“Too Much of a Woman” will be officially released on Friday (March 24). Follow Lea on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok for more information. 

Photo Credit: Christal Marshall/Courtesy of Roberta Lea

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