Seven months ago, Jill Pickering and Kate Rapier, an acclaimed singer/songwriter duo, best known as former background singers for Kelly Clarkson, blogged about a unfortunate experience they had on tour with a crew-member for a major male artist. Though they mentioned no names, they were promptly asked to remove what they had written by a higher-up in the artist’s camp because it could “reflect poorly on the personal life of our employer.” They took the post down, and ten days later… Jill and Kate were “abruptly fired.” They are now speaking out to deliver an important message to all women. We are honored to share their words here and do our part in amplifying their powerful voices.
Remember earlier this year when we asked you to rally with us against weight shaming to promote self-love and kindness? We posted a blog called “When Someone Calls You Huge” and it told an honest story about someone calling me (Kate) “huge” on a group text that the person didn’t know I was on. What you might not have noticed is that a few days after we posted the blog, we took it down. (We JUST re-posted it again yesterday after 7 months.) If you did read the blog (which you can now…HERE) you know that we made no mention of who this person was, what we were doing when this happened, etc. The entire point of the blog was kindness, forgiveness, no more weight shaming, and loving our awesome bodies! We encouraged people to not hold onto pant sizes or negative words and to be grateful for our ability to breathe, see, touch, smell, run, etc.
We now are going to tell you what happened to us after we posted that blog. This is the next part of the story.
We were singing for a male artist at the time and what we didn’t tell you was that the person who called me “huge” was a crew-member who we were on tour with. Two days after posting the blog, we were asked to remove it from our website because it could “reflect poorly on the personal life of our employer.” Confused. Baffled. Bothered. We didn’t get it. How could a blog about my weight affect my employer? But, okay…fine. Because we had great respect for our employer AND because ironically the blog was about kindness, we took it down.
Ten days after we took the blog down…we were abruptly fired.
No explanation. No warning. We received a 1 minute phone call telling us that all of a sudden “the organization is restructuring and no longer has a need for female singers.”
Yet, one week later, they hired…you guessed it, a new female singer.
Our original intent in writing the blog was to appeal to you (the reader) to encourage us all to stop the weight shaming, bullying, negative self-talk and to focus on better loving ourselves.
BUT NOW, OUR MESSAGE IS GETTING AN ADDITION: TO DO ALL OF THE ABOVE AND TO NOT BE AFRAID TO TELL YOUR STORY, EVEN IF IT COSTS YOU SOMETHING.
For us, it cost us our jobs. We had the rest of our year until November blocked off and in a moment–the entire year changed for us. We aren’t trying to badmouth anyone. We aren’t trying to start trouble. We’ve worked with and for some great men in this industry. This is not a post to bash men, it is simply to stand up as women, with women and for women to not let fear silence us from telling our stories, so that all of us together can make a change.
This has been a difficult year for us. There are more details than we can even share here with you and we haven’t shared any of this publicly until now. It’s been hard but we aren’t going to let the difficulties define the year. We are always encouraging people to share their experiences honestly and openly, and we felt that if we didn’t share this, we wouldn’t be following our own advice.
This is the amazing thing…the story is no longer about us or what has been the outcome of just our situation. This is bigger than us. We have the chance to be a voice for women everywhere who are afraid to stand up and tell their stories in fear that it may cost them something. Our voices are all stronger when they are banded together.
We have something that we’d love for you to do for us: Be kind the next time you don’t want to be. Don’t let fear hold you back from telling your story. Show love. Forgive quickly. Love yourself. Stand up against bullying. Against weight-shaming. Against any kind of discrimination. If you need someone who will listen, leave a comment or email us. We are all in this together. Our voices all deserve to be heard.
You are beautiful and worthy of love,
Jill and Kate
About The Authors
Driven by their own sensitive, well-rendered tunes and sterling vocal harmonies, Jill and Kate are a dynamic singing and songwriting duo with the pipes, poise, and personalities necessary to build an explosive career in their home base of Nashville, Tennessee. While Jill and Kate are best known as former background singers for award-winning vocalist, Kelly Clarkson, Jill Pickering and Kate Rapier have emerged from the background to become a forefronting pair.