Natalie Maines
Maines in Austin, Texas, 2006
Maines in Austin, Texas, 2006
Background information
Birth nameNatalie Louise Maines
Also known asNatalie Pasdar
Born (1974-10-14) October 14, 1974 (age 48)
Lubbock, Texas, U.S.
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • bass
Years active1995–present
Member ofThe Chicks

Natalie Louise Maines[1] (born October 14, 1974)[2][3] is an American singer. She is the lead vocalist for the country band The Chicks.

In 1995, after leaving Berklee College of Music, Maines was recruited by the Dixie Chicks to replace their lead singer, Laura Lynch. With Maines as lead vocalist, the band earned 10 Country Music Association Awards and 13 Grammy Awards for their work between 1998 and 2007.

In 2006, with Maines still acting as lead singer, the Dixie Chicks released Taking the Long Way. The album subsequently won five Grammy Awards (including Album of the Year). The Chicks album Gaslighter was released on July 17, 2020. Maines released a solo album, Mother, on May 7, 2013.

Early life

Maines was born in Lubbock, Texas, to country musician and producer Lloyd Maines and Tina May Maines. She attended Nat Williams Elementary School in Lubbock, where her second grade teacher recalls being told by Maines during a math lesson, "Teacher, I don't need to learn this stuff—I'm gonna be a star."[1] Maines was a cheerleader while attending O. L. Slaton Junior High School,[1] and graduated in 1992 from Lubbock High School where she had participated in the school choir.[4] Maines has described growing up in conservative Texas, saying "I always rebelled against that. My parents sent me and my sister to public minority schools so I always felt like a hippie and a rebel. ... As a teenager I always loved not thinking in the way I knew the majority of people thought. I always stood up for minorities. ... I've always stood up for homosexuals. I just always had these really strong convictions about doing so."[5]

Following the completion of high school, Maines attended several colleges. She spent two semesters pursuing an undeclared major at West Texas A&M where her studies focused heavily on radio, then a year and a half at South Plains College. One of Maines's instructors at South Plains, and a former member of The Maines Brothers Band, Cary Banks, recalled "She was mostly into rock'n'roll, rhythm and blues ... alternative rock." When Banks encountered Maines on campus, he said that she usually needed to vent a little steam. "She would get into a lot of political arguments" at the predominantly Republican school, and was a fan of Texas Governor Ann Richards. "She's always been opinionated and hardheaded like her dad."[1] In December 1994, Maines auditioned for and received a full vocal scholarship to Berklee College of Music. She pursued the diploma program at Berklee but dropped out before the completion of her studies. Even though Maines is from Lubbock, home of Texas Tech University, she attended only one class at the school, a 1995 summer course in "Introductory Wildlife".[1]


Maines's first professional recording was lead vocals on the song "White Women's Clothes" on Andy Wilkinson's album "Charlie Goodnight's Life in Poetry and Song." Maines's first commercially released work was background vocals on Pat Green's debut album, Dancehall Dreamer, produced by her father Lloyd Maines and released in 1995. At the end of 1995, at age 21, Maines joined the all-female country music band, the Dixie Chicks, which had been performing since 1989, but which had been unsuccessful in gaining more than local attention. Maines replaced founding lead singer Laura Lynch. She plays guitar and bass in concert in the band.[6]

Maines co-wrote four tracks for the Dixie Chicks' first three albums, including the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart number one hit "Without You" on Fly. Maines was a primary songwriter on all 14 tracks of the band's 2006 album Taking the Long Way which peaked on the Billboard 200 chart at No. 1. Taking the Long Way has the Billboard Hot 100 single "Not Ready to Make Nice", (Maines, Strayer, Erwin, Wilson) hitting No. 4[7] and for which the band won the songwriting Grammy Award, for Song of the Year. Maines considers the songwriting she did for Taking the Long Way "pure therapy" after the controversy that ensued over a comment Maines made from the stage in London that criticized U.S. President George W. Bush.[8] "Everything felt more personal this time", Maines said about the album, "there's just more maturity, depth, intelligence. ... [These songs] feel more grown-up."[9]

Maines collaborates with other musical artists, both as a member of the Dixie Chicks and an individual singer. The Dixie Chicks first worked with Sheryl Crow in 1999 while performing for the concert tour Lilith Fair.[10] Since then, the Dixie Chicks have worked with Crow on her Sheryl Crow and Friends: Live from Central Park album, a Crow remixed version of "Landslide" performed by the Chicks, and the Dixie Chicks' song "Favorite Year" from Taking the Long Way. Maines has performed with artists including Pat Green, Charlie Robison, Yellowcard, Stevie Nicks, Patty Griffin, Neil Diamond, Eddie Vedder, Pete Yorn and Ben Harper.

Maines is a friend of Howard Stern and has made several appearances on his show.[11]

On May 7, 2013, Maines released a solo album entitled Mother.[12][13] This was Maines's first album since the Dixie Chicks hiatus started in 2007. The album was co-produced by Ben Harper. The album contains Maines's interpretation of several cover songs, including Pink Floyd's "Mother", Eddie Vedder's "Without You", and Jeff Buckley's "Lover, You Should've Come Over". She also sings about motherhood, feminism, and painful relationships.[12][13][14][15][16]

Philanthropic works

Maines has participated in various fundraising and awareness events. They include:


Feud with Toby Keith

Maines had a public feud with fellow country music superstar Toby Keith over the 2002 chart-topping country hit "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue", as well as a comment Maines made about U.S. President George W. Bush during a March 2003 Dixie Chicks concert in London.

Maines publicly criticized Keith's song "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue" by saying, "I hate it. It's ignorant, and it makes country music sound ignorant. It targets an entire culture—and not just the bad people who did bad things. You've got to have some tact. Anybody can write, 'We'll put a boot in your ass.'"[20] Keith responded by belittling Maines's songwriting skills with, "I'll bury her. She has never written anything that has been a hit"[21] and, "That's what I do—I write songs."[22]

After Maines commented at a March 2003 Dixie Chicks concert at the Shepherd's Bush Empire theatre in London that the Chicks didn't want the Iraq War and were "ashamed" President Bush "was from Texas", Keith's 2003 "Shock'n Y'all" tour began displaying a backdrop showing a doctored photo of Maines with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.[23] Shortly thereafter, on May 21, 2003, Maines wore a T-shirt with the letters "F.U.T.K." written on the front while performing for the Academy of Country Music Awards broadcast.[23] The Dixie Chicks website stated that the letters stood for "Freedom, United, Together in Kindness".[24] Some saw it as a veiled insult directed at Keith.[23]

In August 2003, Keith publicly declared that he was done feuding with Maines, explaining, "You know, a best friend of mine ... lost a two-year-old daughter to cancer. ... [Recently] I saw ... a picture of me and Natalie and it said, 'Fight to the Death' or something. It seemed so insignificant. I said, 'Enough is enough.' ... People try to make everything black and white. I didn't start this battle. They started it with me; they came out and just tore me up. One thing I've never, ever done, out of jealousy or anything else, is to bash another artist and their artistic license."[25]

In the 2006 documentary Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing, backstage footage prior to her appearance wearing the F.U.T.K. shirt recorded the conversation between Maines and Simon Renshaw and confirmed that the original intent of the shirt was in response to Keith's criticism of her: the letters stood for "Fuck You Toby Keith".[26] As of January 2007, Keith continued to refuse to say Maines's name and argues that the doctored photo was intended to express his feeling that Maines's criticism was tyrannical and a dictator-like attempt to squelch Keith's free speech.[27]

Iraq War criticism and aftermath

Main article: Dixie Chicks controversy

On March 10, 2003, nine days before the invasion of Iraq, the Dixie Chicks performed at the Shepherd's Bush Empire theater in London, England, UK. It was the first concert of their Top of the World Tour in support of their sixth album, Home.[28] Introducing their song "Travelin' Soldier", Maines told the audience the band they did not support the upcoming Allied invasion of Iraq and were "ashamed" that President George W. Bush was from Texas.[29][30]

Many American country music listeners supported the war, and Maines's remark triggered a backlash in the United States.[29] The Dixie Chicks were blacklisted by thousands of country radio stations,[31] and the band members received death threats.[32] Maines issued an apology, saying her remark had been disrespectful; in 2006 she rescinded the apology, saying she felt Bush deserved no respect.[31] The backlash damaged sales of their music and sales of their next album and tour.[33]

Maines performing with the Dixie Chicks during their "Accidents & Accusations Tour" December 4, 2006
Maines performing with the Dixie Chicks during their "Accidents & Accusations Tour" December 4, 2006

At the first US concert after Maines's comment, she said from the stage, "They told me that you may not come, but I knew you'd come because we have the greatest fans in the whole wide world."[34][35] Despite fan turnout at concerts, the Dixie Chicks began receiving death threats as circulation of the comment increased. Subsequently, security was heightened at all concert venues and metal detectors were installed where possible.[8][36] A death threat directed at Maines was received prior to the Chicks' concert of July 6, 2003, in Dallas, Texas. Maines described the threat as "scary because ... it wasn't just somebody wanting to write a hate letter. ... It was somebody who obviously thought they had a plan." Security was heightened for the trip to and from the concert venue as well as at the arena.[37]

On May 21, 2006, while promoting the release of the album Taking the Long Way, Maines recanted her 2003 apology to President Bush, saying, "I don't feel that way anymore. I don't feel he is owed any respect whatsoever. ... If people are going to ask me to apologize based on who I am ... I don't know what to do about that. I can't change who I am."[38]

Maines says she is not looking for more battles but that "The Incident," as it is referred to by the Chicks, reminded her of how she "felt in high school: to be angry, to be sure that you're right and that the things you do matter. You don't realize that you're not feeling those feelings until you do. And then you realize how much more interesting life is."[38]

Two 2006 documentaries, Protesting the Dixie Chicks and Shut Up And Sing, deal with the controversy surrounding Maines's comment and the ensuing fallout. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph on June 15, 2006, regarding the fallout from her comment, Maines again stirred up controversy by stating:

The entire country may disagree with me, but I don't understand the necessity for patriotism; Why do you have to be a patriot? About what? This land is our land? Why? You can like where you live and like your life, but as for loving the whole country ... I don't see why people care about patriotism.[39]

In 2007, the Dixie Chicks won three Grammys for "Not Ready to Make Nice" and two Grammys for Taking the Long Way, receiving all five Grammys for which they were nominated. This was seen by some as vindication for the Dixie Chicks, who were shunned by country radio programmers after Maines's remarks about President Bush. As the Dixie Chicks accepted the album of the year award, Maines said, "I think people are using their freedom of speech with all these awards. We get the message."[40]

West Memphis Three lawsuit

Maines and other members of The Chicks participated in a rally in Little Rock, Arkansas, in late 2007, in support of the West Memphis Three, three imprisoned men convicted of the 1993 murder of three young boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. At the rally, Maines made statements claiming new DNA evidence implicated Terry Hobbs, stepfather of one of the slain boys, and also posted a note about the presumed new evidence on the Dixie Chicks' website.[41] Hobbs responded by filing a lawsuit claiming compensatory and punitive damages for "loss of income, injury to his reputation and emotional distress."[42][43] The suit was dismissed, however, in December 2009.[44] On August 19, 2011, Maines joined with Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder in Jonesboro, Arkansas, supporting the release of the West Memphis Three.[45]

Personal life

Maines in Glasgow 2003
Maines in Glasgow 2003

In 1997, Maines married her South Plains College boyfriend, bassist Michael Tarabay, and the couple moved to Nashville, Tennessee. Within two years they filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences.[1]

Maines met actor Adrian Pasdar in May 1999 at the wedding of bandmate Emily Erwin to Charlie Robison. Maines and Pasdar married on June 24, 2000, at A Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas.[46][47][48] They have two sons.[49] During her marriage, Maines referred to herself as Natalie Pasdar.[26] Maines filed for divorce in July 2017; it was finalized in December 2019.[50] The events leading to her divorce inspired multiple songs on the 2020 album Gaslighter.[51]

Maines listens to Howard Stern and is a fan of his Wack Pack.[52]

Maines practices transcendental meditation.[53]


The Chicks

Main article: The Chicks discography


Studio albums

Title Details Peak chart positions
US Digital
US Rock
US Taste
  • Release date: May 7, 2013
  • Label: Sony
17 10 4 7 50


Year Single Album
2013 "Without You" Mother

Music videos

Year Video
2013 "Without You"

Other appearances

List of guest appearances, with other performing artists, showing year released and album name
Title Year Other artist(s) Album
"White Women's Clothes" 1994 none Charlie Goodnight: His Life In Poetry And Song
"Dancehall Dreamer" 1995 Pat Green Dancehall Dreamer
"Snowing on Raton" 1997 George's Bar
"The Wedding Song" 2001 Charlie Robison Step Right Up
"Too Far From Texas" Stevie Nicks Trouble in Shangri-La
"Abilene" 2002 Sheryl Crow C'mon, C'mon
"El Cerrito Place" 2004 Charlie Robison Good Times
"Mary" 2005 Patty Griffin Songs for Tsunami Relief: Austin to South Asia
"How I Go" 2006 Yellowcard Lights and Sounds
"The Man" Pete Yorn Nightcrawler
"Don't Mean Nothing" Westerns EP
"Another Day (That Time Forgot)" 2008 Neil Diamond Home Before Dark
"God Only Knows" 2011 none Big Love
"Golden State (Live)" 2012 Eddie Vedder Golden State (Live)
"Mother" 2013 none West of Memphis: Voices for Justice
"Love Without Fear" 2014 Dan Wilson Love Without Fear
"Too Much"
"The Wayfaring Stranger" 2015 Robert Earl Keen Happy Prisoner: The Bluegrass Sessions
"Who I Want You To Love" Bleachers Terrible Thrills, Vol. 2
"Knockin' At My Door" 2016 Smooth Hound Smith Sweet Tennessee Honey
"The Boots That Got Us There"


The Chicks

Main article: List of awards and nominations received by The Chicks



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