Katie Armiger has opened up about the mysterious circumstances concerning her sudden "disappearance" from the country scene.
The 24-year-old singer from Sugarland, Texas charted 5 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and released 4 albums on independent label Cold River Records -- before label president Pete O'Heeron released a statement in June 2015 saying Armiger "has decided to take a breather and decide her next career aspirations."
Armiger immediately fired back in an Instagram post, saying those were not her words nor her intentions. Posts from Armiger's Facebook and Twitter pages were removed by the label, but Armiger controlled her own Instagram.
Now, over half a year later, Armiger has released a statement about the sudden departure.
In it, she says her label was refusing to let her speak out and that they had filed a lawsuit against her, while she insinuates they wanted her to engage in behavior that would constitute sexual harassment in order to advance her career:
"I've worked hard and I'm proud of what I've done musically and personally. My label had expectations for how I should behave to get ahead--particularly how I should interact with influential men in the industry. I just wasn't willing to take that approach. I wanted to make it with integrity and I still do. I know that there are good people in this business and particularly in country radio, and I'm so grateful to those who support my career and play my music. I didn't think I should have to do the things my label wanted me to do to make it.' It should be about the music."
O'Heeron fired back with his own harsh statement, saying the accusations were false and that she was attacking Cold River Records for publicity to advance her own career. He said that Armiger's team has been lobbying for her to become Country Weekly's "Hottest Bachelorette," which is paradoxical to her alleging the label asked her to leverage her sexuality on industry men. However, O'Heeron seems to be confusing the difference between focusing on image and encouraging sexual harassment.
For now, Armiger says she's excited to get back to music and that new projects are on the horizon. While much of her music has been taken down by the label, fans have still uploaded her songs for people to hear. Check out one of her breakthrough performances, "Safe", below.