Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Target

Maren Morris won Variety Hitmakers’ Changemaker of the Year award after years of using her country music career to promote inclusivity, especially for people of color and LGBTQ+ people.

That push has required clashing with some of country music’s biggest artists and becoming a vocal progressive in Nashville’s conservative political climate.

“You don’t fight for what you don’t love,” Morris says over Zoom from her Nashville home while her son Hayes naps. “I do all of this to improve it for everyone, not just the few.” “I’m not getting out of Dodge. I love living in Nashville, and I don’t consider myself an expat of country music,” she says. “There’s so many amazing people here making music that matters. I’m a piece of this town, and I want to make it better in the same ways I want the music industry to be better.”