Reba McEntire’s New ‘I’m a Survivor’ Remix Is ‘Historically Unprecedented,’ Says Collaborator
Ahead of the release of her Revived Remixed Revisited triple album, which will give new life to some of her greatest hits, Reba McEntire has shared a few of the project's songs — including a "historically unprecedented" remix of her classic song "I'm a Survivor."
"It is a historically unprecedented thing for two trans women to have prominent production roles like this on a country music single," Mya Byrne shares. The singer-songwriter, who is trans and queer, plays lap steel on the song, remixed by LeahAnn "Lafemmebear" Mitchell, a Grammy-nominated producer who is also trans. The two are frequent collaborators, and were brought onboard for the project at the suggestion of Apple Music Country's Proud Radio host Hunter Kelly.
“Hunter was looking for Black queer artists to know about, and [Mya] put him on to my projects,” Lafemmebear recently told Country Queer. “Reba's label, UMG, was looking for a Black femme producer to remix a record for Reba, and he looked all over and couldn’t find anyone — until he remembered that Mya had told him about me."
Lafemmebear, in turn, enlisted Byrne, who was more than happy to play on the song.
"Lafemmebear is an incredibly affirming person to work with, which is a lovely thing when you're a trans and queer person," Byrne says. "She's one of the most quality-oriented engineer/producers I've ever worked with. She doesn't take shortcuts, and I appreciate that about her. She trusted that I'd bring the same level of performance and quality to Reba's song."
Byrne, who splits her time between Nashville, New York City and San Francisco and is currently working on a new album, admits that she was overwhelmed to have the opportunity to work on an official project with McEntire, a country music legend.
"She's a great representation of strong, independent women," Byrne says, "and her willingness to walk the edge of what's 'wholesome' in country music and her embracing multiple genres in her own sound has helped give me assurance that I can do it, too."
For Lafemmebear — who released a solo album in 2019 — the remix was also an opportunity to connect to her childhood through music. “I create what I do from my feelings and my childhood, and the lyrics in part resonated with me and my relationship with and my admiration of my mother,” she tells CQ.
Originally a 2001 single from Greatest Hits Volume III: I'm a Survivor, "I'm a Survivor" was the theme song for McEntire's sitcom Reba, and a Top 5 country single. More recently, it's become the soundtrack to a viral TikTok trend.
McEntire's Revived Remixed Revisited is due out on Oct. 8.
Reba McEntire Pictures Through the Years: