Beyoncé says that her upcoming album, Cowboy Carter, was inspired by the chilly response she received from the country music industry during an early venture into the genre years ago.

On social media, the pop monolith has kicked off a "10-day countdown" until Cowboy Carter's release date by digging deeper into how, and why, the project came to be.

"This album has been over five years in the making," Beyoncé writes. "It was born out of an experience that I had years ago where I did not feel welcomed ... and it was very clear that I wasn't."

That experience, and the history of country music more broadly, continued to weigh on her mind. Beyoncé says she did a "deeper dive" into the complicated history of country music.

As a finished product, the singer says, Cowboy Carter isn't just her spin on country music: It traces the evolution of her getting to know the genre, and pushing past the "limitations" it placed on her.

"I hope this music is an experience, creating another journey where you can close your eyes, start from the beginning and never stop," Beyoncé continues, explaining that she envisions it as a continuation of her Renaissance project. "... This ain't a country album. This is a Beyoncé album."

The star doesn't specify the details of that first experience that made her feel unwelcome in country music, but it's a fair guess that she might be referring to her surprise performance at the 2016 CMA Awards, where she sang "Daddy Lessons" — a track off her Lemonade album — with her fellow Texans, the Chicks.

Responses to her performance were mixed. Plenty of fans called it a highlight of the awards show, but the Chicks' frontwoman Natalie Maines subsequently said she'd fielded some unwelcoming comments from "racist a--holes." One unnamed manager also alleged to Billboard that he saw Alan Jackson walk out of his front row seat in protest of Beyoncé's performance, although the evidence that that ever happened is pretty slim.

Related: Alan Jackson, Beyoncé and the CMA Protest That Never Happened

Whether or not Jackson ever walked out on Beyoncé, it's incontrovertible that plenty of country listeners have questioned her legitimacy within the genre, both back in 2016 and ahead of her 2024 album release.

However, after she released the first two songs off the project, "Texas Hold 'Em" and "16 Carriages," multiple country artists have expressed enthusiasm for a Beyoncé country album, including Lainey Wilson, Tyler Hubbard and the legendary Dolly Parton.

Parton has even hinted that Beyoncé might be planning to cover "Jolene" on the album's tracklist. The pop superstar has yet to confirm or deny that story, though she did say that Cowboy Carter includes some exciting collaborative moments.

"I have a few surprises on the album, and have collaborated with some brilliant artists who I deeply respect," she writes. "I hope that you can hear my heart and soul, and all the love and passion that I poured into every detail and every sound."

Act II: Cowboy Carter is due to arrive on March 29.

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Gallery Credit: Carena Liptak

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