American country singer Kirstie Kraus has defended Beyonce moving into the country space, saying “why give anyone backlash for putting out music that they want to”.

US pop superstar Beyonce released Act II: Cowboy Carter on Friday, her country-inspired album which features duets with Miley Cyrus and Post Malone, as well as a cover of Dolly Parton’s classic Jolene.

However, her foray into the genre had previously received pushback, with the singer revealing that the experience of not being made to “feel welcome” drove her to create the record.

Ahead of the album’s release, the Texas-born star said in a social media post: “This album has been over five years in the making. 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.

“But, because of that experience, I did a deeper dive into the history of Country music and studied our rich musical archive.”

Many have taken this as a nod to the backlash she received by some online after performing with US country band The Chicks at the 2016 Country Music Awards.

Beyonce added in the post: “The criticisms I faced when I first entered this genre forced me to propel past the limitations that were put on me.

“Act ii is a result of challenging myself, and taking my time to bend and blend genres together to create this body of work.”

Speaking on BBC Breakfast on Friday about some of the backlash, Nashville-based singer Kraus said: “It does make me a little sad. I think every artist should do what music speaks to them.

“Beyonce is from Texas so she’s representing where she’s from. It’s not like she didn’t grow up in Texas and hear country music and be influenced by it.

“She’s just evolving as an artist so why give anyone backlash or shame them for putting out music that they want to.”

The country star recalled hearing criticism directed to Beyonce after she released the album’s first two singles – Texas Hold ’Em and 16 Carriages – which dropped on the day of the Super Bowl and beckoned in the singer’s country era.

She said: “I’m based out of Nashville… and what I hear when she released her first two singles in anticipation of this album, it was very much like ‘What, Beyonce is coming over now? What is this? This isn’t storytelling. This isn’t the right instruments’.”

The singer noted that she has also heard comments on the opposite side of the spectrum with the singer praised as the “Queen B”.

Kraus, who has performed at the UK music festival Country 2 Country for the past two years, hailed Beyonce’s move into the country sphere as “really smart”.

“There has been a lot of artists that have gone from country to pop, like Taylor Swift, but not as many that go from R&B, soul or pop to country so this is a whole movement,” she added.

After releasing Texas Hold Em’, Beyonce became the first black woman to top Billboard’s country music chart and she topped the UK singles charts for the first time in almost 14 years.

Kraus feels the album will also experience similar success and would not be surprised if Beyonce gets called to perform at the Grand Ole Opry, the famous Nashville music hall.

“I think it’s going to literally be the talk for months,” she said.

“The fact that Texas Hold Em’ sat on the charts for weeks… This album is not going to go away.

“This is her biggest hit in a while so this is going to be really celebrated. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s making appearances at the Opry.”