May 2

Take A Look at The Top Female Country Singers From Then and Now


Female country singers definitely know how to rule! 

From music legends like Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton to the hottest women in country music like Maren Morris and Kacey Musgraves – let’s get to know these women who are bringing down the house in this male-dominated genre.

Modern Female Country Singers

Miranda Lambert

Her full-length debut, “Kerosene”, released in the spring of 2005 and her 2007 sophomore set Crazy Ex-Girlfriend helped Lambert to earn her place as one of the greatest country artists of all time.

Carrie Underwood

Underwood was one of the greatest female country singers to emerge in the post-Shania Twain era. Her breakthrough single, “Jesus Take the Wheel,” won Single Record of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards. 

But not only that, it also took home Breakthrough Video and Best Female Video at the CMT Awards, making her the only double winner at the event.

Kacey Musgraves

What makes Musgraves one of the best female new country singers is that she was able to bent country tradition to her will. She wrote songs that evoked the sound of the classic country at the same time, infused it with progressive ideas that reflect her millennial perspective. 

“Merry Go Round” and “Follow Your Arrow,” are the big singles from her 2013 major-label debut.

Clare Dunn

Dunn earned her breakout success through the four singles she released, especially 2015’s ‘Move On,’ which hit radio playlists and was highly praised by Dierks Bentley, among others. Her full-length debut will be released later this year, and we bet it could be a game-changer for the new generation of female country singers.

Kelsea Ballerini

In 2017 Grammy Awards, she was nominated for Best New Artist. She is best known for tracks like “Peter Pan” and “Love Me Like You Mean It.” Her album titled, “Kelsea,” appeared in March 2020, and it debuted at No. 2 on Billboard’s Country Chart and No. 12 on its Top 200.

Hillary Scott

Hillary Scott, the vocalist of Lady Antebellum, is the daughter of country music singer Linda Davis and she’s making a name of her own. Lady Antebellum won five awards at the 53rd Grammy Awards; this includes  Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year for the single”Need You Now.”

Lauren Alaina

American Idol Season 10 runner up, Lauren Alaina, has toured with Sugarland and Jason Aldean. In 2017, she released her second album, “Road Less Traveled.” The album landed at number 31 on the Billboard 200 and number three on the Top Country Albums chart.

Marren Morris

With her 2016 debut album “Hero” along with her hit single “My Church,” the young country singer helped push country music into the 21st century. “My Church,” quickly went viral in 2015 and amassed more than 2.5 million streams within a month. Not only that, but it was also able to get the attention of major labels.

Cassadee Pope

She rose in popularity after winning “The Voice” in December 2012. In 2018, she did not only release her single “Take You Home,” but she also returned to The Voice to work as an advisor to coach Kelly Clarkson’s team.

Taylor Swift

Though she has already moved on to pop, we can’t deny the fact that Swift made huge waves for the country music genre. The superstar is one of the best-selling artists of all time. She has sold over 40 million albums all over the globe. 

Swift currently has 10 Grammy awards, 21 Billboard Music Awards, 11 Country Music Association awards, and 8 Academy of Country Music awards.

Female Country Singers of ’90s

Shania Twain

She is the reigning queen of ’90s country. Her 1997 hit song “Come On Over” dominated international charts for years and became the bestselling album by a female singer in any genre ever.

LeAnn Rimes

Rimes became a country sensation at just 13 years old, a little girl with a big voice. She got into the game in 1996 and set the record of being the only artist ever to have an album debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, Top Country Albums, and Contemporary Christian charts simultaneously.

Trisha Yearwood

She had an incredible amount of chart success from the albums she’s released backed in the ’90s. Her 1991 debut single “She’s in Love With the Boy” went straight to No. 1 while her hit “How Do I Live” enjoyed country radio success in 1997. 

Overall, she has 16 singles that have cracked the top ten of the Billboard Country Airplay charts.

Dixie Chicks

Dixie Chicks, composed of Emily Robison, Natalie Maines, and Martie Maguire, is definitely the perfect country girl group. They are well-loved for being fearless and insanely talented.

Their two albums from 1998 to 1999 sold so well at 10 million units each, making them the first female group and the only country group ever to earn back-to-back Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) diamond awards.

Deana Carter

Carter debut album, “Did I Shave My Legs for This?” boasted six songs co-written by Carter herself. It was released to strong reviews in the late summer of 1996, and by the end of the year, the album soared to the upper reaches of the country charts.

“Strawberry Wine,” went to number one along with “We Danced Anyway” on the Billboard Country Airplay chart.

Faith Hill

This superstar country singer who combined her Cover Girl looks with a big, powerful voice. She first came into Music City swinging with her 1993 debut album “Take Me As I Am,” which reproduced three No. 1 singles. 

Ever since then, Hill has continued to prove herself as one of the country’s most impressive female country singer of ’90s.

Martina McBride

She rose to stardom only in the late ’90s, yet she became one of the biggest voices in country music and a household name in this decade; thanks to her poignant tracks like “Independence Day” and fun tunes like “My Baby Loves Me.”

Terri Clark

She came storming out of Canada to capture the attention of America’s country music industry in the mid-’90s. All of her albums released in the decade cracked the Billboard Top Country Albums charts.

Her self-titled debut was released in 1995 and eventually rose up to No.13 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. Clark followed it with several more hit records.

Sara Evans

After the release of her debut album, “Three Chords and the Truth,” in July 1997, Evans got special honor for being personally selected by George Jones to open a special show in Nashville. “No Place That Far” followed a year later and broke into the U.S. pop charts and eventually reached gold certification.

Lee Ann Womack

As the genre was getting more pop, Womack set herself apart by taking on a more traditional country sound. She slayed with her three singles from her 1997 self-titled debut. “You’ve Got To Talk To Me” and “The Fool” peaked at number two on the Billboard Country Airplay chart.

Female Country Singers of ’80s

Reba McEntire

The ‘80s are definitely McEntire’s decade. She took home the CMA for Female Vocalist of the Year for four years running starting in 1984. In 1986, McEntire joined the Grand Ole Opry cast, while in 1987, she performed a sold-out concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall that only a few country stars could do.

Rosanne Cash

With songs like “Seven Year Ache” and a rendition of her father, Johnny Cash’s “Tennessee Flat Top Box,” Rosanne Cash ruled 1980s country radio. Several more albums followed, and she won a Grammy in 1985 for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for her single “I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me.”

Shelly West

The daughter of the legendary Dottie West was a famous singer of pop-flavored country tunes during the 1980s. Between 1984 and 1986, West had a string of solo successes, including “Don’t Make Me Wait on the Moon” and “Somebody Buy This Cowgirl a Beer.”

K.T. Oslin

With her slick, synthesizer-based sound and feisty, feminist lyrical themes, Oslin became one of the most popular female country singers for a short time in the late ’80s. 

She debuted in 1987 with 80’s Ladies, which became her breakthrough album and won her a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal. The follow-up singles, “Do Ya” and “I’ll Always Come Back,” both hit No. 1.

Patty Loveless

She rose to stardom thanks to her blend country-rock and emotional ballad style. Her late-’80s records for MCA were generally quite popular, with hits “Lonely Days, Lonely Nights,” and “If My Heart Had Windows.”

In late 1988, she released the follow-up album, “Honky Tonk Angel,” which made her a star.

Holly Dunn

Her single, “Daddy’s Hands,” from her first album was an instant hit. The song peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard U.S. Hot Country Songs chart and stayed on the charts for six months. From there, Dunn was unstoppable; the hits just kept on coming.

Her first number one hit with “Are You Ever Gonna Love Me” and followed that up with “There Goes My Heart Again.”

Juice Newton

When she released her breakthrough album, Juice, in early 1981, it quickly became a crossover hit. Her first single from the record, “Angel of the Morning,” peaked No. 4 on the pop charts, and landed in 22 other country charts. “Queen of Hearts” was even a bigger hit, entering number two on the pop charts and number 14 on the country charts.

Charly McClain

Ever since she hit the country’s Top Ten for the first time in 1978 with “That’s What You Do to Me,” she never stopped soaring for the next decade and proved to be an incredible female country singer of ’80s. Her song Who’s Cheatin’ Who,” hit the top spot one.” She stayed in the upper reaches for the following years with “Dancing Your Memory Away,” “The Very Best Is You,” and so much more.

The Judds

They are absolutely one of the most successful superstar duos of all time, the mother-daughter tandem of Naomi and Wynonna Judd kept country music tradition alive. The duo’s most beloved top country hits, including “Mama He’s Crazy,” “Why Not Me,” and “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days),” changed the face of modern country music for female artists and fans.

Kathy Mattea

Mattea is one of the most respected female country singers of her era. Her rendition of Nanci Griffith’s “Love at the Five and Dime” was her first Top Five hit, and the record led to three other Top Tens including “Train of Memories” and “You’re the Power.” 

Female Country Singers of ’70s

Loretta Lynn

Lynn has established herself as a powerhouse of country music in the 1970s. She was the first woman to win the CMA Awards’ Female Vocalist of the Year and the first woman in country music to score a gold album.

She produced songs that were equally successful and controversial, such as “Rated X” and “The Pill.”

Dolly Parton

After her minor success in the late 1960s, Parton charted her first No. 1 single, “Joshua,” in 1971. Ever since then, she never stopped soaring high. She produced some of her best-known songs during this decade, like “Jolene” (1973) and “I Will Always Love You” (1974).

In the latter half of the 1970s, Parton charted eight more No. 1 hits, launched her own televised variety show, and took home a trophy from Grammy Awards.

Dottie West

Thanks to the song, “Country Sunshine,” for a Coca-Cola commercial, West was able to re-launched her career and eventually became one of the leading female country singers of ’70s. The song became a No. 2 hit in 1973 and even helped her get two Grammy nominations.

Tammy Wynette

Wynette would not be known as First Lady of Country Music for nothing. She had more than 20 No. 1 hit, though she’s still most widely remembered for signature songs of the early ’70s, such as “I Don’t Wanna Play House” and ” Til I Can Make It on My Own.”

Her biggest hit, “Stand By Your Man,” has had an incredible lifespan too. It stayed No. 1 on the U.S. country charts for three weeks.

Barbara Mandrell

With a career spanning nearly four decades, Barbara Mandrell achieved legendary status in country music. She had recorded over 30 albums with major hits including “Sleeping Single in a Double Bed” and “(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want to Be Right.” 

Mandrell has won over 75 major awards, including the very coveted Entertainer of the Year from the Country Music Association for two years running.

Lynn Anderson

Anderson was best known for her Grammy-winning smash, “Rose Garden,” that landed her the Best Female Country Vocal. The song topped the country charts and proved a hit in 15 countries.

She racked up 14 more Top Ten hits on the country charts in 1974; this includes the No. 1s  “How Can I Unlove You,” “You’re My Man,” “Keep Me in Mind,” and “What a Man, My Man Is.”

Tanya Tucker

Tanya Tucker songs have caught the attention of country music fans ever since she took “Delta Dawn” to the top of the country music charts at age 13. Her ability to sing heartbreak and lovesick blues with the power and conviction of a grown woman is truly undeniable.

Donna Fargo

She was considered to be an unusual country star in the early ‘70s for a couple of reasons. Fargo was among the few female country singers to write her own material, and one of the few country singers cross over to the pop charts in a big way, which she did in 1972 with songs “The Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A.” and “Funny Face.”

Crystal Gayle

She is one of the most popular and widely recognized female country singers of her era. She had a breakthrough success with a string of hits, like “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” and “I’ll Get Over You,” that lasted for approximately the next decade. 

Her album, “Must Believe in Magic,” became the first by a female country artist ever to go platinum.

Sammy Smith

Her husky, soulful voice definitely helped her score several massive hits in the early 70s, including “Help Me Make It Through The Night,” “Then You Walk In,” and “Today I Started Loving You Again.”

Country music is said to be a male-dominated industry. But if you’ll take a look over the past decades, we can really tell the role of women in country music has dramatically changed. And we will just have to wait and see if this trend can ever be broken.


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