Despite the lack of exposure of female country artists in radio airplay, they surely dominated the ’90s era. Female singers like Trisha Yearwood, Shania Twain, Faith Hill, Martina McBride, and Reba McEntire each released one of their greatest hits during that time. In fact, this resurgence of female country artists paved the way for contemporary musicians like Carrie Underwood, Kacey Musgraves, Taylor Swift, and others. Their success in the ’90s made it possible for other female artists to be successful in a male-dominated industry.
Now, let us look at these 5 female country artists who left a big mark in the country music industry. The ranking is based on the impact and influence that they had, plus the record sales and number of chart-topping songs. Make sure to take the list with a grain of salt and maybe you can share your own list after reading this.
5. Martina McBride
Martina McBride is one of the female country artists who made it big during the ’90s. She made her debut single back in 1991 and it immediately peaked at number 23 at the country Billboard charts. Though her following singles failed, the singer picked up steam with the release of her album Wild Angels, which later on became her biggest album.
The track “Wild Angels” also became the singer’s first country song. She was able to hit the country charts again with the release of her song “A Broken Wing” back in 1997. Her Evolution album went on to produce four more top 10 hits making her one of the biggest country artists in the ’90s.
Listen to Martina’s biggest hit in the ’90s here:
4. Trisha Yearwood
Another successful country artist during that era was Trisha Yearwood. Her self-titled debut album in 1991 was a success even if she was new to the industry. The track “She’s in Love with the Boy” was her first No.1 on the Billboard Country Charts and three other tracks from the album made it the top 10 list. This cemented her career as a country musician and was able to produce more quality music.
Her second album was also praised not because it made it into the charts, but because of the emotions that were put into it. The singer was recently divorced at that time and she used it as an inspiration in creating her beautiful album.
Listen to Trisha’s biggest hit in the ’90s here:
3. Dixie Chicks
Even with their controversial statement back in the early 2000s, you can’t deny the impact that the Dixie Chicks had in the ’90s. They emerged as the biggest female country act during that time with top-charting songs like “Wide Open Spaces,” “Goodbye Earl,” and the heart-wrenching ballad “Travelin’ Soldier.” The iconic group won several awards from the CMA, ACM, and Billboards Music Award. Their first Grammy win is for their album Wide Open Spaces.
Listen to Dixie Chicks’ biggest hit in the ’90s here:
2. Faith Hill
Faith Hill was also one of the female country artists who emerged in the ’90s era. Her debut album Take Me as I Am was released back in 1993 and it gained a huge commercial success. Her record-breaking song “Wild One” was able to stay on top of the charts for four consecutive weeks and she was the first female singer to do so.
This was followed by another hit with her duet with Tim McGraw. The pair was not yet married at that time and they used to do tours from all around the country. Their song “It’s Your Love” was a major success. Just like the women listed above, the singer also won several awards for her song “This Kiss” and “It’s Your Love.” She was also awarded as Female Vocalist of the Year back in 1999, proving her rank on this list.
Listen to Faith’s biggest hit in the ’90s here:
Before revealing the top female country artist, here are our honorable mentions: LeAnn Rimes, SHeDaisy, Chely Wright, Deana Carter, Lee Ann Womack, Sara Evans, and The Judds. Reba McEntire and Patty Loveless. They were also big during those times but their success did not start during the ’90s, so they were not included in the list. With that said, the two country legends contributed a lot during the rise of women in country music and we are very thankful to them.
1. Shania Twain
Often called the Queen of Country Pop, the singer has some of the most notable hits in the ’90s such as “You’re Still the One,” “Man, I Feel Like a Woman,” and “From This Moment On.” Her hits in the ’90s made her one of the biggest female country artists of this generation. Let us take a look back at her journey and how she became our favorite Canadian country singer.
Shania Twain is also a six-time Grammy-winning country artist, proving that she is one of the best country female singers out there. She broke into the mainstream music because of her relatable songs and fans loved her for that. Shania and Garth Brooks dominated the charts and radio during that time and all of the songs she made were really loved by country fans and non-country fans alike.
Listen to Shania’s biggest hit in the ’90s here:
The radio airtime and the charts were dominated by male country artists back in the ’90s. With the release of the albums and hit singles of women mentioned above, they were able to make a name for themselves and prove that they could also be a successful musician. In an interview, country singer Carly Pearce explains:
“Every time you turned on the radio, these women owned. They were so different, yet represented women who embraced and wrote about what they were going through. Those women were so good at talking straight to that woman. I think you’re starting to see women do that again now. Fans saw women dreaming up their own narratives and directing the conversation themselves, and it paved the way for women to dominate the creative conversation today.”
The 1990s were a time when women almost shared the exact attention as their male counterparts. It is quite unfortunate that this was not sustained with the rise of bro-country. Some female country singers are already shifting to pop due to the lack of audience. The disparity between men and women is apparent in the country music industry and it is all dependent on the listeners if they are willing to see their fault or not.