Top 39 Most Popular Black Country Singers Of All Time

Top 39 Most Popular Black Country Singers Of All Time


Since the humble beginnings of Country music, Black artists have gone on to greatly impact the genre with their wide-ranging and unique contributions. While the genre used to be predominantly white in the early 20th century, it was soon enriched by the dynamic presence of African-American artists who broke through into the mainstream to make names for themselves.


From the blues-tinged hits of the ’50s and ’60s to the soul-sational Country music of the ’90s, a number of Black artists went on to establish themselves as the pillars of the early Country genre.


Needless to mention, they are recognized as the pioneers of the genre in the true sense of the word today. In fact, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to claim that the best African-American Country artists have not only helped shape the genre over the years but also added to its overall growth and popularity.


Therefore, today, we aim to fetch you a compilation of some of the finest Black musicians who have gone on to redefine the genre of Country music in the best ways possible.




1. Tina Turner


tina turner


Anna Mae Bullock, or Tina Turner as we know her, was one of the finest female singers of the 1980s. This statement means a lot considering that she had been out for a while in the bygone decade.


However, her phenomenal rise during the ’80s was seen as her comeback, and with the release of her album Private Dancer in 1984, a lot of things changed for the better.


She followed the success of her aforementioned album with the release of Break Every Rule in 1986 and Foreign Affair in 1989, respectively. Needless to say, Turner was back and hungry for more.


That being said, not many people are aware of the fact that the great artist first rose to fame as the lead singer of the husband-wife duo Ike & Tina Turner. Soon after her limited success, she decided to launch her solo career, which, as we know, went on to be super successful. 




2. Darius Rucker


Darius Rucker


Widely recognized as a solo artist today, Darius Rucker first came to the public’s attention while he was the frontman for the ’90s rock band Hootie And The Blowfish. He was born and raised in South Carolina and music played a huge part in his family.


The artist found the bulk of his professional success with the band after their formation at the University of South Carolina in 1986. The group continued to make its presence felt on pop music charts throughout the 1990s and early 2000s.


However, Rucker decided to commence his solo career in 2001 with the release of his debut album, The Return Of Mongo Slade. After having ventured into country music with Capitol Records Nashville in 2008, he went on to become the second Black artist in history to top Billboard’s Hot Country Songs list.


Just a year later, the Country Music Association titled him a New Artist Award, which made him only the second black musician ever to receive the honour.




3. Charley Pride


charley pride


Quite possibly the most successful Black country musician to date, Charley Pride is the second best-selling artist at RCA Records after Elvis Presley.


What’s interesting about the man is that singing was his second profession since he had also served as a professional baseball player in the Negro American League, Memphis Red Sox, Boise Yankees, and various other baseball teams.


Born into a clan of sharecroppers in Mississippi, he was an athlete and musician during his adult life, which turned him into a minor celebrity in Northern Ireland during the 1970s.


Allow us to tell you that during the absolute peak of his singing career, the man had 52 top-10 hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Believe it or not, 30 of those singles managed to make it to the top spot.


A recipient of three Grammy Awards, Pride was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000. He also happens to be one of the only three African-American members of the Grand Ole Opry.




4. Rhiannon Giddens


rhiannon giddens


Rhiannon Giddens is a powerhouse performer who rose to prominence in the early 2000s with her country, blues, and folk band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Since her rise, she has gone on to collaborate with dozens of prominent artists.


Her music resonated with people as she tried to bring to life the lost sounds of past slave cultures, as well as African-American traditions. A recipient of several Grammy Awards and a MacArthur Fellowship, Giddens is also known to play instruments such as fiddle and banjo.


Of late, her voice leapt from the musical stage to TV as she provided the soundtrack for shows such as ‘Nashville’ and ‘Parenthood’. The founding member of blues, country, and old-time music band the Carolina Chocolate Drops, she is a native of North Carolina and has multiracial ancestry.


You’d be delighted to learn that the opera Omar, co-written by Giddens and Michael Abels, went on to win the coveted Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2023.



5. Kane Brown


kane brown


Known for his rich, low baritone voice, Kane Brown is relatively new on the scene, but he has been making waves in country music with well-received chart-toppers such as “Heaven” and “One Mississippi”.


While he currently tours the United States of America for his performances, he is best known for his modern pop-country style, and for writing much of his material.


The artist has appeared with other well-known country artists like Lauren Alaina in the recent past, often delighting his listeners with his melodious singing and quirky personality. That said, not a lot of people might be aware of the fact that he shares fun trivia facts in some of his interviews.


It is imperative to mention that Brown went on to become the first artist to have a number-one single on all five main Billboard country charts in late 2017. Also, his second album, Experiment, topped the Billboard 200 chart after having been released in late 2018.



6. Ray Charles


Ray Charles


Among the top American singers in history for a reason, Ray Charles is credited with making some iconic tunes such as “Hit The Road Jack” and “What I’d Say”. The man had incredible vocals as well as an impactful music career.


Many of his finest performances were full of surprises. Therefore, it is not surprising then that he went on to influence many famous artists such as Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, and Stevie Wonder during his heyday.


Over the course of his musical career, Charles recorded more than 50 albums, and he was one of the first people to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.



7. Mickey Guyton


Mickey Guyton


Originally from Texas, Mickey Guyton entered the national spotlight in early 2022 when she sang the National Anthem at the Super Bowl LVI. But, she had been actively performing in Los Angeles and Nashville for nearly a decade prior.


The first African-American to ever perform at the American Country Music Awards, her music incorporates R&B, gospel, and pop elements into a country style. She is also the only black artist to garner a Grammy nomination for Best Country Album and, therefore, can be heard singing about her experiences as a black woman of the world.



8. Lesley Riddle


Lesley Riddle


This North Carolina native took up guitar in the 1920s and went on to make an enormous impact on the beginnings of country music. Sharing his undeniable musical talent with the lyrical mastery of A. P. Carter, he provided a framework for codifying the sounds of the region and, in the process, ended up directing the development of the folk-country genre. Even though he decided to hang his boots in the 1940s, folk musician Mike Seeger encouraged him to take it up once again in the ’60s.


While he may not have been able to rise to the level of prominence of other country artists of his time, he did appear at several folk festivals and contributed to a series of studio albums during his heyday.



9. Cowboy Troy


Cowboy Troy


Cowboy Troy may not be active in the music industry for the past few years, but he has managed to make his mark on the subgenre of country rap. The Dallas-born artist came to prominence with his 2005 song, “I Play Chicken With The Train”, and playfully refers to this genre as “hick-hop.” Born Troy Lee Coleman III, he first tasted success with a rap breakdown in the middle of Big & Rich’s 2004 hit “Rollin’ (The Ballad of Big & Rich).” He is known to have collaborated with both Gretchen Wilson and Big & Rich time and again.



10. Cleveland Francis


Cleveland Francis


How many of you have heard of a person who may have left their career in the medical field to become a country musician? Not many, we gather. But, Cleveland Francis was different.


A cardiologist first, he decided to venture into the world of music soon after and was active in entertainment for at least fifteen years. The1980s and early 1990s saw him recording five studio albums, and his tracks went on to make the Billboard charts four times.


Some of his hits such as “Love Light”, “You Do My Heart Good”, “Walkin'”, and “How Can I Hold You” made him semi-famous in country music. Francis’s website also makes an effort to draw your attention to the fact that he has been both a songwriter and a physician.



11. Trini Triggs


Trini Triggs


Born in Louisiana, contemporary country artist Trini Triggs released a self-titled album in 1998, and tasted decent success in the country music industry with chart-topping singles such as “Straight Tequila”, “Horse to Mexico”, and “The Wreckin’ Crew”.


Each of these songs went on to become famous in Canada at the time. Triggs soon decided to sign with Curb Records, with whom he released his country discography. Besides songwriting and performing, he also works in the entertainment industry as a DJ, writer, and radio personality.



12. Petrella Ann Bonner


Petrella Ann Bonner


Petrella Ann Bonner exudes confidence when she claims to be the “First Lady Of Country Soul.” The artist is known to have been raised in Arkansas and continued her education in Missouri.


Best known for her throaty voice and energetic songwriting, she managed to achieve moderate success in Nashville. Not only that but she also garnered several awards from organizations such as the Tennessee Songwriters Association.


Petrella, who has launched forays into theatre and philanthropy, has released seven studio albums in various genres and has collaborated with several country artists as well.



13. Carl Ray


Carl Ray


If you’re looking to get more into contemporary Black country music, look no further than Carl Ray. The man has made a name for himself by combining some of the core elements and historical influences of the genre to produce superb albums that continue to gain recognition.


Widely considered to be a bluegrass prodigy, he mixes bluegrass, country, and a modern sensibility to compose songs that pertain to topics such as religion and faith. Like most great bluegrass artists that have come before him, his sound also has a tinge of sorrow that tags along with his compositions.


However, his music seldom lets go of its hopeful note.



14. Lil Nas X


Lil Nas X


The genres of hip-hop and country have plenty of overlap, primarily because they both have their roots in Black American music. Therefore, it has allowed an artist like Lil Nas X to transform into one of the better Black country musicians.


While he may not be a career country musician, he is known to have paired up with the iconic country star Billy Ray Cyrus. Credited with introducing a whole new generation of people to country music, he made them realize what the genre was capable of.


It is not surprising then that his song, “Old Town Road” took country music by storm when it was released in 2019.



15. DeFord Bailey


DeFord Bailey


One of the finest and arguably the most important Black country musician of all time, DeFord Bailey is single-handedly responsible for some of the biggest victories in country music. Not only was he the first Black country musician to be invited to partake in the Grand Ole Opry but he was also the very first performer in the prestigious show.


While he went on to build his success as a competent harmonica player, he was also known for his affinity for singing and playing the banjo. It’d be safe to say that he was a rising star up to the 1940s and had, therefore, become a household name for people who listened to his kind of music.


The artist was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.



16. Dom Flemons


Dom Flemons


We doubt that any story on the best Black country musicians can ever be complete without including Dom Flemons in it. The man is best known as “The American Songster” for his repertoire of music spans nearly a century of American folklore, ballads, and tunes.


Best known for playing neotraditional country music that promises to keep some of the traditions of the genre alive, his sound has managed to make its presence felt on Smithsonian Folkways and numerous music festivals and awards ceremonies over the years.


We also need to thank Flemons for his consistent efforts to revive the traditional, but largely forgotten, country music instruments like the bones.



17. Aaron Neville


Aaron Neville


Coming from New Orleans, United States, Aaron Neville is a very talented country musician who has gone on to try various genres of music. Popular for his R&B and soul singing, he has had four platinum albums and four Top 10 hits in his home country.


Not many of his listeners are aware of the fact that he is of mixed African-American, Caucasian, and Native-American (Choctaw) heritage. Neville, whose first major hit single was “Tell It Like It Is”, released his first solo album since the late 1960s in 1986 with the independent release Orchid in The Storm.



18. Dobie Gray


Dobie Gray


Dobie Gray is an artist whose musical career spanned soul, country, pop, and musical theatre. While he delivered a hit with “The ‘In’ Crowd” in 1965, it was his 1973 chartbuster “Drift Away” which went on to become one of the biggest hits of the year.


The song sold over one million copies and remains a staple of radio airplay. The performer had moved to Los Angeles in the early 1960s to establish himself as a screen performer.


However, he soon began singing and, therefore, started to record for several local labels. He tasted success for the first time in 1962 with the release of his seventh single “Look At Me”.



19. Linda Martell


Linda Martell


Country music devotees must be aware of the fact that Linda Martell was the first Black woman to score a modicum of success in the country music space. Her 1970 album, Color Me Country, went on to enter the country’s Top 40.


Unfortunately for her and her listeners, a raw deal with Shelby Singleton’s Plantation Records ended up halting her musical journey. However, those who have continued to provide their two cents on the past, present, and future of Black country make sure to give Martell the credit she deserves.


Reportedly, her grandaughter is working on a documentary on her life.



20. Stoney Edwards


Stoney Edwards


One of the great “what ifs” in country music lore, Stoney Edwards was known for his commanding honky-tonk vocal delivery. He went on to score a respectable 15 charting singles between 1970-1980, of which “She’s My Rock” became hugely popular.


Some of his other notable songs strived to capture the nostalgic sentiments that have always been at the heart of country music. One of the most gifted and consistent alternatives to ’70s pop country, Edwards has gone down as a hidden gem of country music.



21. The Pointer Sisters


The Pointer Sisters


The Pointer Sisters, whose sound spanned different pop sub-genres over time, achieved mainstream success during the 1970s and 1980s. Their song “Fairytale” went on to become a surprise Top 15 country hit in 1974.


Furthermore, it even won the Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group in the same year. It is not surprising then that The Pointer Sisters remain the only Black women to earn a Grammy in a country category.


The group received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994 and had 13 US top 20 hits between 1973 and 1985.



22. Frankie Staton


Frankie Staton


The proverbial and literal doors may have begun slamming in the face of Frankie Staton upon her arrival in Nashville in the early ’80s, but the artist has vowed to not give up.


Since her skills as a songwriter, singer, and keyboardist were undeniable, she continued to focus on writing and performing songs. Inspired by artists such as Loretta Lynn and Don Williams, Frankie fought hard to create opportunities for others through her role in the formation of the Black Country Music Association (BCMA) in the ’90s.



23. Rissi Palmer


Rissi Palmer


This country music artist debuted in 2007 with the single “Country Girl” and soon went on to become the first African-American woman to chart a country song since Dona Mason in 1987.


She is also the host of Apple Music Country’s show Color Me Country Radio with Rissi Palmer, which has turned out to be an invaluable resource for Black country and Americana artists; especially the ones who are up-and-coming or have been overlooked.


The bi-weekly show has featured in-depth interviews with artists such as Darius Rucker, Mickey Guyton, Crystal Shawanda, and The War and Treaty, thus far.



24. Miko Marks


Miko Marks


Born in Flint, Michigan, Miko Marks is a country musician who has been a triple threat. The singer is known to have composed his own songs over the years, which is considered to be slightly unusual in the country music genre.


We say so because most country artists are known to employ different songwriters for their respective albums. After having moved to California to pursue a career in music, she was named the Best New Country Artist by New Music Weekly Awards in 2006.


She released another album in 2021, titled Our Country, after a gap of 10 years.



25. Jimmie Allen


Jimmie Allen


Jimmie Allen is a country music singer and songwriter who has seen his fair share of struggle. Earlier in his life in Nashville, he failed to make ends meet while trying to break into the music scene.


He auditioned for American Idol and made it through the first few rounds. However, Broken Bow Records decided to sign him to one of their smaller labels, Stoney Creek, after having seen him perform in a show.


Not long after that, his first two singles, namely “Best Shot” and “Make Me Want To”, helped him in receiving the Country Music Association Award for New Artist of the Year in 2018; therefore, making him only the second black artist to do so since Darius Rucker in 2009.



26. Breland




Daniel Gerard Breland, known professionally as Breland, is a singer, songwriter, and record producer of a hybrid of country rap, R&B, gospel, and soul music. His 2019 debut single, “My Truck”, shot to fame after having received attention via social media platforms.


Soon after, it reached No. 26 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. The artist, who is known to have grown up in a family of ministers, is best known for his contemporary country songwriting.


Needless to say, his work in the genre has been well-received, which is perhaps why several other artists have approached him for collaboration from time to time.



27. Shy Carter


Shy Carter


Artist, songwriter and producer Shy Carter has managed to reach all corners of the industry with his early success and is, therefore, no stranger to pop and country music listeners.


Also a rapper, he has composed songs for several other artists and collaborated with a few others. Some of his collaborations have gone on to hit the charts hard as well.


His collaboration with Sugarland, “Stuck Like Glue”, not only debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 20 but also went on to become the 11th most downloaded country music song of all time.



28. Candi Staton


Candi Staton


This prominent singer and songwriter is best known in the United States for her 1970 remake of Tammy Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man” and her 1976 disco chart-topper “Young Hearts Run Free”.


Canzetta Maria “Candi” Staton’s biggest-selling record is the anthemic “You Got the Love” from 1986. She was inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame and is a four-time Grammy Award nominee.


The artist launched her solo career as a Southern soul stylist in 1968 and soon went on to garner 16 R&B hits for Rick Hall’s Fame Studios; therefore, earning the title of “First Lady of Southern Soul”.



29. Louis Armstrong


Louis Armstrong


Trumpeter and vocalist Louis Armstrong was among the most influential figures in jazz. A recipient of the Grammy Award for Best Male Vocal Performance for Hello, Dolly! in 1965, his career spanned five decades and several eras in the history of jazz.


The man even went on to win a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1972 and was inducted into the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame in 2017. He is best remembered for his timeless songs such as “What a Wonderful World”, “La Vie en Rose”, “Hello, Dolly!”, “On the Sunny Side of the Street”, “Dream a Little Dream of Me”, “When You’re Smiling” and “When the Saints Go Marching In”.



30. Howdy Glenn


Howdy Glenn


Howdy Glenn and his music may not be as popular today, but he had a close, albeit brief, brush with success as a mainstream recording artist. Originally a firefighter from California, his Warner Bros. output earned him an ACM Top New Male Vocalist nomination.


However, like a few other artists on our list, lack of label support proved to be a deterrent to his shot at stardom as well. Fortunately, a career-spanning compilation that was released from Omnivore Recordings in 2023 made some of the listeners familiar with not only “I Can Almost See Houston” but also other should-be classics.



31. Allison Russell


Allison Russell


Canadian singer-songwriter Allison Russell is known to have built her career on collaboration. While she first found a stage singing Stan Rogers songs with local players at an Irish pub in Montreal, she went on to perform as a member of music groups such as Po’ Girl, Birds of Chicago, Our Native Daughters, and Sisters of the Strawberry Moon.


The artist made her stunning debut with the release of her full-length album “Outside Child” in 2021. It is essentially an autobiographical album that sees her sing songs about her traumatic youth with hope, triumph, and commendable courage.


The album was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Americana Album category in 2022.



32. Amythyst Kiah


Amythyst Kiah


A native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Amythyst Kiah is a singer-songwriter who is best known for playing guitar and banjo. Even though she’s been touring since 2010 either solo or with the bands ‘Her Chest of Glass’ or ‘Our Native Daughters’, she only released her two solo albums in 2022.


The artist, who describes her style as “Southern Gothic”, went on to earn a Grammy Award Best American Roots Song nomination for her song “Black Myself” in 2020. She is known to have toured extensively throughout the US, Mexico, and the UK.



33. Brittney Spencer


Brittney Spencer


Brittney Spencer came to the public’s attention following a viral Twitter video that showed her singing a cover of a song by The Highwomen. The artist has released several singles, including 2021’s “Sober & Skinny”, has performed at the Country Music Association Awards, and has embarked on a world tour in her career so far.


She believes that her musical style is diverse because she has allowed herself to be inspired by different artists and songwriters over the years.



34. The War and Treaty


The War and Treaty


The husband and wife duo of Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Trotter formed The War and Treaty and soon went on to establish themselves as one of the most invigorating acts in Americana and roots music.


While Tanya has been a lifelong singer who was on the verge of stardom in the 1990s, Michael was an Iraq war veteran who started to believe in the healing power of music while writing songs for his beloved fallen comrades.


Based in Albion, Michigan, Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Blount released their duet album Love Affair as Trotter & Blount in 2016. However, it was “Hi Ho” that turned out to be a breakout soul hit.



35. Blanco Brown


Blanco Brown


Blanco Brown is a country music artist, singer, songwriter, record producer, and rapper who is known to create music with a smile on his face. Well, at least figuratively. He has produced for popular artists such as Chris Brown and Pitbull and is best known for his breakout 2019 “The Git Up”, which blends modern country-pop twang with Southern hip-hop sensibilities.


The song reached the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100. Amey was raised in Atlanta, Georgia listening to hip-hop artists, such as Outkast. However, he also ensured to familiarize himself with the music of country icon Johnny Cash. It is not surprising then that he appreciates both forms of music.



36. Jake Blount


Jake Blount


An intellectual as much as an artist, banjo player and folk singer-songwriter Jake Blount is known to specialize in traditional African-American music. The artist, who has been described as “Afrofuturist folklore”, put his creativity on full display in his concept album A New Faith.


His work mainly revolves around themes of social and environmental justice. Blount often performs most of the parts on his recordings and is acknowledged for employing modern instruments and production techniques in his confident performances; each of which comes across as distinct to his audience.



37. Willie Jones


Willie Jones


The Louisiana-raised artist, Willie Jones, mixes country with hip-hop on songs like “Down for It.” The artist is known to have worked on the “American Dream” after George Floyd’s killing and protesters marching against racial injustice.


It was, indeed, one of the year’s most powerful country songs. That said, his growing catalogue of country hip-hop doesn’t stop with a civil rights anthem. We say so because his debut album, “Right Now,” was a musical blender of polished pop-ready production with country imagery and undeniable rap influence.


Needless to say, Willie is someone to watch out for.



38. Yola




There is no denying that Yola’s voice is born out of a disapproving childhood and years of hopelessness. Even as a young adult, she had to struggle quite a lot.


But, her struggle bore fruit, and, today, she stands as one of the most authentic and vital voices in Nashville. Her debut album, “Walk Through Fire,” was released in 2019 and allowed her to crown herself the queen of country soul.


All she wants is to narrate the story of Black femininity in a nuanced manner through her fascinating music. Her sophomore album, “Stand For Myself,” aims to tell deeply personal stories with a universal hold.



39. Chapel Hart


Chapel Hart


Chapel Hart is a group that consists of sisters Danica Hart and Devynn Hart, and their cousin Trea Swindle. The three vocalists decided to form the group and have independently released two studio albums and seven singles, thus far.


Known for their fresh take on classic country, the trio decided to compete in the seventeenth season of America’s Got Talent in 2022. They ended up finishing in the fifth position.


Those who have heard Chapel Hart can vouch for the fact that their sound has been influenced by ’90s rock and an artist like Loretta Lynn. That said, the trio still manages to sound as contemporary as they can.



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