Lifestyle

Lifestyle

Lifestyle

Beyoncé is the first Black female artist to hold the number-one spot on Billboard’s country airplay chart with “Texas Hold ‘Em.” Her other single “16 Carriages,” also released on February 11 debuted at number 9 on the Billboard country chart. The songs reached No. 2 and No. 38 on the Billboard Hot 100. Billboard reported that “Texas Hold ‘Em” drew 19.2 million official streams and 4.8 million in all-format airplay audience and sold 39,000 in the U.S. through Feb. 15. “16 Carriages” currently has around 10.3 million streams, 90,000 in radio reach and 14,000 sold.

Sure, Beyoncé has been a part of a lot of headlines and news stories lately but she’s not the first well-known or mainstream artist to explore the country genre. Lil Nas X, whose single “Old Town Road” spent a record 19 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 in 2019. K. Michelle, the former cast member of VH1’s Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta has been releasing country music for a couple of years with songs titled “Country Love Song” and “Tennessee.” Of course, there’s Darius Rucker who has claimed his spot in the country industry. In recent years, Black female country artists like Mickey Guyton and Brittney Spencer have also gained popularity.

Many Black artists have struggled to be recognized within the country music genre. It’s been a genre often dominated by white male singers. Recently, Black women are starting to be acknowledged. For instance, last year at the Country Music Awards, Tracy Chapman won Song of the Year for “Fast Car,” which topped the country charts three decades after it was released. The song gained popularity because of a cover by Luke Combs.

Black Roots and Influences in Country Music

Some of country music’s earliest instruments were the fiddle and the banjo. PBS reported that early immigrants brought the fiddle to America, while the banjo was brought by enslaved Africans. In filmmaker Ken Burns’ 16-hour documentary series, Country Music, he covers how country music has always been home to African American artists.

While many people are busting out their cowboy hats and breaking out line dances to Queen Bey’s hits, some people are hoping that the singer will bring more recognition to Black female artists within the country genre. Take a look at some of the Black female country artists making a splash in the music industry.

  • Reyna Roberts

    Reyna Roberts was born in Alaska. In 2021, she joined Country Music Television’s Next Women of Country. She told CMT that she grew up listening “to trap, blues, hip hop, classical, all the things rock to country.” She also said that “I didn’t necessarily choose country, but it chose me. I’m not just singing country songs; I’m singing Reyna music, which happens to have country with influences of other genres.” Currently, her album Bad Girl Bible, Vol 1 is out. This album includes her songs “Miranda” and “Death of Me.”

  • Mickey Guyton

    Mickey Guyton was born in Arlington, Texas and began singing at a young age. In 2016 she released her self-titled EP featuring her debut single “Better Than You Left Me.” Guyton made history in 2021 as the first Black female solo artist to earn a GRAMMY nomination in a country category (Best Country Solo Performance) for “Black Like Me” which she performed as part of the awards ceremony. She also performed the National Anthem in 2022 at the Super Bowl.

  • Roberta Lea

    The Black Opry says that Roberta Lea has “a voice like cinnamon and a pen like butter.” Nashville Scene reported that in 2022, Brandi Carlile and Allison Russell championed the Kickstarter for Lea’s solo debut album Too Much of a Woman, pushing the fundraiser over its initial goal. According to her Kickstarter page, her album was recorded in her hometown of Virginia Beach, VA.

  • Rissi Palmer

    Rissi Palmer was born near Pittsburgh, PA. In 2007, she released her debut album, Rissi Palmer, charting singles, “Country Girl,” “Hold On To Me,” and “No Air.” Throughout her musical career, she has performed at The White House, New York’s Lincoln Center, and had multiple appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. Palmer has toured extensively across the country, sharing stages with Taylor Swift, The Eagles, Chris Young, Charley Crockett, and many more. She also launched a show Color Me Country with Rissi Palmer where she interviewed artists such as Brittney Spencer, Cam, Chapel Hart, Crystal Shawanda, Maren Morris, Miko Marks The War and Treaty, Darius Rucker and Mickey Guyton.

  • Brittney Spencer

    Brittney Spencer is a Baltimore native. Spencer was featured as part of Victoria’s Secret Global’s “UNDEFINABLE” campaign, and she appeared in Amazon’s “For Love & Country” Documentary. She has shared stages with Jason Isbell, The Highwomen, Willie Nelson, Reba, Bobby Weir, and Maren Morris. Her album My Stupid Life released on January 19, 2024.

  • Lizzie No

    Lizzie No describes her sound as “indie folk” music but many people think of her as a country artist. Her 2017 debut album, Hard Won, was hailed as “simultaneously understated and fervent” by Billboard Magazine. No speaks about her political viewpoint, LGBTQIA+ issues, abortion rights, and racial equality through her music and lyrics. In 2017 she released the single “Sundown,” directing the proceeds toward Black Lives Matter. She lends her time to Abortion Care Tennessee, which provides funding for women exercising reproductive choice. She is also involved in Black Opry, an organization for Black artists in country, folk, and roots music, and helps to organize events like Queer Country Line Dancing in her neighborhood of Princeton, New Jersey according to New City Music.

  • Dani' Wright

    Dani’ Wright made her mark in the country genre with her single, “P.Y.T.” The New Orleans native told Enspire Magazine, “Country music was the main one that kind of spoke to my soul, my being.” At the beginning of her career, she started off singing R&B and pop, but she didn’t want to go that route. With the help of her manager, actress and singer Tisha Campbell, Wright was able to release her first single.

  • Tanner Adell

    Many call Tanner Adell the “Queen of Glam Country.” Her breakout hit “Honkey Tonk Heartbreak” gained traction as the routine song for the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders in 2022. Since then, she has released several singles, including “FU-150,” “Throw It Back,” and “I Hate Texas,” which have expanded her fanbase. But it was her latest release, “Buckle Bunny,” that went viral introducing her to an even bigger audience.

  • Miko Marks

    Miko was born in Flint, Michigan. In 2005, Marks released her debut album Freeway Bound. Three further singles (“Kickin’ Back,” “Mama,” and “Don’t Come Cryin’ to Me”) were released from the album in 2006. “Mama” featured Marks’ first music video, which included a guest appearance by Erykah Badu. In October of 2022, she performed on the Grand Ole Opry for the first time. According to Country Music Television (CMT), her performance received two standing ovations.

  • Chapel Hart

    Danica and Devynn Hart along with their cousin Trea Swindle, make up Chapel Hart. According to their website, they’ve been singing together since 2014.  In 2021 Chapel Hart was inducted into CMT’s Next Women of Country, the institution that has been known to help up-and-coming female country artists such as Kelsea Ballerini, Ashley McBryde, and Gabby Barrett. The group appeared on an audition episode of NBC’s America’s Got Talent during the show’s 17th season. They performed “You Can Have Him Jolene” which is a fun take on Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.” For the second time in the show’s history, a group Golden Buzzer was granted to them by the four judges and host. This allowed Chapel Hart to advance to the next round of competition, eventually earning a spot in the finals after performing their original song “The Girls Are Back in Town.” Chapel Hart advanced to the finals, where they performed a cover of Bonnie Raitt’s “Something to Talk About” with Darius Rucker. They were eliminated from the finals.

  • O.N.E. The Duo

    Tekitha and Prana is a mother-daughter duo known as O.N.E. the Duo. Interestingly, Prana’s dad is RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan. Several years ago, the duo moved to Nashville and formed their group. After a series of singles, they released their debut album, “Blood Harmony,” last year. The group describes their style as “familiar” because it has “influences from country, hip hop, soul, and R&B — all put together.”

  • Autumn D

    Autumn D was born and raised in North Carolina. According to her website, she grew up singing in the church and started writing songs at a very early age. Her song “Southern Gentleman” is what she describes as “a fusion of country and hip-hop.” In October of 2023, she released her latest country pop single “Carolina Reaper.”

  • Rhiannon Giddens

    Rhiannon Giddens is a two-time GRAMMY Award winner and Pulitzer Prize-winning winger and instrumentalist. Giddens provided banjo on Beyoncé’s song “Texas Hold ‘Em.” Giddens has released five solo albums. In 2016,  Giddens and her band the Carolina Chocolate Drops were inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame. The Carolina Chocolate Drops, which is a Black string band founded in 2006.

  • Camille Parker

    Camille Parker is a CMT Next Woman of Country and a featured artist on Apple TV’s music competition series “My Kind of Country.” These events both occurred within the first two years of her career after releasing her debut single “The Flame.” In 2022, Parker performed at the CMA Music Festival. The singer told CMA Country Music that social media is the reason for people knowing who she is. “I never in my wildest dreams thought that a huge country star like Shania Twain would ever repost me and that would lead to writing sessions, Nashville, and moving to Music City,” Parker said. The singer was also messaged by country artist Rissi Palmer who was a fan of her covers. She is from Durham, North Carolina.

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