Many black country singers have contributed to the growth and popularity of country music.
Some took up country music after experimenting with other genres.
Others were country singers through and through.
This article includes a list of some of the best black country singers of all time and their influence over the years.
Table of Contents
- 1. Charley Pride
- 2. Darius Rucker
- 3. Tina Turner
- 4. Petrella Ann Bonner
- 5. Carl Ray
- 6. Kane Brown
- 7. Cowboy Troy
- 8. Trini Triggs
- 9. Milton Patton
- 10. Cleve Francis
- 11. Aretha Franklin
- 12. Lesley Riddle
- 13. Lil Nas X
- 14. Mickey Guyton
- 15. Jimmie Allen
- 16. DeFord Bailey
- 17. Coffey Anderson
- 18. Aaron Neville
- 19. Rhiannon Giddens
- 20. Dom Flemons
- 21. Brittney Spencer
- 22. Chapel Hart
- 23. Carolina Chocolate Drops
- 24. Dobie Gray
- 25. Lionel Richie
- 26. Miko Marks
- 27. The Pointer Sisters
- 28. Vicki Vann
- 29. Rufus Payne
- 30. Beyoncé Knowles
- Black Country Singers – Final Thoughts
1. Charley Pride
Charley Pride is a pioneer in country music who taught himself to play the guitar at just 14 years old.
His third country single, “Just Between You and Me,” was his break-out song.
The singer was a four-time Grammy winner, including awards for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male, and Lifetime Achievement awards.
2. Darius Rucker
Darius Rucker was a co-founder, lead vocalist, and songwriter for the famous soft rock band Hootie & the Blowfish.
His single, “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” from the album Learn to Live, was an instant hit.
It was the first song by a Black artist to hit no.1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart since Charley Pride.
3. Tina Turner
No list of black country songs would be complete without Tina Turner.
Her first solo album, Tina Turns The Country On!, covered all her favorite country music and got nominated for a Grammy.
She has more than 160 awards and over 180 nominations.
4. Petrella Ann Bonner
Petrella Ann Bonner is a singer, songwriter, actress, and music producer.
She’s had countless songs featured on the Top 100 Country Singles charts and calls herself “The first lady of country soul.”
She was named “Songwriter of the Year” by the Tennessee Songwriters Association in 1994.
5. Carl Ray
Born and raised in Houston with a love for music and songwriting, Carl Ray was discovered by Johnny Nash.
Carl’s single “I Stand with this country” won first place in Cash Box 2021.
His songs are mostly about religion and faith, with hints of sorrow and hope.
6. Kane Brown
Kane Brown is a black American singer and songwriter who was discovered on social media.
In 2017, he was the first artist to have his songs on all five billboard country charts.
He won American Music Awards for Favorite Country Male Artist and Favorite Country Album for two consecutive years in 2018 and 2019.
7. Cowboy Troy
Troy Lee Coleman III, better known as Cowboy Troy, is a member of MuzikMafia, a group of various country singers.
The singer was the first singer to combine hip-hop and country music.
He’s released seven albums, two EPs, and eight singles.
8. Trini Triggs
Trini Triggs became popular among country music fans after he released his self-titled album in the late 90s.
Some of his best songs include “The Wreckin’ Crew” and “Straight Tequila.”
His fun singing style and excellent vocals make him one of the best black country singers of all time.
9. Milton Patton
Milton Patton became a fan of country music after hearing it play at his father’s car detailing business.
The singer became famous through the hit TV show “America’s Got Talent.”
His love for pure country music was why he rejected a $500,000 record deal; they wanted him to focus on R&B hip-hop kind of country music.
10. Cleve Francis
Cleve Francis has one of the most interesting stories regarding his career.
The singer juggled his dream of becoming a Country singer while also studying for his medical degree.
Now a cardiologist, he balances both his professions in an inspiring way and has even charted four times on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.
11. Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin is known as the “Queen of Soul,” and could turn any song into a hymn.
She released interpretations of many country songs like “Gentle On My Mind,” “Night Life,” and “Cold Cold Heart,” adding to their fame.
Some of her renditions of popular country songs are more popular than the original songs.
12. Lesley Riddle
Lesley Riddle isn’t a popular name for country music, but one you can’t miss if you’re a true country music fan.
The singer took up country music after he lost a leg to a workplace injury.
His influence on the Carter Family played a huge role in shaping country music.
13. Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X is mainly known for his rap and hip-hop music.
However, the singer took the internet by storm with his instant hit, a country rap called “Old Town Road.”
The song and its second version, sung with Billy Ray Cyrus, won 15 music awards and topped numerous charts worldwide.
14. Mickey Guyton
Mickey Guyton is a famous singer whose music ranges from country-pop to contemporary country.
Her country song, “Better than you left me,” got her a Grammy nomination and a nomination from the Academy of Music Awards as well.
The song was about her experience as a black woman in the country music industry.
15. Jimmie Allen
He was the second black artist to win a Country Music Association Award for New Artist of the Year since Darius Rucker.
His first single, “Best Shot,” was an instant hit and ranked no.1 on the US Billboard’s Hot Country Songs and Canadian Hot 100 charts.
16. DeFord Bailey
DeFord Bailey is one of the most important names in country music and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.
He was the first black country singer to be invited to the Grand Ole Opry, that too as the first performer.
He was skilled at playing the harmonica and banjo.
17. Coffey Anderson
Coffey Anderson’s music journey started by learning and playing a borrowed guitar in his university dorm.
The singer is on social media, famous with 790,000,000 views on Youtube and Facebook combined.
Predominantly a country singer, he also writes gospel music.
18. Aaron Neville
Aaron Neville is a black R&B and soul singer who also experimented with country music.
His cover of “The Grand Tour” peaked on the Billboard country singles chart at no. 38.
His recorded version of “I Fall to Pieces” won him a Grammy for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals.
19. Rhiannon Giddens
Rhiannon Giddens was the lead vocalist, banjo, and fiddle player for the band “The Carolina Chocolate Drops.”
She’s famous for her heart-touching songs about slavery and won a Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album in 2011.
20. Dom Flemons
Dom Flemons is famous for his neotraditional country music.
He’s popular for trying to revive traditional country music instruments like bones.
His album, Black Cowboys (2018), got a Grammy nomination for Best Folk Album and a Blues Music Award nomination for Best Acoustic Album.
21. Brittney Spencer
Brittney Spencer became famous after she went viral on Twitter for covering a song by The Highwomen.
She’s performed at the Country Music Association Awards and has been nominated for the CMT Digital First Performance of the Year award.
22. Chapel Hart
Chapel Hart is a country music group that comprises three vocalists, sisters Danica Hart, Devynn Hart, and their cousin Trea Swindle.
They rose to fame after finishing fifth in the seventeenth season of America’s Got Talent.
CMT chose Chapel Hart as a part of their 2021 “Next Women of Country” campaign about new upcoming female country singers.
23. Carolina Chocolate Drops
The Carolina Chocolate Drops were an old-time string band.
Their music consisted of country, blues, early jazz, spoken word pieces, and African and Caribbean songs.
Their album, Genuine Negro Jig, won a Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album.
24. Dobie Gray
Dobie Gray’s musical career consisted of pop, soul, theatre musicals, and country songs.
His biggest hit, “Drift Away,” peaked at no.17 on the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1973.
It was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA and sold over 1 million copies.
25. Lionel Richie
Lionel Richie is a well-known name in the music world for being the co-lead singer of the group, Commodores.
In 1980 he produced and wrote Kenny Roger’s big country hit, “Lady.”
In his album Tuskegee, Richie sang reinterpretations of his previous songs with different country artists.
26. Miko Marks
Miko Marks is famous for her neo-traditional country songs.
In 2006, New Music Weekly Awards named her the Best New Country Artist.
She’s also won three Independent Music Awards, two for Country Song of the Year and one for Country Album of the Year.
27. The Pointer Sisters
The Pointer Sisters are popular for their diverse range of music, including country, pop, dance, soul, funk, rock, etc.
They have three Grammy awards and a Hollywood Walk of Fame star.
Their song, “Fairytale,” was their biggest country hit, winning a Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.
28. Vicki Vann
Vicki Vann is known as the Cinderella of country music.
She featured in “Waiting in the Wings,” a country music television documentary.
She expressed her struggles as a Black woman in the country music industry.
29. Rufus Payne
Rufus Payne, aka Tee-Tot, mainly sang country, blues, and gospel songs.
He was most popular for mentoring Hank Williams, a country music superstar.
Payne taught Williams how to improvise chords on a guitar.
30. Beyoncé Knowles
You can find traces of country music in Beyoncé’s career, starting from when she vocal harmonized “Fancy” by Destiny Child on the guitar.
Her country song, “Daddy Lessons,” faced immense opposition from critics for being called a country song.
However, the song can be counted as country diaspora, a genre that black country artists helped shape over the years.
Black Country Singers – Final Thoughts
Our list of best black country singers of all time covers singers from every decade.
Many of these singers have faced racism and opposition for their role in country music.
However, their songs are addictive and a must-listen for every country music fan.