Top 30 Black country singers you need to know as of 2023


Country music has a significant global fanbase, with statistics declaring it is the third most listened-to genre in the world. Many Black country singers have massively impacted the genre and made it what it is today. Who are the top 30 Black country singers to grace the genre?

What are some Black country singers?
PBS American Masters presented the ‘Charley Pride: I’m Just Me’ event featuring the show’s star, Charley Pride. Photo: David Buchan
Source: Getty Images

The Deezer survey states that Black country music takes third place in the percentage of listeners, with 49.9%, coming after rock at 56.8% and pop at 56.1%. Country music has long been carried through many great names like Chapel Hart and Linda Martell, who were instrumental in making country music what it is today.

Are there any Black country singers?

There are various Black singers in the country genre. Over dozens of Black country music singers are prominent figures, but there are many more who did not make the mainstream yet are still very much active in the genre.

Who is the most popular Black country singer?

Although there are many great Black country music artists, Charley Pride is arguably the most recognisable figure in the genre. Charley was the second-best-selling artist at RCA Records, coming second only to the ‘King of Rock and Roll’ himself, Elvis Presley.

Who are the Black people who make country music?

These are 30 of the most iconic Black singers in the country music, from the pioneers to the more recent artists shaking up the genre, in no particular order:

30. Carolina Chocolate Drops

Black country singer
The Carolina Chocolate Drops performed during a concert of Black string-band music in 2014. Photo: Jack Vartoogian
Source: Getty Images

Carolina Chocolate Drops is a Black country group from Durham, North Carolina. They are considered an ‘old-time string band’ whose 2010 studio album won the Grammy Award for ‘Best Traditional Folk Album’ at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards. It was also number nine in Roots magazine’s top 10 albums in 2010.

29. Kane Brown

Black country singer
Kane Brown performed during the 2023 iHeartCountry Festival presented by Capital One at Moody Center on 13 May 2023 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Rick Kern
Source: Getty Images

Kane Brown is one of the more recent Black country singers on the scene, but he has already made a massive name. His soulful, husky voice and romantic lyrics have captured the hearts of many, and he already has eight number-one songs under his belt and counting.

28. Linda Martell

Linda Martell then and now
Linda Martell poses for a portrait circa 1969. To the right is Linda in 2021. Photo: Michael Ochs, Sean Rayford (Modified by editor)
Source: Getty Images

Linda Martell is arguably one of the most influential individuals on the list. Considered a pioneer in the genre, she was the first Black female solo artist to play the Grand Ole Opry. However, the looming cloud of racism ultimately saw her career end as swiftly as it developed, and she only released one album. Still, she is a stalwart of the genre and is still highly praised today.

27. Trini Triggs

Trini Triggs
Trini Triggs rose to prominence after he released a self-titled album in 1998. Photo: Ron Galella
Source: Getty Images

American artist Trini Triggs rose to prominence after he released a self-titled album in 1998 for MCG/Curb Records and saw significant success in the years following. His debut album produced three singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles that year and gathered an impressive fanbase through his talent.

26. Miko Marks

Black male country singers
Miko Marks takes a moment to embrace the crowd during the Green River Festival 2023. Photo: Douglas Mason
Source: Getty Images

Miko Marks broke into the country music scene with a bang, being honoured as the ‘Best New Country Artist’ at the 2006 New Music Weekly Awards. Since then, she has released many successful singles, with songs like Feel Like Going Home, Trouble, and One More Night becoming massive hits.

25. Aretha Franklin

Black male country artists
Aretha Franklin is iconic in music. Photo: Ron Howard
Source: Getty Images

A name that needs no introduction, Aretha Franklin is iconic in music. Her nickname as the ‘Queen of Soul’ indicates her massive impact on the genre. However, Aretha’s willingness to experiment in genres like country and folk music gained her an entirely new fanbase and a more comprehensive range of iconic songs.

24. Mickey Guyton

recent Black country singers
Mickey Guyton performs onstage during the Capital One JamFest during the NCAA March Madness Music Festival on 2 April 2023 in Houston, Texas. Photo: Marcus Ingram
Source: Getty Images

Born and bred in Texas, Candace Mycale ‘Mickey’ Guyton’s passion for all types of music ensured her future success in the game. Exposed to various genres of music growing up, Mickey used her exposure to include elements of contemporary country and R&B music into her country music, making her stand out from other names in the industry and an artist to watch.

23. Dom Flemons

male African-American country singers
Dom Flemons performed for fans at the MerleFest at Wilkes Community College on 28 April 2023 in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Photo: Jeff Hahne
Source: Getty Images

American artist Dominique Flemons is more than just a Black country singer. He is a triple threat as a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. He plays the guitar, banjo, harmonica, fife, percussion, quills and rhythm bones. Dom’s music is considered ‘old-time music’ and ‘Piedmont blues’, and he is a former member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops.

22. Aaron Neville

Who is the Black man that sings country music?
Aaron Neville performs at Michael Arnone’s 30th Annual Crawfish Fest on 1 June 2019 in Augusta, New Jersey. Photo; Bobby Bank
Source: Getty Images

Aaron Neville is no stranger to the industry and has been making music for decades. Although prominently known as an R&B and soul singer, Aaron expanded his range and ventured into the country music genre around 1993 and 1994. The multi-platinum artist showed his talent is not limited to one genre, and his experimentation was well-received.

21. Rhiannon Giddens

Rhiannon the country singer
Rhiannon is pictured above in 2023. She is known for her eclectic folk music. Photos: Steve Thorne, Ed Rode (Modified by editor)
Source: Getty Images

Talented musician Rhiannon Giddens is an established artist who is a founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, where she played an essential role as the lead singer, banjo player and fiddle player. The Greensboro, North Carolina native has since gone solo and enjoyed commercial success as a solo artist, also known for her eclectic folk music.

20. Cleve Francis

Black male country artists
Cleve Francis enjoyed a decades-long career in country music. Photo: Paul Natkin
Source: Getty Images

Cleve Francis is a stalwart in the country music industry, with a hugely successful musical career over decades. Cleve has nine albums under his belt and charted four times on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, most notably with You Do My Heart Good in 1992. The singer-songwriter was also a cardiologist, but the music was his number one love.

19. Brittney Spencer

What Black artists are included at the Country Music Awards?
Brandi Carlile (left) of The Highwomen and Brittney Spencer perform in concert at Gorge Amphitheatre on 11 June 2023 in George, Washington. Photo: Gary Miller
Source: Getty Images

American country singer-songwriter Brittney Spencer gained fame through social media, specifically, a video on Twitter that showed her covering a song by The Highwomen. Various other country artists saw the video and praised her, giving her the inspiration and confidence to release her first extended play, Compassion. Brittney was also mentioned as one of the individuals on PEOPLE Magazine’s ‘Hollywood One to Watch’ list.

18. Coffey Anderson

What are some Black country singers?
Coffey Anderson is a country music singer and internet personality who became famous online. Photo: Coffey Anderson
Source: Getty Images

Hailing from Bangs, Texas, Coffey Anderson is a country music singer and internet personality, the latter being how he rose to prominence. Coffey made a name on YouTube by releasing Christian versions of mainstream music. He also participated in Nashville Star, creating a more prominent character.

17. Vicki Vann

Dubbed the ‘Cinderella of country music’, Victoria ‘Vicki’ Vann is a country music artist, actress, model, and businesswoman. Vicki has been in the industry for decades, developing an ever-growing fanbase. She is also a featured artist in the Country Music Television Network documentary called Waiting in the Wings.

16. Chapel Hart

Who is the most popular Black country singer?
Trea Swindle, Danica Hart, and Devynn Hart are the three signers who make the trio Chapel Hart. Photo: Terry Wyatt
Source: Getty Images

Chapel Hart rose to stardom overnight through their viral America’s Got Talent performance in July 2022 and saw their fanbase quickly increase overnight. The all-female country trio received a Golden Buzzer through their Dolly Parton- inspired song You Can Have Him, Jolene, and earned the number one spot on iTunes. They were also contacted by Dolly and received an invitation to make their Grand Ole Opry debut.

15. Lesley Riddle

Black male country singers 1990s
Lesley Riddle is another figure considered a country music genre pioneer and greatly influenced the Carter Family country band. Photo: @dolphinriot and @NC_Markers on Twitter (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Lesley Riddle is another genre pioneer and greatly influenced the Carter Family country band. This band is regarded as an icon in country music. Unfortunately, Lesley was a skilled instrumentalist and singer but has yet to receive the recognition he deserved while alive. But Mike Seeger ensured Lesley was remembered and released Step By Step: Lesley Riddle Meets The Carter Family: Blues, Country & Sacred Songs in 1993.

14. Milton Patton

Black country rapper
Milton Patton rose to fame through America’s Got Talent. Photo: FOX
Source: Getty Images

Milton Patton is another successful country musician from America’s Got Talent. The Arkansas native quickly showed talent and promise when he appeared on the show in 2013, and following his significant exposure from AGT, Milton was offered a $500,000 record deal from a major record label.

13. Dobie Gray

Black country group
Musical guests Dobie Gray and Uncle Kracker performed on ‘The Tonight Show with Jay Leno’ on May 5, 2003. Photo: Paul Drinkwater
Source: Getty Images

Dobie Gray is an easily-recognisable name in country music, especially for fans who listen to the classics. The American singer and songwriter’s career spanned the pop, soul, and country genres and musical theatre. Some of his biggest hits include Drift Away and The ‘In’ Crowd, and he sold well over one million copies of his music.

12. Jimmie Allen

Black country music
Jimmie Allen performed on day three of ‘Live In The Vineyard Goes Country’ at Regusci Winery on 27 April 2023 in Napa, California. Photo: Steve Jennings
Source: Getty Images

American country music singer James Edward Allen gained fame mainly over the past few years and was signed to Broken Bow Records imprint Stoney Creek. In 2018, Jimmie released two singles, Best Shot and Make Me Want To, off his album Mercury Lane. His latest release, Be Alright, was released in 2023 to critical acclaim.

11. DeFord Bailey

Black country singer American Idol
DeFord Bailey dominated the music scene from the 1920s until 1941 when his career ended abruptly. Photo: GAB Archive
Source: Getty Images

Country music and blues star DeFord Bailey dominated the music scene from the 1920s until 1941 when the talented musician’s career ended abruptly. DeFord was in the prime of his career when WSM fired him in 1941, stemming from a licensing conflict between BMI and ASCAP. This meant his best-known songs were not played on the radio, and once he was fired from Opry, his once-soaring career came to a sad and sudden end.

10. Ray Charles

What Black artists are at the Country Music Awards?
American singer, songwriter, and pianist Ray Charles is one of the most influential musicians in history. Photo: Gamma-Rapho
Source: Getty Images

Ray Charles is a name that needs no introduction. The singer, songwriter and pianist is widely considered one of the most influential musicians in history and embraced the genres of blues, pop, jazz, R&B, and country music with equal enthusiasm. Ray’s country music career began in the 1960s and was well-received, like most of his music.

9. Darius Rucker

Who are the top 10 Black country singers?
Darius Rucker was one of the talented singers who performed during CMA Fest’s milestone 50th anniversary. Photo: Larry McCormack
Source: Getty Images

Darius Carlos Rucker first gained fame as the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist of the rock band Hootie & the Blowfish, founded in 1986 by himself along with Mark Bryan, Jim ‘Soni’ Sonefeld, and Dean Felber. Once Darius announced the band would take a hiatus in 2008, he released his first country debut later in the same year, Learn to Live. The lead single, Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It, reached number one.

8. Rufus Payne

Rufus Payne, fondly also known by his nickname ‘Tee Tot’, is an early-20th-century musician from Greenville, Alabama. Despite being referred to as a blues artist, Rufus was also highly-influential in the country music genre and was the older mentor of country music icon Hank Williams.

7. Carl Ray

Black country singer American Idol
Carl Ray gained fame with country music fans through his song ‘I Stand With This Country,’ released in 2020. Photo: officialcarlray
Source: Getty Images

Carl Ray is a singer that may be lesser known on this list but has released music that has caught many country fans’ attention, primarily through his song I Stand With This Country. Released in 2020, the song promotes unity in the USA; his music has many religious themes.

6. Petrella Ann Bonner

Black male country singers 1990s
Petrella Ann Bonner is the self-proclaimed ‘first lady of country soul.’ Photo: @heli0polis on Twitter BrianAJackson via Getty Images (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

American country music singer, songwriter, and music producer Petrella Ann Bonner is the self-proclaimed ‘first lady of country soul’ and has enjoyed a decades-long career. With eight studio albums and various songs released on the Top 100 Country Singles charts, Petrella is a prominent figure in the genre.

5. Henry Glover

Also known as Henry Bernard, the record executive, businessman, musician, and songwriter is predominantly known for his work as a talented producer Artist and Repertoire (A&R) man for King Records. Besides this, he made significant contributions to country music through his musical talent, including providing the opening riff of Blues Stay Away from Me.

4. Charley Pride

Who was the famous Black country singer?
Jimmie Allen and Charley Pride performed onstage during the 54th Annual CMA Awards at Nashville’s Music City Center on 11 November 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo: Terry Wyatt
Source: Getty Images

Charley Pride is considered by many as the most successful Black country musician in the genre. Among his most impressive achievements include being the first Black member of the Grand Ole Opry since DeFord Bailey decades before him, the first Black artist to have a number-one country record, and the first artist of any race to win the Country Music Association’s male vocalist award two years running. Charley had 29 number-one country hits, 52 Top 10s, and twelve gold albums.

3. The Pointer Sisters

Black male country singers
The Pointer Sisters performed at Annabel’s 4th anniversary party on 10 March 2022 in London, England. Photo: David M. Benett
Source: Getty Images

The 1970s and 1980s saw the Oakland, California, girl group The Pointer Sisters break out into the mainstream market with a diverse range of genres they covered. Their music included touches of electronic music, jazz, R&B, pop, blues, bebop, funk, dance, soul, rock, and country, which made them stand out from other bands at the time.

2. Cowboy Troy

Black male country artists
Cowboy Troy put on a show with Big & Rich live on stage during FOX and Friends All-American Concert Series at FOX Studios on 5 July 2019 in New York City. Photo: Bauzen
Source: Getty Images

Black country singer Troy Lee Coleman III is better known by his stage name Cowboy Troy and was first introduced to fans through the multi-lingual breakdown in the middle of Rollin (The Ballad of Big & Rich), which is the opening song of Big & Rich’s 2004 release Horse of a Different Color. Since then, he has succeeded as a solo artist through songs like I Play Chicken With The Train and Hick Chick.

1. Lil Nas X

Who is the Black man that sings country music?
Billy Ray Cyrus and Lil Nas X performed their hit song ‘Old Town Road’ together during the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards on 26 January 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Kevin Mazur
Source: Getty Images

Black country rapper and singer Lil Nas X became a music sensation through his hit Old Town Road, featuring country music darling Billy Ray Cyrus. The song spent 19 weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and he has had multiple hits over different genres reach number one since.

Black country singers remain a less included demographic in the country genre but have been instrumental in its rise to fame, with many Black county singers developing the genre into what we know it to be today.

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