The best black country singers of all time come from various backgrounds.
Whether they started in other genres or have roots in country music, these talented musicians have significantly impacted the world.
Although they are outnumbered in the industry, many African-American artists still have broken stereotypes and barriers to achieving success.
Let’s take a look at several singers you should know.
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The 10 Best Black Country Singers of All Time
We’ve searched the country genre for the greatest black vocalists ever to take the stage.
Keep reading to discover the 10 best black country singers of all time:
10. Tina Turner
You may know her as one of the best 80s female singers of all time, but Tina Turner also ranks among the best black country singers.
Born Anna Mae Bullock, Tina Turner has dominated multiple genres, from rock and pop to country music. She started out singing in a duo with her ex-husband, Ike, but eventually left to pursue a solo career.
In 1974, while she was still part of the Ike & Tina Revue, she released a country album, Tina Turns The Country On!, under the United Artists Records label.
Turner’s debut album included covers of popular songs by artists like Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton, and Olivia Newton-John and ended up earning her a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance at the 1975 Awards.
Some of her greatest country hits include “Bayou Song” by P.J. Morse, “There’ll Always Be Music” by Dolly Parton, and Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through the Night.”
Although she didn’t stay within the country genre’s confines, Tina Turner proved that she could excel in it.
Although white females have historically dominated as the best female country singers of all time, Petrella Ann Bonner is one singer to be reckoned with.
She was one of the greatest country music stars of the late 80s and dubbed the “first lady of country soul.”
She first started performing at her church and grade school as a young girl and, in 1989, received her first record deal with Ridgewood Records.
Eventually, she went on to sign with one of the biggest record labels in the world, Warner Bros. Records.
Some of her best-known hits include “This Isn’t Goodbye,” which charted #14 on the Up and Coming Chart, and “Blues Stay Away From Me,” which made it to #85 on the Cashbox Top 100 Country Singles chart.
In 1994, she was named Songwriter of the Year by the Tennessee Songwriters Association for her song “Living on a Shoestring.”
Throughout her career, she had the opportunity to open for famous acts, including Gladys Knight, Tracy Lawrence, and Billy Vera.
8. Cowboy Troy
Troy Lee Coleman III (a.k.a. Cowboy Troy) is a Texas-born rapper, singer, and songwriter who stormed the country music industry in the late 90s and early to mid-2000s.
In college, he started performing at clubs and blending hip-hop with country, eventually known as “hick-hop.”
Early in his career, he released his first solo album, Loco Motive, through RAYBAW Records and Warner Music Group.
In 2005, it made the #2 spot on the Billboard Country Albums chart, while the first single, “I Play Chick with the Train,” reached #48 on the Hot Country Songs chart.
A few of his other most famous songs include “Our America,” “Hick Chick,” and “If You Don’t Wanna Love Me.”
He’s collaborated with several popular artists like Vanilla Ice, Big & Rich, Gretchen Wilson, and Sarah Buxton, and he starred in the 2022 Western movie Desperate Riders.
As one of the greatest representatives of the country rap genre, Cowboy Troy set the stage for more artists to embrace the hick-hop genre.
7. Ray Charles
Although when most people think of Ray Charles Robinson Sr., they think of R&B, soul, and jazz, he was actually quite the country star as well.
As a talented singer, songwriter, and pianist, Charles is regarded as one of the most influential vocalists in music history.
As a young boy, he began studying classical piano, and as a teenager, he began performing in various bands.
Then, in 1952, he signed with Atlantic Records to release his own R&B, jazz, and blues music featuring his vocals.
In the 1960s, he crossed over into the country music genre, releasing two highly successful albums through ABC Records, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2.
Charles is one of the most recognizable voices in music history and has earned worldwide fame for his songs, “Georgia On My Mind,” “Hit The Road Jack,” and countless other hits.
If you’re a Ray Charles fan, we suggest checking out our list of the best songs about loneliness, which features his song “Lonely Avenue.”
Among the country soul star’s countless achievements are eighteen Grammies and inductions into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (1986), the Rhythm & Blues Foundation (1991), and the Country Music Hall of Fame (2022). In addition, ten of his songs have also earned a spot in the Grammy Hall of Fame.
6. Jimmie Allen
James Edward Allen (stage name Jimmie Allen) is another famous name in country music who made a name for himself after a rough start.
After moving to Nashville in 2007, Allen became homeless and then decided to audition for the tenth season of American Idol. Although he was cut from the show, he made friends with Scotty McCreery, who went on to win.
In 2017, he signed to the Broken Bow Records’ imprint, Stoney Creek, and began releasing music, achieving three #1 singles on the U.S. Country Airplay charts in 2018, 2019, and 2021. “Best Shot,” “Make Me Want To,” and “This Is Us” are a few of his most famous tracks.
He’s also collaborated with various other artists, including Noah Cyrus, Nelly, Cheat Codes, and Brad Paisley.
Allen became the second black artist to win New Male Artist of the Year at the 2021 Country Music Association Awards.
5. Mickey Guyton
Mickey Guyton, born Candace Mycale Guyton, is a well-known African American singer in two of the most popular music genres, country and R&B.
At five years old, she started developing an interest in music and began singing in church choirs.
After high school, Guyton moved to L.A. to pursue a career as a musician, where she met record producer Julian Raymond, who introduced her to country music industry professionals.
She then moved to Nashville and signed with Capitol Records, becoming the first-ever black female artist to score a recording deal with a major label.
Thanks to her collaboration with Dean Brody on “Boys,” she became the first black woman to have a #1 hit on the Canadian Country chart.
Other popular songs of hers include “Black Like Me,” “Heartbreak Song,” and her debut single, “Better Than You Left Me.”
Throughout her career thus far, she’s collaborated with Florida Georgia Line, Gladys Knight, Breland, and Dean Brody.
Guyton has received multiple nominations from the Academy of Country Music Awards, Grammy Awards, CMA Awards, and CMT Music Awards.
4. Aaron Neville
Aaron Joseph Neville is an R&B, soul, and country star who was one of the first black country singers to reach #1 on the Billboard charts.
In 1967, Neville released his first major hit single, “Tell It Like It Is,” under Par-Lo, a small record label in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Throughout his career, he released four platinum-selling albums and four top-ten U.S. hits. Some of his most famous collaborations include Linda Rondstadt, Trisha Yearwood, and Anne Murray.
His best-known songs include “Tell It Like It Is,” which topped the U.S. R&B chart in 1966, “The Grand Tour,” which made #38 on the U.S. Country charts in 1993, and “I Fall To Pieces,” which charted #72 on the Billboard Country charts in 1994.
Nevill also earned three Grammy Awards and also appeared in a variety of films, including The Fan (1996), Boycott (2001), Sandy Wexler (2017), and Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (2019).
3. Kane Brown
Kane Allen Brown is the newest and youngest face on this list who has achieved international stardom in the country rap genre.
As a child, he sang in his high school choir with country singer Lauren Alaina. After performing at his high school talent show, he pursued a country music career and auditioned for American Idol and The X Factor.
In 2014, he started posting covers on his social media, which went viral. This led to him fundraising to record his first EP, Closer, which debuted at #22 on the Top Country Albums chart, eventually leading to a record deal with Sony Music Nashville in 2016.
A few of his most popular songs are “Worldwide Beautiful,” “What Ifs,” “Used To Love You Sober,” and “Heaven.”
Kane Brown has amassed quite the award collection, including one ACM Award, one CMT Music Award, one American Music Award, and three American Music Awards.
2. Darius Rucker
Darius Carlos Rucker’s baritone voice has helped him achieve major musical success in the country music genre.
He first acquired fame when he founded and became the lead singer and guitarist for the rock n roll band Hootie & the Blowfish in 1986.
During his time with the band, they had six top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and released Cracked Rear View, one of the best-selling albums of all time. In 2002, Rucker released a solo R&B album, Back to Then, with Hidden Beach Recordings.
Then, in 2008, he signed with Capitol Records to pursue a country music career and released the album, Learn to Live.
Some of his most popular tunes include “Alright,” “Come Back Song,” “Wagon Wheel,” and “Homegrown Honey.”
Rucker is the first solo black artist to have a #1 country hit since Charley Pride, which he earned with his first single, “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It.”
He is the first black American singer to win the CMA’s New Artist Award in 2009 and won three Grammy Awards and one Academy of Country Music Award.
1. Charley Pride
Charley Frank Pride tops our list of the best black country singers with his smooth country gospel vocals and catchy hit songs.
Pride was a professional baseball player before he made it big, and he was asked to sing for fifteen minutes before every game. He also played local shows as a solo artist and with a band.
He signed with RCA Records in 1966 and became one of their best-selling performers in the early to mid-70s and had fifty-two top ten hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.
Among his greatest tunes are “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin,'” “All I Have to Offer You (Is Me),” and “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone,” all of which charted on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 1971, he was named Entertainer of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards, and in 1972, he won a Grammy for Best Vocal Country Solo Performance.
Charley Pride was also inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000 and is one of just three black members of the Grand Ole Opry.
These exceptional black country singers have performed some of the greatest country classics, from “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'” and “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” to “Georgia On My Mind.”
Charley Pride earns the top spot, in our opinion, because of his long list of achievements and the fact that he was the first black country singer who paved the way for the next generations.
So, the next time you think of country music, don’t forget about the incredible African-American musicians who have challenged the status quo.
Who do you think is the best black country singer of all time? Leave a comment below.
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