Country music is a genre shaped by many talented and inspiring female singers. From older legends to modern stars, these women have made their mark on the music industry and the world.
In this article, we will celebrate the best female country singers of all time.
1. Dolly Parton
Those who love country music need no introduction to the legendary and charismatic Dolly Parton. Known as the “Queen of Country,” her influential career in the music industry spans several decades and is filled with countless hits, memorable performances, and numerous Grammy Awards.
Her iconic song, “I Will Always Love You,” ranks among BMI's top 30 most-performed songs, a testament to her lasting impact.
2. Patsy Cline
Patsy Cline, born in Virginia and considered one of the most influential musicians of the twentieth century, was a true trailblazer. As a Virgo with an immense talent for music, she transcended genre boundaries by crossing over from country to pop music.
3. Reba McEntire
Oh, how we adore Reba McEntire! Born on March 28, 1955, this American country music singer and actress has incredibly shaped the genre. Some even lovingly refer to her as “the Queen of Country” due to her impressive reign in country music.
4. Taylor Swift
A pop superstar who started as a country singer, with songs like “Tim McGraw,” “You Belong with Me,” and “Love Story.” She later crossed over to pop music with albums like 1989, Reputation, and Folklore, which showcased her versatility and creativity.
She has won 11 Grammy Awards and is one of the best-selling music artists of all time. She is also known for her personal and confessional songwriting style and her feuds with other celebrities.
5. Tammy Wynette
Tammy Wynette was a trailblazing country music artist, often hailed as the “First Lady of Country Music.” She played a crucial role in opening doors for female singers in the industry, particularly during the 1970s.
Known for her tearful, emotive performances, Tammy Wynette earned the title of “Heroine of Heartbreak.”
6. Miranda Lambert
Miranda Lambert is an extremely versatile American country singer, songwriter, and guitarist. She was born in Longview, Texas, on November 10, 1983. With her powerful and emotive vocals, it's no surprise that she has won Female Vocalist of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards multiple times.
With 37 honors from the Academy of Country Music under her belt—making her the most awarded artist in its history—there is no denying that she is one of the greatest female country singers of all time.
7. Carrie Underwood
Carrie Underwood is undoubtedly one of the most successful and beloved female country singers of our time. Her rise to fame began when she came first in the 4th season of American Idol back in 2005, captivating audiences with her incredible voice and undeniable talent.
Since then, Carrie has solidified her place in country music history as the only female artist to have eleven consecutive top-two hits.
8. Shania Twain
The best-selling female artist in country music history, who sold over 100 million records worldwide, with songs like “Any Man of Mine,” “You're Still the One,” and “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!”.
She also crossed over to pop music with her album Come On Over, which is the best-selling studio album by a female artist of all time.
9. Alison Krauss
Alison Krauss is an American bluegrass-country singer and fiddler with masses of talent. She began her career in music at a young age, participating in contests and honing her skills as a musician.
Since then, Alison has become the best-selling bluegrass artist of all time and holds the record for being the most-awarded female artist in Grammy Awards history.
10. Sara Evans
Sara Evans is a popular American country music singer and songwriter. With multiple awards nominations under her belt, she has proven to be a force to be reckoned with in the industry.
Sara has released eight studio albums throughout her career, showcasing her versatility and knack for mixing different genres.
11. Faith Hill
Faith Hill is one of American music's most successful and beloved female country singers. Born Audrey Faith McGraw, she has captivated audiences with her powerful voice and emotive performances.
She has won many awards during her career, including a number of Grammy Awards, as well as Academy of Country Music Awards.
12. Trisha Yearwood
Trisha Yearwood is an iconic American country singer who has captivated audiences with her powerful vocals and heartfelt lyrics. With a decades-long music career, Yearwood has established herself as one of the best female country singers of all time.
Trisha Yearwood has been recognized for her exceptional talent throughout her career, receiving three Grammy Awards for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
13. LeAnn Rimes
LeAnn Rimes is known worldwide as a classic example of a country singer made good. Hailing from Jackson, Mississippi, she rose to fame at the young age of 13. With her unique sound and powerful vocals, LeAnn quickly made a name for herself in the music industry.
LeAnn Rimes has not only captured the hearts of fans but also garnered critical acclaim. She has won two Grammy Awards, including Best Female Country Vocal Performance for “Blue” and Best New Artist.
14. Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris holds a prominent place among the best female country singers of all time. Her powerful vocals, heartfelt lyrics, and soulful performances have captivated audiences for decades.
One of the things that sets Harris apart is her collaborations with other renowned musicians. She has worked alongside legends like Neil Young and Linda Ronstadt, creating beautiful harmonies and unforgettable duets.
15. Patty Loveless
Patty Loveless is a highly acclaimed American country music singer who has significantly impacted the genre. With her powerful vocals and neotraditional country sound, she has become one of the most popular female singers in the industry.
Loveless's talent has been recognized numerous times, as she has won multiple times the Top Female Vocalist award at the Academy of Country Music.
16. Linda Ronstadt
Linda Ronstadt has left a lasting impact on both the rock and country music scenes. Born in Tucson, Arizona, on July 15, 1946, she rose to fame during the rising country rock movement of the 1960s.
Throughout her career, she has released a total of 24 studio albums, showcasing her incredible talent and artistic collaborations with artists from different genres.
17. Lorrie Morgan
Lorrie Morgan is an American country music singer and actress who stands out from the merely mediocre. Born in Nashville, Tennessee, on June 27, 1959, Lorrie has always had a musical background.
Despite being the daughter of a legendary figure in country music, Lorrie Morgan has carved out her own path and made a mark on the genre all by herself.
18. Crystal Gayle
Crystal Gayle is a country music singer and performer who has captured the hearts of fans with her warm, velvety vocal style and stunning floor-length tresses. Born Brenda Gail Webb, she adopted the stage name Crystal Gayle after a burger joint.
With an impressive career spanning several decades, Crystal Gayle has achieved eighteen number-one hits. She has been recognized as one of her era's most popular female country singers.
19. Barbara Mandrell
Born on December 25, 1948, Barbara Mandrell is an American country music legend. She is not only a singer and musician but also an accomplished actress and author. In the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, Mandrell achieved immense success in her career.
She was honored with the prestigious CMA Female Vocalist of the Year award in 1979 and went on to win Entertainer of the Year consecutively in both 1980 and '81 – becoming the first artist to achieve this feat.
20. Lee Ann Womack
Lee Ann Womack rose to fame with her hit single “I Hope You Dance” in 2000, which became a major crossover hit and solidified her place in the industry of country music.
Over the years, Lee Ann Womack has received numerous awards and recognition for her incredible contributions to country music. In fact, she was named the best new female vocalist of 1997, kicking off what would be a successful career filled with commercial success.
21. Kitty Wells
Kitty Wells, also known as “The Queen of Country Music,” holds a special place in the history of female country singers. She was a true pioneer and groundbreaker, becoming the first woman to score a solo hit on the top of the Billboard Country charts.
Kitty Wells was voted Billboard's Female Country Artist multiple times from 1953-1965, solidifying her status as one of the most powerful women in country music.
22. Wynonna Judd
Wynonna Judd is a powerful and unforgettable American country music singer who has impacted the genre. She first rose to fame in the 1980s as part of the popular country duo, The Judds, alongside her mother, Naomi Judd.
After the duo disbanded, Wynonna embarked on a successful solo career, showcasing her powerful vocals and songwriting prowess.
23. Jennifer Nettles
A highly respected female country singer, Jennifer Nettles was born on September 12, 1974, and has been making waves in the music industry for decades. Most notably, Nettles is the lead singer of the popular country band Sugarland but has also found success as a solo artist.
Nettles' captivating performances and stage presence have earned her a significant fan base who can't get enough of her incredible talent.
24. June Carter Cash
June Carter Cash was a Grammy-winning country singer who made her mark on the music industry. Born in Maces Spring, Virginia, she was introduced to country music at a young age and developed a passion for Appalachian music.
June Carter Cash's talent extended beyond singing and songwriting—she was also an author, dancer, actress, comedian, philanthropist, and humanitarian.
25. Brenda Lee
Brenda Lee is an American singer known for her incredible vocals and versatile style. She began her career as a rockabilly teen sensation but eventually transitioned into country music, making her mark in Nashville.
With her powerful voice and iconic songs like “Dynamite,” Brenda Lee earned the nickname “Little Miss Dynamite.” She had more top-ten hits in the 1960s than artists like Elvis Presley and The Beatles!
27. Pam Tillis
Pam Tillis is an American country music singer and songwriter who has made a name for herself in the industry. Born on July 24, 1957, Pam Tillis grew up surrounded by music as the daughter of country music legend Mel Tillis.
With her incredible talent and passion for her craft, she has released three gold albums and achieved widespread popularity among country music fans.
28. Kacey Musgraves
Kacey Musgraves has been highly recognized in the American country music industry. She has received numerous accolades for her music, including six Grammy Awards and seven Country Music Association Awards.
One thing that sets Musgraves apart is her unique songwriting style. Her music combines traditional country elements with modern stylings, creating a sound that appeals to a wide audience.
29. Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson is an American success story, a young lady and artist who has made a name for herself in the music industry. As an American singer, songwriter, and performer, she has achieved fame and success with her powerful voice and undeniable talent.
Clarkson first gained national recognition as the winner of the inaugural season of American Idol, which catapulted her to stardom.
30. Anne Murray
Anne Murray is a Canadian singer who has left an indelible mark on the country and pop music scene. With her distinct voice and heartfelt songs, she has captured the hearts of millions of fans worldwide.
Anne Murray's career spans nearly four decades, during which she has sold over 55 million album copies, making her one of the best-selling female artists in history.
31. Mary Chapin Carpenter
Mary Chapin Carpenter has significantly impacted the music industry as an American country and folk music singer-songwriter and who became a part of the esteemed group of female country singers in 1993, alongside artists like Patty Loveless.
Aside from her impressive musical achievements, Carpenter has an interesting background. She spent two years living in Japan and holds a degree in American civilization.
32. Jo Dee Messina
Jo Dee Messina is an American country music artist known as a top performer able to adapt her songwriting and singing to reflect the appeal of the country music industry. With nine number-one singles on the Billboard country music charts, she has proven herself to be a force to be reckoned with.
Growing up, Messina was influenced by some of the biggest names in country music, including the Judds, Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, and Patsy Cline.
33. Terri Clark
Terri Clark is a country music singer who’s popular in both America and Canada. Born on August 5, 1968, she has earned accolades throughout her career, including being named CCMA Female Vocalist of the Year 5 times and winning 8 CCMA Fan's Choice Awards.
As a popular female country artist from Canada, Terri Clark reflects on the nostalgia for the '90s and continues to make meaningful music as an older woman.
34. Bonnie Raitt
Bonnie Raitt is an exceptional singer-songwriter and guitarist who has profoundly impacted the music industry. With her self-titled debut album released in 1971, she quickly gained recognition as one of the most respected musicians of her generation.
Throughout her career, Raitt has showcased a wide range of musical styles, including blues, folk, rhythm and blues, pop, and country rock.
35. Kellie Pickler
Kellie Pickler, an American country music singer, songwriter, actress, and television personality, is an artist who has made her mark in the industry with her honey-voiced singing talent, winning the hearts of many music fans.
Pickler was ranked as the fourteenth best American Idol alumna in 2012 and was nominated for “Top New Female Vocalist” over in the Academy of Country Music Awards.
36. Olivia Newton-John
A pop singer who had country hits like “If You Love Me (Let Me Know),” “Let Me Be There,” and “Please Mr. Please.” She also starred in the movie Grease with John Travolta, which made her a global star. She later had pop hits like “Physical,” “Xanadu,” and “Hopelessly Devoted to You.”
She was also a cancer survivor and an activist for health and environmental causes before her sad demise in 2022.
37. Tanya Tucker
Tanya Tucker is recognized as one of the best female country singers to grace the stage. As part of the Outlaw country movement, she brought rebellious and edgy energy to her music that set her apart.
With relationships with iconic figures like Merle Haggard, Andy Gibb, and Don Johnson, Tanya's personal life often made headlines alongside her career.
38. Sheryl Crow
A rock singer who had country hits like “Picture” with Kid Rock, “If It Makes You Happy,” and “Easy.” She also had pop-rock hits like “Soak Up the Sun,” “All I Wanna Do” and “The First Cut Is the Deepest.”
She has won nine Grammy Awards and is regarded as one of the most successful female rock artists of all time. She is also an activist for various causes, such as climate change and breast cancer awareness.
39. Martina McBride
Martina McBride is an iconic country music figure known for her incredible vocal talent and chart-topping hits. With over 14 million records sold in the U.S., She has established herself as one of the most successful female country artists of all time.
One of McBride's defining features is her soprano vocal range, which captivates audiences with its power and emotion.
40. Loretta Lynn
The coal miner's daughter wrote songs based on her life experiences, such as “One's on the Way,” “The Pill,” and “Rated X.” She also collaborated with Conway Twitty in hit duets. She is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and has won four Grammy Awards. She is also a feminist icon and a mentor to younger artists.
41. Lucinda Williams
A critically acclaimed singer-songwriter who blended country, rock, folk, and blues in her songs, such as “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road,” “Passionate Kisses,” and “Righteously.”
She has won three Grammy Awards and is considered one of the most influential artists of the alternative country movement.
42. Lynn Anderson
A country-pop singer who had a worldwide hit with “(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden,” which won her a Grammy Award. She also had other hits like “You're My Man” and “How Can I Unlove You.” She was one of the first female country artists to achieve international success and recognition.
43. Ashley McBryde
A modern country singer with a rock ‘n roll swagger who puts a fresh spin on classic country themes. She rose to fame with her breakthrough single “A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega,” which earned her a Grammy nomination and a spot on the Grand Ole Opry.
She also had hits like “One Night Standards,” “Never Will,” and “Martha Divine” from her acclaimed album Never Will.
44. Bobbie Gentry
The first female artist to produce her own compositions, she made history with her song “Ode to Billie Joe,” which topped the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks and sparked endless speculation about its meaning.
She also had hits like “Fancy,” “He Made a Woman Out of Me,” and “All I Have to Do Is Dream” with Glen Campbell.
45. Bonnie Tyler
A Welsh singer with a distinctive husky voice, who became one of the most successful female artists of the 1970s and 1980s. She had country hits like “It's a Heartache” and “Holding Out for a Hero,” as well as pop-rock hits like “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and “I Need a Hero.” She has sold over 100 million records worldwide and continues to perform and record new music.
46. Dixie Chicks
The best-selling female group in America blended country, pop, and rock in their songs. They had hits like “Wide Open Spaces,” “Goodbye Earl,” and “Not Ready to Make Nice,” which won them five Grammy Awards. They also faced controversy and backlash for their political views, which they expressed in their music and interviews. They recently changed their name to The Chicks.
47. Gretchen Wilson
A country-rock singer who rose to fame with her anthem “Redneck Woman,” which topped the Billboard country chart for five weeks and won her a Grammy Award. She followed it up with other hits like “Here for the Party,” “All Jacked Up,” and “Homewrecker.”
48. Jeannie C. Riley
She was the first woman to top both the Billboard Hot 100 and the U.S. Hot Country Singles charts with her song “Harper Valley PTA,” which was a controversial critique of hypocrisy and gossip in a small town. She also had hits like “The Girl Most Likely,” “The Rib,” and “Country Girl.”
49. Jessi Colter
The wife of Waylon Jennings and one of the few female artists in the outlaw country movement, who had a hit with “I'm Not Lisa,” which reached number one on the country chart and number four on the pop chart. She also sang with Jennings in duets like “Suspicious Minds” and “Storms Never Last.”
50. Joni Mitchell
She is a legendary singer-songwriter who influenced many genres, including country, with her poetic lyrics and distinctive voice. She also collaborated with artists like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, James Taylor, and Willie Nelson. She has won eight Grammy Awards and is regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of all time.
51. Roseanne Cash
Diving into the depths of country's rich tapestry, Roseanne Cash emerges as a force of her own, despite being the eldest daughter of the legendary Johnny Cash. With a distinctive voice and masterful songwriting skills, Roseanne has earned her space among country's elite.
Songs like “Seven Year Ache” showcase her unique fusion of country with a touch of pop and rock, proving her ability to diversify while staying true to her roots.
52. Maren Morris
Country's modern dynamo, Maren Morris, is a whirlwind of talent, energy, and raw authenticity. Bursting onto the scene with her infectious hit “My Church,” Morris masterfully combines contemporary country sounds with elements of soul and pop.
Recognized with multiple Grammy nominations and wins in her short yet impactful career, Morris is a beacon for the new generation of country enthusiasts.
53. Suzy Bogguss
Delicate yet powerful, Suzy Bogguss's voice has been a comforting fixture in country music since the 1980s. Renowned for her pristine vocals and emotive delivery, Suzy has gifted fans with timeless hits like “Drive South” and “Outbound Plane.”
With numerous accolades under her belt, she has proven her staying power in the ever-evolving landscape of country music.
54. Jean Shepard
A pillar in the annals of classic country, Jean Shepard's presence is synonymous with raw, heartfelt ballads. Known for her honky-tonk style and a career that spanned over six decades, Shepard's commitment to traditional country made her a revered figure.
With hits like “A Dear John Letter” and “Slippin’ Away,” she became a mainstay on the charts and in fans' hearts.
55. Skeeter Davis
Skeeter Davis, with her gentle voice and endearing charm, stands out as one of country music's sweethearts. Best known for her crossover pop hit, “The End of the World,” Davis demonstrated her ability to bridge genres effortlessly.
Over the years, she consistently produced hits that resonated with a broad audience, blending country, pop, and gospel elements.
56. Donna Fargo
When discussing pioneers of country-pop crossovers, Donna Fargo can't be overlooked. With her vibrant personality and catchy tunes, Fargo took the 70s by storm, particularly with her anthem, “The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA.”
While her style was distinctively country, she had the unique ability to resonate with pop audiences, solidifying her position as a multifaceted artist.
57. K.T. Oslin
K.T. Oslin broke onto the country music scene with a fresh, mature perspective, showcasing that talent has no age boundaries. With hits like “80's Ladies” and “Hold Me,” she became the voice of a generation of women who had lived, loved, and learned.
Her lyrical storytelling, coupled with her sultry voice, made Oslin a standout in the late '80s, earning her numerous awards and a lasting place in country music history.
58. Deana Carter
Strawberry wine and soft summer nights—that's the evocative magic Deana Carter brought to the country scene in the '90s. With her iconic hit “Strawberry Wine,” Carter established herself as a storyteller, painting vivid pictures of love and loss.
Her distinctive blend of contemporary and traditional country elements made her a beloved figure during the '90s resurgence of female country artists.
59. Mindy McCready
Mindy McCready's emotive voice and stirring ballads made her a recognizable figure in the 1990s country music landscape. Tracks like “Guys Do It All the Time” showcased her feisty attitude, while “Ten Thousand Angels” revealed a more vulnerable side.
Despite facing personal challenges, McCready's talent was undeniable, and she left behind a musical legacy marked by passion and authenticity.
60. Chely Wright
A force to be reckoned with, Chely Wright brought depth and flair to the country scene in the late '90s and early 2000s. Hits like “Single White Female” showcased her versatility as an artist.
Beyond her musical achievements, Wright made headlines in 2010 when she bravely came out as gay, marking her as one of the first openly LGBTQ+ country artists. Her courage in both her personal life and career makes her a trailblazing figure in the genre.
61. Kathy Mattea
Kathy Mattea is a country singer who had four number-one hits in the late 1980s and early 1990s, such as “Goin' Gone,” “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses,” and “Where've You Been.”
She also had hits like “Love at the Five and Dime,” “Come From the Heart,” and “Walking Away a Winner.” She is known for her social activism, environmentalism, and folk and bluegrass influences.
Top Female Country Singers Ever, Final Thoughts
We hope you enjoyed this article and learned something new about these top female country singers who have enriched the genre and the culture. These women have shown us the power of music, the beauty of diversity, and the courage of expression. They have inspired us with their voices, their stories, and their personalities.