Some of the music industry’s most pioneering women have come from the country music genre. Artists like Shania Twain, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton have inspired countless generations of young female singers.
More often than not, it’s the younger artists that help to push the boundaries of the country music genre itself. Read on to learn about who today’s generation of younger women in country music is and how much they have accomplished at such a young age.
There is something unique about a child singer who has the sound and point of view of someone much older than they really are. Such is the case with Callista Clark, whose song, It’s ‘Cause I Am, highlights the singer’s maturity, despite being only 18 at the time of its release.
Clark has seemingly always been determined to become a country star, teaching herself at least 5 instruments including the ukulele, piano, and the 6-string banjo. Within the span of 3 years, Clark has gone from having viral video notoriety to debuting on the Grand Ole Opry and releasing her first album on a major record label.
Gabby Barrett learned the ropes of being a singer in a gospel choir as a young child. Eventually, Barrett took to singing on the road before her father convinced her to try out on American Idol, lasting all the way to the series finale.
Even though she didn't win the contest, Barrett has had quite an astonishing career since. Her debut single, I Hope, has been certified Platinum 7 times over in the US, allowing her to gain recognition and notoriety as one of country music’s rising stars.
Age is not always an indicator of experience, as can be seen with Danielle Bradbury. Despite being only 27 at the time of this writing, Bradbury has had over 10 years of professional experience thanks to the fact that she won The Voice when she was 16 years old.
Immediately after securing the win, Bradbury went on to sign with Big Machine Records and released her first single, The Heart Of Dixie, which would be certified Gold. Throughout her career, Danielle has released 3 full albums so far, embarking on numerous tours as a supporting act for artists like Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert, and Kane Brown.
All aspiring artists tend to hit roadblocks that sometimes cause them to consider hanging up the phone for good. When Block was in this position, she had a serendipitous run-in with Taylor Swift, who invited her into her car and reoriented her way of thinking.
Block is a prime example of an artist who has utilized social media to further one’s career to staggering heights. The video for her song, Just About Over You, went viral on TikTok, eventually leading fans to contribute funds to have the hit song professionally recorded.
Kassi Ashton’s popularity has been percolating over the last few years, especially with the release of her song, Dates In Pickup Trucks. The song was inspired by a telephone conversation she had with her grandma, who apparently had gone on a pickup truck date with Kassi’s grandpa.
Since the release of that song, Kassi has gone on to make her debut at the Grand Ole Opry in 2023. Most recently, she released a cover version of Christina Aguilera’s Genie In A Bottle, which came at the request of her fans who had seen her perform the song in concert.
Have you ever wondered who the youngest member of the Grand Ole Opry is? At the time of this writing, it’s Lauren Alaina, who was inducted as a member in 2022 at the age of 27.
Lauren quickly rose to popularity following her runner-up status in the show, American Idol. While her 2011 debut album, Wildflower, might have been her most successful to date, she’s had a number of songs touch the #1 chart position, including 3 different collaborative songs with various artists.
Morgan Wade hails from the very musical town of Floyd, Virginia, which is a sort of mecca for bluegrass music. When she was 19 years old, Morgan put together her first band through Craigslist and even played her first show with the group.
Today, the 28-year-old is a fixture in the industry’s current discussions, which she has been all too aware of. In an attempt to troll the public, Kyle Richards (from the Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills) appears in the music video for Fall In Love With Me, in which the 2 seem to have a steamy relationship.
Tenille Arts is one of the most recent artists to hail from Canada, and was discovered at a young age by her neighbor, who heard her singing songs by fellow Canadian, Shania Twain. Despite signing a publishing deal when she was 21, it would take nearly 6 years for Arts to break through to the US mainstream with the song, Somebody Like That.
This song would be huge for both Arts and Canada as it was the country’s first #1 hit in the US in 14 years. But, those in Canada are all too familiar with Arts considering she has had 48 award nominations (with 23 wins) since 2016.
Tenille Arts isn’t the only Tenille to come from Canada and make it big in the world of country music. Tenille Townes also grew up listening to and singing Shania Twain songs and was even pulled up on stage during one of Shania’s concerts.
While Townes might be one of Canada’s Female Country Artist Of The Year in 2019, her success hasn’t gotten the best of her. For over a decade, Townes has been hosting a charity to raise funds for young children who are on the verge of homelessness in her hometown of Grande Prairie, Alberta.
When she was 19, Caylee Hammack moved to Nashville and lived in a parking lot for a few weeks until she got a job. Of course, she had to use a fake ID to get into a honky tonk bar, where she convinced the band to let her sing, which eventually landed Caylee her first gig.
Hammack grew up singing in bars and churches as a child and even began writing about serious topics like addiction as a young teenager. All of her troubles along the way seemed to have paid off when she made her Grand Ole Opry debut in 2019.
If you watched The Voice back in 2012, you might remember a young RaeLynn who was on Blake Shelton’s team. While she didn’t win that season’s contest, RaeLynn’s 2017 debut album, WildHorse would prove that her success didn’t need to rely on a win.
By that point in time, RaeLynn’s popularity was so high that WildHorse actually started out at the #1 position at the time of its release. Since then, RaeLynn has continued to release music and has ventured into television.
Kelsea Ballerini’s career might be the epitome of meteoric when studying her first 3 albums. These albums have produced over a handful of smash hits, with Peter Pan being her biggest hit to date, racking up over 72 million plays on YouTube, alone.
Interestingly enough, Ballerini’s primary influences come from the world of late 1990s and early 2000s pop music, with Taylor Swift being her entry into the genre.
Every music fan has heard the stories of artists who were essentially living in destitution before making their big break. Lainey Wilson moved out to Nashville as a 19-year-old and began living in an RV camper, often wearing layers of coats to sleep during the winter.
It would be a few lonely years until Lainey’s music gained traction, and from there, Lainey was catapulted to country music stardom with her 2020 song, Things A Man Oughta Know, and cemented with her album, Bell Bottom Country. Lainey has also had a recurring role in the phenomenal television series, Yellowstone.
Considering that much of the world grew up with Miley Cyrus, it might be hard to believe she’s now in her 30s. Surely, some eyebrows might be raised by those who feel that the daughter of the man who sang Achy Breaky Heart isn’t actually a country singer.
It’s true, Miley Cyrus is a bit of a genre chameleon, which has only become more evident in recent years, especially when she collaborated with The Flaming Lips, among many others. Because Miley has released so much music, it can be easy to forget that her early career was steeped heavily in that country sound, with The Climb being a country radio hit.
Ingrid Andress had an unusual childhood in that she often rollerbladed around empty baseball stadiums. The reason for this is that she was frequently traveling with her father, who happened to be the manager for the Colorado Rockies.
In fact, Andress primarily focused on sports before transitioning to songwriting after realizing that she could make a living from music. Her hit track, Lady Like, references her family and what their reaction might be upon meeting her new boyfriend after being such big fans of her ex-boyfriend.
Not too many singers have the ability to convince their parents to let them drop out of high school to pursue a music career. Carly Pearce was able to do just that while cutting her teeth singing at Dollywood numerous times per week.
By the time she was in her late teens, she was living the stereotypical life of a musician waiting tables and cleaning houses until she got a chance to perform at the Grand Ole Opry at the age of 25. Now, Pearce is one of the biggest female singers in country music today and was officially inducted into the Opry as a member in 2021.
Thanks to karaoke and an encouraging father, Maren Morris got her start as a singer and songwriter when she was just 11 years old. By the time she was 21, Maren had already released 3 full-length albums.
It wasn’t until Morris released her track, My Church, that she began to experience mainstream notoriety. Since 2016, all of Maren’s major label albums have been considered the most popular releases of their time, 2 of which reached the #1 spot on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart, and the other reaching #2.
Cassadee Pope is the only singer on this list to have been in a pop-punk band before venturing into country music. That band was known as Hey Monday, which became big enough to join the Warped Tour before calling it quits.
Soon after, Pope appeared on The Voice, eventually earning 3rd place before releasing her smash hit debut album, Frame By Frame. Cassadee has continued to release a steady stream of music, often featuring collaborations and a surprise visit back to pop-punk.
Taylor Swift is one artist that needs no introduction. Having recently been named a billionaire following The Eras tour, Swift has accomplished more things by her early 30s than most could ever dream of.
Taylor has been incredibly smart throughout her long career, and utilizes her massive fanbase with care, though she isn’t afraid to speak out against wrongdoings. She’s also shown an immense amount of tenacity in the fact that she’s willing to re-record her earlier catalog so many years later just to receive all of her royalties and to prove a point to the music industry as a whole.
Without Taylor’s contributions, many of the singers in this article might not be in the shoes they are today. An overwhelming majority of the included singers have all cited Taylor as a massive influence.
Top Young Female Country Singers, Final Thoughts
The music industry as a whole has largely been dominated by men, and it’s really only been in the last 30 years that women have been given any sort of artistic autonomy. Women have been an especially crucial aspect in the growth of country music’s popularity throughout that time.
Today’s young women are helping to progress the genre while continuing to inspire the generations to follow. In just a few short years, many of the names on this list will have inspired country’s next up-and-coming artists.