Country music, often associated with rural America and Southern traditions, has a rich history deeply rooted in storytelling and emotion. While it has traditionally been seen as a genre dominated by white artists, Black country singers have played a significant role in shaping this musical landscape. Perhaps the reason is because Black Americans actually created the genre. These talented individuals have defied stereotypes, broken barriers and made their mark on the country music scene. For those unaware of the artists who have or are currently conquering this historically Black genre, here is an introduction to some notable Black country singers ranked in order of who to check out first based on their impact. 

There is no better time to get into these Black country artists than now with the recent release of Beyoncé’s highly anticipated Renaissance act II album COWBOY CARTER. Get to know the mix of up-and-coming and trailblazing country artists that Bey features in the second part to her album trilogy here.

Need To Know Black Country Singers

Charley Pride

One of the most iconic Black country singers in history, Charley Pride, broke down racial barriers with his soulful voice and remarkable talent. Born in Mississippi in 1934, Pride faced numerous challenges on his path to stardom. Despite the industry’s initial reluctance to embrace a Black country artist (ironic, right?), Pride’s perseverance paid off, and he went on to release a string of hit songs, including “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'” and “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone.” Charley Pride’s success not only opened doors for other Black artists but also shattered stereotypes about who could be a country music star.

Darius Rucker

Darius Rucker, the lead singer of Hootie & the Blowfish, made a successful transition from rock to country in the 2000s. His solo career as a country artist took off with hits like “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” and “Wagon Wheel.” Rucker’s smooth vocals and relatable lyrics have earned him respect within the country music community, proving that his talent knows no boundaries.

Mickey Guyton

Mickey Guyton is an emerging Black country artist who is making waves in the industry. With songs like “Black Like Me” and “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?” Guyton addresses important issues of race and gender in her music. Her powerful voice and meaningful lyrics have earned her critical acclaim, and she continues to inspire change and inclusivity within the country music world.

Jimmie Allen

Jimmie Allen’s rise to country stardom has been nothing short of remarkable. His debut single, “Best Shot,” topped the Billboard Country Airplay chart, making him the first Black artist to achieve this feat since Charley Pride. Allen’s unique blend of country, pop and R&B influences has resonated with fans and pushed the genre’s boundaries.

Kane Brown

Kane Brown is another Black country artist who has taken the industry by storm. With hits like “Heaven” and “What Ifs,” Brown’s smooth voice and relatable songs have made him a fan favorite. He has set records by becoming the first artist in Billboard history to top all five of the magazine’s main country charts simultaneously.

Dom Flemmons

Dom Flemons Jr. is an American musician, singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist known for his significant contributions to the revival of traditional American folk music. Flemons initially gained recognition as a founding member of the Grammy Award-winning band Carolina Chocolate Drops. The band’s unique sound and commitment to showcasing the African American roots of American folk music garnered critical acclaim and a dedicated following.

Flemons’ solo career took off after his time with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and he released several albums that showcase his musical versatility and creativity. Some of his notable solo albums include Prospect Hill (2014) and Black Cowboys (2018), which explored the often-overlooked contributions of Black cowboys to the American West.Dom Flemons’ dedication to celebrating the diverse roots of American folk music and his commitment to educating others about its history make him a respected figure in the contemporary folk music scene.

DeFord Bailey

DeFord Bailey was a pioneering African American harmonica player and one of the early stars of country music. Bailey’s contributions to country music were significant and enduring, and he played a pivotal role in shaping the genre during its formative years. Because of the time he lived through, Bailey faced racial discrimination during his career Despite the impact he had.  However, those who truly understand country music’s history remember him. Additionally, in 1982, long after his peak, he received a long-overdue recognition when he was posthumously inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Bailey is best known for his virtuosic harmonica skills, which earned him the nickname, “The Harmonica Wizard.” Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, DeFord Bailey recorded a series of highly influential harmonica instrumental tracks for Columbia Records. His recordings, including Pan American Blues and Davidson County Blues, showcased his extraordinary talent and helped popularize the harmonica in country music. In 1926, Bailey made history by becoming the first African American to perform on the Grand Ole Opry, the iconic country music radio show based in Nashville, Tennessee.

Brittney Spencer

Brittney Spencer is a rising country music artist known for her soulful voice and poignant songwriting. She is featured on the The Beatles cover song BLACKBIIRD on Beyonce’s new album Cowboy Carter alongside other female Black country singers. Spencer grew up singing in the church in Baltimore, Maryland, and it was here she was also introduced to the country genre. In 2020, her cover of  The Highwomen’s Crowded Table on X went viral and since her career has continued upwards. Spencer’s love for storytelling and their ability to convey raw emotion is evident in her music and why so many fans and artists of the genre, like Maren Morris, Mickey Guyton, Carrie Underwood and more, took a liking to her so quickly. Her music often explores themes of love, loss and resilience, resonating with audiences through its authenticity and vulnerability. With singles like Sober & Skinny and Sorrys Don’t Work Anymore, Spencer has been praised for her distinctive sound and powerful lyrics. You can listen to Spencer’s 2024 debut album My Stupid Life now. 

Reyna Roberts

Beyonce recruited another incredibly talented Black female country singer named Reyna Roberts for her track BLACKBIIRD. Reyna Roberts is a talented country music artist known for her powerful vocals and captivating stage presence. Her “outlaw country” sound is a unique and refreshing take on the genre and what she is praised for by critics, fans and other country stars. Roberts has also opened for or performed alongside big names in the industry such as Reba McEntire, Jamey Johnson and Luke Combs. With singles like Stompin’ Grounds and her debut album Bad Girl Bible Vol 1, Reyna Roberts has proven herself as a rising star in the country music scene, blending traditional country elements with a modern flair or pop, trap and more. 

Willie Jones

Willie Jones is a need-to-know country music artist renowned for his distinctive blend of country, soul and hip-hop influences. He is also featured on Beyonce’s COWBOY CARTER track called JUST FOR FUN. Originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, Jones first gained widespread recognition after his memorable audition on the reality TV show The X Factor in 2012, where he impressed judges with his soulful rendition of Your Man by Josh Turner. Since then, Jones has been making waves in the country music industry with his unique sound and undeniable talent. Jones has also garnered praise for his smooth vocals and innovative approach to the genre with singles like Runs in Our Blood and Down for It. His 2023 studio album Something To Dance To is a great project to get to know his artistry featuring themes of love, heartbreak, resilience and a good ole’ time.


COWBOY CARTER features genre-blending country artist Shaboozey on the tracks SPAGETTII and SWEET HONEY BUCKIIN’. Collins Chibueze, known professionally as Shaboozey, is a Nigerian-American country, hip-hop and rap musician from Fairfax, Virginia. Shaboozey’s sound is incredibly unique as it is not tied down to a certain genre. It instead infuses genres that are traditionally considered Black like rap and soul with country to create an authentic sound and making him a seemingly obvious choice for Beyoncé’s COWBOY CARTER tracks of a similar style. Popular tracks of Shaboozey include his 2018 collaboration with DUCKWRTH called Start a Riot for the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse soundtrack and Annabelle from his new album, Where I’ve Been, isn’t Where I’m Going coming May 31. You can also check out Shaboozey’s previous albums including his debut album Lady Wrangler and sophomore album Cowboys Live Forever, Outlaws Never Die.

Tanner Adell 

Tanner Adell is another of the Black country artists featured on COWBOY CARTER’s Black female led rendition of The Beatles’ song Blackbird. Pop-country music singer-songwriter Tanner Adell has made her mark on the country music industry in only a few years. She defines her style of music as glam country, a form of country music that combines the glamorous attributes of Hollywood, high fashion and pop-stardom. It may sound frivolous but Adell’s music combines the unique, feel good sound with important messages of inclusivity. Her biggest hit Buckle Bunny from her 2023 debut album of the same title plays on the misogynistic stereotype hurled at fashionable, female rodeo-goers for being “groupies.” 

Adell told BET, “I’ve been called a Buckle Bunny multiple times. So, for me, it was a no-brainer. I wanted to take the term and turn it on its head into something fun.”

Adell has been a long time fan of Beyoncé, who she cites as an inspiration. This influence is evident in her country-diva hits like FU-150 and Throw It Back. Check out these songs and more of Tanner Adell. 

Tiera Kennedy

BLACKBIIRD on COWBOY CARTER also features the beautifully blended vocals of Tiera Kennedy. Alabama native Tiera Kennedy is an up and coming country singer and songwriter known for her vocals and for combining R&B into the genre for her own unique sound. She has been singing and writing music since she was young with gospel and R&B music being the beginning of her self-taught journey within it. After teaching herself to play the guitar and perfecting her songwriting, Kennedy began performing at more and more venues and making her name known in country. She also has her own show for Apple Music Country called The Tiera Show. Kennedy’s discography includes popular tracks like the 2023 track Jesus, My Mamma, My Therapist and 2022’s Found It In You. You can also check out her independently released, debut EP Tiera. 

Black Singers Who Have Dabbled in Country Music

Ray Charles

Ray Charles, the iconic American singer, songwriter and pianist, is renowned for his groundbreaking exploration and fusion of various musical genres, including rhythm and blues, soul, gospel, and even country music. 

One of the key milestones in Ray Charles’ exploration of country music came with the release of his 1962 album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music. This groundbreaking album featured Charles’ interpretations of country classics, such as “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” “You Don’t Know Me,” and “Born to Lose”. His unique arrangements, blending his soulful, gospel-inflected voice with lush orchestration, made these country standards uniquely his own.

The album earned him multiple Grammy Awards and introduced country music to a wider, more racially diverse audience. It also challenged prevailing racial barriers in the music industry by demonstrating that a Black artist could excel in a traditionally white-dominated genre. His contributions to country music, as well as his enduring impact on the broader music landscape, cement his place as one of the most important and influential figures in 20th-century American music.

Tina Turner

Tina Turner, the iconic rock and soul singer, delved into country music with her 1983 album titled Private Dancer. This album marked a significant departure from her earlier rock and R&B work and incorporated country and pop elements into her music.

The standout country-infused track on Private Dancer was “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” which became one of Tina Turner’s biggest hits and won multiple Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year. The song featured a blend of rock, pop and country influences, with its catchy melody and relatable lyrics.

Tina Turner’s exploration of country music on Private Dancer demonstrated her versatility as an artist and her ability to adapt to different musical styles while maintaining her signature powerful vocals and stage presence. While she continued to excel in rock and soul, her brief foray into country music with this album added another layer to her storied career and helped introduce her to a new generation of fans.


That’s right, THE Beyoncé made a notable crossover into the country genre with her participation in Daddy Lessons, a song from her 2016 album Lemonade. Daddy Lessons has a distinct country flavor, featuring acoustic guitars, a country-style rhythm and lyrics that touch on themes commonly found in country music, such as family, heritage and lessons learned. Beyoncé performed the song with a country band during her performance at the 2016 Country Music Association Awards, where she shared the stage with The Chicks.

Now as of March 29, 2024, the megastar has made her official crossover to country music with her new album COWBOY CARTER. Fans of Queen Bey have long speculated that the rumored Renaissance Act II album would explore the country genre and they were not disappointed to be correct. In typical Queen Bey style, the album was a surprise announcement made during the Super Bowl along with the release of two singles TEXAS HOLD ‘EM and 16 CARRIAGES. Beyoncé revealed on her Instagram that her inspiration to create this album was after an experience years ago where she did not feel welcomed into the genre. Fans believe that 2016 CMA Awards is the experience the star is referring to. Beyonce wrote that she took away from that experience a desire to dive deeper into country music and understand its history.

Despite criticism of her entering the genre and after five years of creating and perfecting it, Beyoncé released the 27-track instant hit album. The album takes you on a ride through the sunset with powerful vocals, themes like love, family, and identity, as well as up-beat bops to dance to. Country legends like Linda Martell, Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson make cameos on the album and covers of iconic hits like Jolene by Parton and Blackbird by The Beatles grace the track list. Check out the album now to hear Beyoncé in a way you have never heard her before. 

Lionel Richie

Lionel Richie, the acclaimed singer-songwriter and former member of the Commodores, embarked on a notable exploration of country music in the more recent stages of his career. In 2012, Lionel Richie released the album Tuskegee, which was a unique project that saw him reimagining his classic hits alongside some of the biggest names in country music. Collaborating with artists like Shania Twain, Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw, Richie gave his songs a country twist, blending his signature R&B and pop sound with country elements.

Tuskegee was well-received by both country and pop audiences, and it achieved commercial success. The album debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 chart and was certified Platinum. Lionel Richie’s crossover into country music demonstrated his versatility as an artist and his ability to connect with a diverse range of music lovers.

Lil Nas X

Lil Nas X, or Montero Lamar Hill, made headlines with his groundbreaking fusion of hip-hop and country music in 2019 with his viral hit single “Old Town Road.” The song, which featured elements of both rap and country, became a cultural phenomenon and topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for a record-breaking 19 consecutive weeks.

“Old Town Road” drew inspiration from country themes, with lyrics referencing horses and cowboy culture, while also incorporating hip-hop beats and production. The song’s catchy melody and memorable chorus made it an instant hit, and it gained further attention through social media platforms like TikTok.

While “Old Town Road” was initially embraced by country fans and artists, it also sparked a debate about the definition of country music and the inclusion of hip-hop elements within the genre. Billboard briefly removed the track from its Hot Country Songs chart, citing its insufficient country elements, but later reinstated it due to the controversy and its undeniable popularity.

Black country singers have played a vital role in shaping the genre’s history and pushing it forward. Through their talent, determination and willingness to challenge stereotypes, these artists have left an indelible mark on country music. Their stories serve as a testament to the power of music to break down barriers and unite people from all walks of life. It is a shame that Black Americans must advocate to have a space within a genre they conceived but it is pleasing to see that slowly but successfully happening.