18 Famous Black Country Singers Of All Time

Country music, a genre deeply rooted in the narrative, emotions, and melodies of Southern American States, has witnessed significant growth over the years.

While historically dominated by white artists, recent times have seen a rise in diversity and inclusion, with Black country singers making remarkable contributions to the genre.

In this article, we will introduce you to some of the most famous Black country singers who have shaped the sound of country music and brought their unique perspectives to the forefront.

Country music emerged in the early 1920s in the Southern American States. Its simple melodies, emotional lyrics, and themes of love and loss struck a chord with listeners, making it a beloved genre.

Country music draws inspiration from various sources, including old-style instruments like the guitar, banjo, and fiddle. It also incorporates elements from other music genres like rock and pop, giving it a diverse and dynamic sound.

Best Black Country Singers

Traditionally, country music was predominantly associated with white artists.

However, the genre has evolved, and more People of Colour, including Black artists, have made their mark in recent years, challenging stereotypes and increasing diversity.

DeFord Bailey

DeFord Bailey, an American country music and blues star, gained popularity during the 1920s.

Renowned for his mastery of the harmonica, he earned the nickname “harmonica wizard.” Bailey was part of the first generation of live radio performers and toured with well-known country artists during the 1930s.

However, a royalties disagreement led to his dismissal as an entertainer. Despite this setback, he made a triumphant return to the limelight in the 1970s and was posthumously inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.

The Encyclopedia of Country Music hails Bailey as “the most significant black country star before World War II.”

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The War and Treaty

Formed in 2014, The War and Treaty garnered attention with their single ‘Hi Ho’ in the same year, described as their “break-out hit.”

Blending blues, gospel, soul, and country, the duo’s EP “Down to the River” became an instant classic. Their second studio album, “Hearts Town,” peaked at number seventy on the Billboard Country chart.

Their performance of ‘It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)’ with Brothers Osborne at the 56th Annual Country Music Association Awards was a standout moment in their career.


Daniel Gerard Breland, known as Breland, is an American singer, songwriter, and record producer, credited as one of the pioneers of the country rap genre.

His debut single ‘My Truck’ gained immense popularity through social media, reaching number twenty-six on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.

The remix featuring Sam Hunt achieved certified platinum status with over one million copies sold.

Breland’s radio show, “Land of the Bre,” on Apple Music Country showcased his versatility and talent. His debut album “Cross Country” reached number fifteen on the Billboard Country chart.


Yola, formerly known as Yolanda Quartey, rose to fame as a member of the English band Phantom Limb.

As a successful female Black country singer, her solo career flourished with her debut studio album “Walk Through Fire,” earning four Grammy Award nominations, including Best New Artist.

Her follow-up LP “Stand for Myself” seamlessly combined soul, disco, R&B, and rock, captivating audiences with its genre-fluid sound and reaching number six on the Billboard Country Folk charts.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops

The Carolina Chocolate Drops were a country skiffle group from North Carolina. Their 2010 album “Genuine Negro Jig” won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album, highlighting their talent and dedication to preserving traditional folk music.

While they are a cult favorite among hardcore fans, the group’s members have embarked on individual solo projects, with former vocalist Rhiannon Giddens achieving success as a country singing star.

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Aaron Neville

Aaron Neville, a prominent American R&B, country, and soul singer, made waves with his iconic single “Tell It Like It Is” in 1966.

The song topped the Soul chart for five weeks, reached number one on Billboard’s R&B chart, and peaked at number two on their Hot 100.

With over one million copies sold, the track earned Neville a gold disc. His career included four platinum albums and four Top Ten hits on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart.

At eighty, Neville announced his retirement from touring but remains open to recording albums or performing for special events.

Darius Rucker

Darius Rucker’s journey to country music stardom began as the lead vocalist of the popular ’90s band, Hootie and The Blowfish.

In 2008, he decided to embark on a solo career in the country genre. With his sultry baritone voice and emotive songwriting, he seamlessly transitioned into the Nashville scene.

Darius made history by becoming the first solo African-American artist since Charlie Pride in the 1980s to top the country charts with his single, ‘Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It.’

Charley Pride

Charley Pride is undoubtedly one of the most iconic figures in country music. Before pursuing a music career, he was a professional baseball player.

In the 1970s, he rose to fame with his mega-hit ‘Kiss an Angel Good Morning.’

At a time when country music was predominantly considered an all-white genre, Pride’s success shattered stereotypes and opened doors for future Black artists. He remains a celebrated pioneer in the genre.

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Mickey Guyton

Mickey Guyton, a native Texan, brings a unique blend of R&B, soul, and country to her music.

Her dynamic contemporary sound caught the attention of Capital Records, leading to a Grammy nomination in 2020 for her emotionally stirring song, ‘Black Like Me.’

Mickey stands as the first African-American woman to be nominated in the Grammy’s Best Country Solo Performance category, further cementing her position as a trailblazer in the industry.

Rhiannon Giddens

Rhiannon Giddens draws inspiration from her rich ancestral heritage, which includes African, Native American, and European roots.

As a talented musician and instrumentalist, she skillfully plays the banjo and fiddle.

Through her solo work and leadership in the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Giddens blends old-timey folk, delta blues, and Americana stylings to create a haunting, authentic sound that speaks to diverse audiences.

Cleve Francis

Cleve Francis, once a successful cardiologist, followed his passion for music, which led him to a remarkable country singing career.

In the 1990s, he signed with Liberty Records and gained recognition with his single, ‘Love Light.’

Despite his success in music, Cleve continues to balance his country singer career with his medical practice in West Virginia, exemplifying the heart and dedication it takes to pursue one’s dreams.

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Kane Brown

Kane Brown’s journey to country music fame faced hurdles due to prejudices and stereotypes.

However, he overcame these obstacles by leveraging social media to showcase his authentic self and connect directly with fans.

Raised in rural Georgia and Tennessee mountains, Kane’s deep voice and passion for country music caught the attention of Nashville.

In 2017, he made history by securing a number-one hit across five different Billboard charts simultaneously.

Ray Charles

Ray Charles, known as “The Genius,” is an icon whose influence transcends genres. In the 1950s, he began fusing soul, country, blues, and R&B, breaking down barriers and captivating audiences worldwide.

Despite facing hardships and blindness from an early age, Charles persisted and found success with Atlantic Records, becoming an enduring figure in music history.

Tina Turner

Any list of the best Black country singers would be incomplete without mentioning the legendary Tina Turner.

Turner’s career is a testament to her ability to redefine success in various genres, and her venture into country music is no exception.

In 1975, she released her first solo album titled “Tina Turns The Country On!” which garnered a Grammy nomination.

The album showcased Turner’s take on her favorite country hits, marking a revival in her career and showcasing her versatility as an artist.

Tina Turner’s contribution to country music proves that the best musicians are always willing to embrace the rich history of the genre.

Petrella Ann Bonner

Hailing from Arkansas, Petrella Ann Bonner earned her stripes in country music the old-fashioned way. Her journey led her to Nashville, where she became a hit and gained recognition as one of the best career country singers.

Bonner’s music is characterized by smoky vocals and raw energy, making it a perfect representation of great country music.

Her genuine expression of the soul and deep connections within the country music community have made her an irreplaceable figure in the genre.

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Cowboy Troy

Country music has always been about pushing boundaries and embracing new expressions. Cowboy Troy, an iconic figure in Black country music, is credited with pioneering hick-hop, a genre that combines rap and country elements.

Long before the fusion of hip-hop and country became popular, Cowboy Troy was blazing trails with his unique sound.

His influence on the genre has been immense, inspiring other artists to explore the fusion of these two distinct styles.

Lil Nas X

The interplay between hip-hop and country has been a natural progression, with both genres sharing roots in Black American music.

Lil Nas X emerged as one of the best Black country singers of his time when he collaborated with legendary country star Billy Ray Cyrus on “Old Town Road.”

The song took the country music world by storm in 2019 and won the prestigious Country Music Association’s Musical Event of the Year award.

Lil Nas X’s contribution to country music extends beyond his own hits, as he redefined the genre for a new generation.

Lesley Riddle

Though not a household name today, Lesley Riddle’s impact on country music is undeniable. He began his career in the 1920s as a country musician after a workplace injury led him to music.

Touring Appalachia, he absorbed classic folk songs that would later become defining elements of country music.

Despite formally retiring in the 1940s, Riddle was coaxed out of retirement by folk music icon Mike Seeger in the 1960s.

His influence was instrumental in the formation of the Carter Family group, which brought this music to wider audiences.


The best Black country singers have left an indelible mark on the genre, reshaping its landscape and challenging stereotypes.

From the trailblazing DeFord Bailey to the genre-fluid Yola, these artists have defied expectations and enriched the industry with their unique voices and musical talents.

Tina Turner, Petrella Ann Bonner, Cowboy Troy, Lil Nas X, and Lesley Riddle are just a few examples of the remarkable talent and contribution of Black artists to country music.

Their legacies continue to inspire and pave the way for future generations of musicians.

Who was the famous Black country singer?

One of the most famous Black country singers is Charley Pride. He was a pioneering figure in country music and became the first Black performer to achieve major success in the genre.

Charley Pride’s career spanned several decades, and he released numerous hit songs, including “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'” and “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone.”

Who is the first Black man country singer?

The first Black man country singer widely recognized to be DeFord Bailey. He was an accomplished harmonica player and singer who gained fame in the early 20th century

Who started country music?

Country music’s development can be traced back to the 1920s and 1930s when the commercial recording industry began to emerge.

One of the pivotal figures in popularizing country music was Jimmie Rodgers, known as the “Father of Country Music.” Rodgers, an American country singer, and songwriter, recorded a series of influential songs in the late 1920s that helped establish country music as a distinct genre.

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