By Lexx Fusco @SimplyEvryThing
Women have been apart of the country music scene since the early 1930s and since have been growing more and more influential and successful. The first female country music artist was Ellen Muriel Deason aka “Kitty Wells”, “The Queen of Country Music” or “the Clock Stopper.” She was married to another popular country artist, Johnnie Wright. She first sang with him and his sister, but soon enough it became the Kitty Wells band. She hit her peak in the late fifties and through the mid sixties. She was the woman that forced the reluctant hand of record companies because she made them realize that women can sell country music. There have been countless women that have made music history through the genre of country music: Crystal Gale, Dolly Parton, Norma Jean, Reba McEntire, Barbara Mandrell, Dottie West, Tanya Tucker, Loretta Lyn, Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood, Shania Twain and so many more. These women are not only talented when it comes to their music—their golden voices and immortal melodies—but also powerful, determined, and honest. These women know that you don’t have to live in the deep south to have country in your heart. They have a story to tell that their audiences can understand, feel and have in their hearts. These are the women of country music.
Birthday: December 25th, 1948
Most Popular: “Sleeping Single in a Double Bed”, “(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Wanna Be Right”, “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool”, “One of a Kind, Pair of Fools”.
Bio: Mandrell was born in Houston, Texas to a musical family. She had the ability to read music as well as perform, specifically on the accordion, by age five. Her father bought her a steel guitar and she never put it down. She was a musical prodigy and was on tour since she was thirteen years old. She played alongside huge names such as Johnny Cash, Cline, and George Jones. She signed to Columbia Records in 1969 and became a hit. Mandrell was first performer to win the Country Music Association’s “Entertainer of the Year” award twice. She was in fact the only female to win this award until Taylor Swift. She was the first woman to beat the odds when it came to winning awards more than once.
Quote: “That’s what I loved about show business, no two days were alike. It’s an exciting life.”
Birthday: October 11th, 1932
Most Popular: “Here Comes My Baby Back Again”, “Every Time Two Fools Collide”, “All I Ever Need Is You”, “Let Me Off at the Corner”, “What Are We Doin’ in Love”, “A Lesson in Leavin’”.
Bio: Dottie grew up in McMinnville, Tennessee helping her mother at the family restaurant. West’s family was not only incredibly poor, but her father was an abusive alcoholic. She earned a music scholarship to Tennessee Technological University for her ability on steel guitar. She moved to Nashville with her husband and began her career as a country artist soon after college. West was consistently a name on Billboard’s Top 40. She won several awards from BMI awards to a Grammy to multiple CMA awards and recognitions. She is the truest of rags to riches story. West overcame huge obstacles and coped with her childhood traumas through music. She provided an outlet for not only herself but for others to express themselves through her music.
Quote: “I know how to make money and I’ll make it.”
Birthday: January 19th, 1946
Most Popular: “The Last Thing on My Mind”, “9 to 5”, “Islands in the Stream”, “I Will Always Love You”, “Coat of Many Colors”, “My Tennessee Mountain Home”, “Jolene”.
Bio: Dolly Parton began her life of fame as a child star on the radio. She has been on television, in movies and of course heard on radios all over the world for many, many years. She was not a soloist hit on the charts, but did make the Billboard’s Top 40 a few times. Parton’s work was best known for her duets (with such artists as Whitney Houston and Kenny Rogers) but that didn’t stop her from continuing to tour and make solo music. She branched out into pop music for a period but returned to her country roots and has stayed there since the early 90s. Dolly is one of country music’s most honored artists winning numerous awards and recognitions. Parton is a strong feminist voice in country music. She has been inducted in many halls of fame (Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, Country Music Hall of Fame, Grammy Hall of Fame, etc) and she is constantly performing philanthropic acts.
Quote: “When I’m inspired, I get excited because I can’t wait to see what I’ll come up with next.”
Birthday: May 10th, 1983
Most Popular: “Some Hearts” is her most popular album. It not only became the best selling country debut album for her record company at the time, Nielsen SoundScan, but it was also the best selling album by a solo female country artist as well as one of the best selling country albums in the last ten years. Some of her most famous songs are “Before He Cheats”, “Jesus, Take the Wheel”, “There’s Something in the Water”, “Last Name”, and “I Told You So.”
Bio: Carrie Underwood was born and raised in Oklahoma on her parent’s farm. She always had a passion for singing. She performed in talent shows and in her local church choir. When she was 14, she almost had a contract with Capital Records. Underwood considers it to be a blessing in disguise that the contract was canceled when the company management changed because she wouldn’t be where she is today or had the wonderful experiences that she has had. She received college credit while she participated on American Idol while in pursuit for a communications degree from Northeastern State University. Underwood was the season four winner of American Idol. She is considered the most successful American Idol winner, with Kelly Clarkson being in second place. She has had almost 15 million albums sold since her debut in 2005—all of her albums going platinum multiple times. Underwood has won six Grammy awards. She is currently expecting a son with her husband Mike Fisher. Carrie Underwood has always been a crusader in country music with emotionally filled songs that are empowering, easy to relate to, and are for every occasion. She also sells albums like no one else. As previously stated, her first album was the best selling album in country for the last ten years. She has even broken a Guinness World Record with her four consecutive number one singles on the Hot Country Songs from 2011 to 2014, with a total of fourteen number ones. She is regarded as the female vocalist of this generation.
Quote: “Throw caution to the wind and just do it!”
Birthday: June 26th, 1973
Most Popular: “Redneck Woman”, “Here for the Party”, “All Jacked Up”, “Work Hard, Play Harder”.
Bio: Gretchen Wilson was raised by a single mother in a trailer park in Illinois. Eventually, Big and Rich discovered her. She kicked down the door to the country music industry with her hit song “Redneck Woman” in 2004. She consistently made the Billboard top charts with her albums after that and had several songs go platinum. Wilson is a very passionate not only about her music, but what’s happening in the world as well. She is a red blooded Republican and consistently performs at conventions. She also is involved in many charities, one being Country Bands Together. She has won many CMA and ACM awards and one Grammy.
Quote: “People ask me where I go to get away, and I say ‘home’.”
Birthday: November 10th, 1983
Most Popular: “Gun Powder & Lead”, “Me and Charlie Talking”, “Kerosene”, “Famous in a Small Town”, “More Like Her”, “Heart Like Mine”, “Baggage Claim”, and “Over You”
Bio: Miranda Lambert grew up in Texas with her grandmother. She always had a passion for music and consistently performed in talent shows. She was recognized on Nashville Star, the USA Network country music talent show program. She was signed with Empire Records after placing third on the show’s first season. Several of her songs have gone platinum in the US. All four of her singles from her Kerosene album made it on the Billboard’s Top 40. She was eventually signed to Columbia Records where she continued to excel in the music industry. In 2011, Lambert married country star Blake Shelton. She has received number one spots, CMT, CMA, ACM and Grammy awards.
Quote: “I like to say what I think, and if it happens to push buttons, sorry.”
Birthday: February 10th, 1992
Most Popular: “Better off Without You”, “What Guys Do”, “One Night Stand”, “Life Struggle”, “Leaving for Cali”.
Bio: Audra McLaughlin grew up in a small town outside of Philadelphia, PA known as Glenolden. She had a learning disability that she was bullied for, but she not only managed to pump out a 3.5 GPA but also overcome her tormentors and fight back by becoming an anti-bullying voice. McLaughlin performed on The Voice’s sixth season. She gripped the hearts and ears of millions and continues to perform today. She is currently writing for her upcoming album, but also takes time to perform at local venues and shows. Audra writers her own music and has been passionate about this since she was very young. She isn’t performing to rise to fame, but to empower and inspire.
Quote: “I’m a country singer, but I have a lot of soul in me too,”
Click Here for: A List of the Most Influential Women in Country Music