Here is a list of influential black artists in Country Music today.

Following in the footsteps of such country music legends as Charley Pride, DeFord Bailey and Ray Charles is not an easy thing to do. These black country music artists are paving their own way in Nashville and we are here for it.

Charley Pride won almost every award in the country music genre and was the first black singer inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000. Following Pride, was DeFord Bailey who was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Rays Charles was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2021.

Without further ado, here is only a handful of influential black artists in Country Music today, including some you may be familiar with and some you may not know yet.

  • Darius Rucker

    Darius Rucker

    (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

    Darius Rucker first attained multi-Platinum status in the music industry as the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of GRAMMY award-winning Hootie & the Blowfish. Since re-introducing himself to the world as a country artist, he has released four consecutive albums to top the Billboard Country albums chart and earned a whole new legion of fans. In 2014, Rucker won his third career GRAMMY award for Best Solo Country Performance for his 4x Platinum selling cover of Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel,” off his album, True Believers.

    Rucker’s first two country albums, Learn To Live and Charleston, SC 1966 produced five No. 1 singles including “Come Back Song,” “This,” “Alright,” “It Won’t Be Like This For Long” and “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It.” Southern Style, his fourth studio country album, features his seventh No. 1 single “Homegrown Honey,” co-written by Rucker, label mate Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum and Nathan Chapman.

    When Was The Last Time, his forthcoming fifth album for Capitol Nashville, is due out October 20, and the first single, “If I Told You,” has already gone on to become Rucker’s eighth No. 1 on country radio. The album’s second single “For The First Time” is available digitally and currently climbing the country charts.

    More about Darius Rucker HERE >>

  • Mickey Guyton

    Mickey Guyton

    (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for CMT/Viacom)

    Mickey Guyton was born in Arlington, Texas and began singing in church at a young age. She was drawn to a variety of artists with big voices including Dolly Parton, CeCe Winans, Whitney Houston and LeAnn Rimes. After signing to Capitol Records Nashville, Mickey’s first appearance was an all-star concert at the White House captured by PBS.  In 2015 she released her self-titled EP featuring her debut single “Better Than You Left Me”.

    The following year she was nominated for her first Academy of Country Music Award for New Female Vocalist.  Mickey returned to the ACM Awards in 2019 performing “I’m Standing With You” from the BREAKTHROUGH movie soundtrack alongside Chrissy Metz, Carrie Underwood, Lauren Alaina and Maddie & Tae.  This last year, Mickey performed her first solo ACM Awards performance of “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?” with labelmate Keith Urban’s accompaniment on piano.

    The performance which HITS called “…a Whitney Houston/Beyoncé power-vocal rendition of the glass-ceiling reckoning…” was named one of the best performances of the night.  Mickey released her EP, Bridges last year, which included “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?”, hailed by Variety as “country music’s song of the year”, as well as “Black Like Me,” a song Mickey co-write in March 2019 at a cross-genre writing camp.  Due to demand, “Black Like Me” was released in June 2020 and was named one of the Top 10 songs of 2020 by NPR, Billboard and The Associated Press.

    Mickey recently made history as the first Black female solo artist to earn a GRAMMY nomination in a country category (Best Country Solo Performance) for “Black Like Me” which she performed as part of the awards ceremony Sunday, March 14th.  In addition, Mickey was a co-host alongside Keith Urban for the 56th Academy of Country Music Awards on CBS April 18.  She is currently nominated for New Artist at the 55th CMA Awards on November 10.

    On September 24, Mickey released her album, Remember Her Name.  Mickey and her music have been featured recently by The New York Times, The New Yorker, CBS This Morning, NPR, Today, Billboard, The Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly, ELLE, The Washington Post, Paste, Rolling Stone, The Wall Street Journal, and more.

    More about Mickey Guyton HERE >>

  • Kane Brown

    Kane Brown

    (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Stagecoach)

    Kane Brown rose to fame by using the power of social media. He posted covers of popular country music songs that had millions of views. Brown released his debut single and EP in 2015. A couple of months later in 2016 he was signed by Sony/RCA Nashville. Now with six number one hits under his belt, Kane is selling out arenas on tour. In 2021, Kane Brown teamed up with his buddy Chris Young for the song “Famous Friends” which became the most-played country song of the year.

    More about Kane Brown HERE >>

  • Jimmie Allen

    Jimmie Allen

    (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

    Signed to BBR Music Group’s Stoney Creek Records, multi-platinum recording artist and songwriter Jimmie Allen has been blazing trails since the beginning of his breakout career. He made history as the first Black artist to launch a career with two consecutive No. 1 hits off his 2018 debut album Mercury Lane (which The New York Times dubbed as one of 2018’s strongest) – the first being his debut single “Best Shot,” which claimed the No. 1 spot on Country radio for three weeks, and second being “Make Me Want To.” In July 2020, Allen released his star-studded collaboration project Bettie James that has since garnered 171+ million streams and a slew of critical acclaim for the music, the historic nature of various collaborations, and its subsequent place in country music history. Named for his late grandmother, Bettie Snead, and late father, James Allen, Bettie James has been hailed as an “announcement of [Allen’s] arrival” and a “huge step for country” (NPR), and “a powerful statement from a developing voice” (Billboard). On June 25, 2021, Allen released the project’s follow up album Bettie James Gold EditionDoubling down on Allen’s expansive love for music across genres, the album “broadens country’s borders” (Billboard) and includes nine brand new songs featuring Babyface, BRELAND, Keith Urban, LANCO, Lathan Warlick, Lindsay Ell, Little Big Town, LOCASH, Monica, Neon Union, Pitbull, teamwork. and Vikina in addition to the previous collaborations on Bettie James with Brad Paisley, Charley Pride, Darius Rucker, Mickey Guyton, Nelly, Noah Cyrus, The Oak Ridge Boys, Rita Wilson, Tauren Wells and Tim McGraw. Allen won the both the ACM New Male Artist of the Year award and CMA New Artist of the Year award in April and November 2021, respectively. Hailed by GRAMMY.com as one of “5 Black Artists Rewriting Country Music,” he has amassed more than 850 million on-demand streams and performed on The Kennedy Center Honors, Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Good Morning America, TODAY, American Idol, Tamron Hall Show, The Steve Harvey Show, ACM Awards, CMA Awards, CMT Music Awards, and more. He is a member of the 2021 Artists Committee for the 44th Kennedy Center Honors. His current single “Freedom Was A Highway” with superstar Brad Paisley is climbing through the Top 20 on Country radio as he is out on the road on Paisley’s headline Tour 2021 as special guest this summer. Allen’s debut picture book, My Voice Is a Trumpet – a powerful story about speaking up for what you believe in, at any age – was published on July 13, 2021 with Flamingo Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers. Allen also serves as Executive Music Producer for Netflix’s series Titletown High, which premiered globally on August 27. His song “Big In A Small Town” is the theme song for the series, which follows a Georgia town where football rules and winning is paramount, a champion high school team tackles rivalries, romance and real life as they work toward the ultimate goal: a state title. He most recently competed as a contestant on Dancing With The Stars’ landmark 30th season on ABC.

    More about Jimmie Allen HERE >>

  • Blanco Brown

    Blanco Brown

    (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for CMT)

    Blurring the lines between Country and hip-hop music, Blanco Brown makes a southern sound that he proudly calls “TrailerTrap.” It’s a boundary-breaking, multicolored genre of his very own — which draws upon the rawness and storytelling abilities of his two biggest musical influences, Johnny Cash and Outkast. His debut album, Honeysuckle & Lightning Bugs, shows off the full range of its creator, who juggled multiple roles as the project’s songwriter, producer, vocalist, visionary, and multi-instrumentalist (guitar, harmonica, lap steel, spoons, tambourine, to name a few). Since 2014, Blanco has been honing in on his unique sound, which is a mix of countrified influences and street-smart lingo, that balances both the urban and rural settings in which he grew up. His viral hit “The Git Up” (certified 11x PLATINUM across three countries) took the world by storm, claiming the top spot in charts across the global and spawning nearly four billion views across social platforms. It claimed the No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for 12 weeks and was the top-selling digital Country song in the US for 13 weeks resulting in Billboard naming him as their No. 1 Top New Country Artist for 2019. In addition to being named Billboard’s “7 Country Acts to Watch in 2019,” the Georgia native is a background singer, artist and Grammy-nominated engineer who has worked with big name talent including Fergie, Childish Gambino, Kane Brown and Chris Brown. The multi-talent’s multi-national Platinum-certified collaboration “Just the Way” with Parmalee is currently in the Top 20 on Hot AC and has garnered more than 200 million on-demand streams in the US alone, also marking Brown’s first No. 1 hit on Country radio (peaking at No. 1 in the US and Canada). No stranger to collaborations, Blanco recently collaborated with Nelly and Breland for their funky fun “High Horse,” and Never Gonna Tame You (Original Song from “The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses”),” written by Diane Warren. In September 2020 Brown was in a life-threatening accident and has been recovering, leaning on creating music to heal—the first taste of that is “Nobody’s More Country,” available now.

    More about Blanco Brown HERE >>

  • Shy Carter

    2019 iHeartRadio Music Festival And Daytime Stage

    (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    Artist, songwriter and producer Shy Carter has reached all corners of the industry with his early success. With credits that span Kane Brown’s “Heaven” to Charlie Puth’s “One Call Away,” Carter is one of the most formidable up-and-coming talents in Nashville and beyond. He is among the writers behind Billy Currington’s “It Don’t Hurt Like it Used To,” Sugarland’s smash hit “Stuck Like Glue” and Rob Thomas’ single “Someday.” In addition to his feature on Tim McGraw’s “Way Down,” Carter has collaborated with Keith Urban on both “Never Comin’ Down” and “My Wave.” Named to Variety’s 2018 Hitmakers list, he has also worked with Jason Derulo, Meghan Trainor, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Lopez, Nelly and more. His roots in gospel, jazz, R&B and soul developed into an early career in hip-hop, but his gift for storytelling and love of organic instrumentation led to a natural transition into country music. Now, with a transcendent style perfectly suited to the times, he’s ready to stand on his own as a country artist. With its earthy groove, laid-back beat and unflagging spirit, Carter’s debut radio single “Good Love” is a fitting introduction to the man behind the music. Described as “a breezy, inspirational anthem with skittering high-hats and crisp piano… [that] underscores Carter’s grand ambitions” (Rolling Stone), “Good Love” and his second Warner Music Nashville release “All Night” are available now. The born entertainer closed out the year visiting radio stations and media partners across the nation on his first-of-its-kind, socially distanced radio tour and has been named a 2021 Artist to Watch by Amazon Music, MusicRow magazine, Pandora, Sounds Like Nashville and more.

    More about Shy Carter HERE >>

  • Breland

    (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for ABA)

    New Jersey-born BRELAND began writing songs as a teenager, inspired by a diverse collection of sounds and eclectic artists like the Beatles, Rascal Flatts, Prince, and his number-one influence, Stevie Wonder. While attending Georgetown University, BRELAND knocked on every possible music-industry door and eventually broke through as a songwriter, landing a number of high-profile cuts with rappers like Elhae and YK Osiris. But as he continued to work on his own music, BRELAND soon posted “My Truck” on social media as a challenge to determine whether he could elicit 500 comments – and after smashing that goal, self-released the track to multi-platform success. Along with paving the way for BRELAND’s signing to Bad Realm/Atlantic Records, “My Truck” sparked headline-worthy streaming success, including hitting #1 on Spotify’s Global Viral 50 and US Viral 50 charts. Praised by Rolling Stone as “1,000 percent the whole package,” BRELAND has been featured in leading press outlets like Genius, Paper, USA TODAY and Billboard’s “Emerging Artists Spotlight,” and in April released a remix of “My Truck” featuring Country superstar Sam Hunt. BRELAND’s self-titled EP debut arrived May 22, featuring both versions of “My Truck” and five other standout co-writes.

    More about Breland HERE >>

  • The War + Treaty

    18th Annual Americana Music Festival & Conference - Cannery Ballroom Showcases

    (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Americana Music)

    Since forming in 2014, The War And Treaty have amassed a following as eclectic as their sound itself, a bluesy but joyful fusion of Southern soul, gospel, country, and rock-and-roll. Known for a live show nearly revival-like in intensity, the husband-and-wife team of Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Blount-Trotter endlessly create an exhilarating exchange of energy with their audience, a dynamic they’ve brought to the stage in opening for the legendary Al Green and touring with the likes of Brandi Carlile and Jason Isbell. So when it came time to choose a title for their forthcoming sophomore album, The War And Treaty quickly landed on Hearts Town—the Nashville duo’s adoring nickname for their ardently devoted fanbase.

    “Hearts Town is a neighborhood strictly made up of people who all share the same kind of heart: hearts that love, hearts that heal, hearts that don’t see division,” says Michael. “There’s all different types of people within that neighborhood, but they’re still somehow all working together—which is exactly the kind of town we want to live in.”

    More about The War + Treaty HERE >>

  • Willie Jones

     

    Brittney Spencer With Sam Williams And Camille Parker In Concert - Nashville, TN

    (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

    Willie Jones is a Shreveport, LA native, SONY Nashville/The Penthouse recording artist and Warner Chappell songwriter. He seamlessly blends hip-hop and country music, paving the way for a genre-expanding sound that’s truly signature to Jones himself. Armed with more than 1 million followers across social platforms, he recently debuted his own Apple Music show called “The Cross Roads Radio.” Willie is slated for Stagecoach 2021 and C2C London, Berlin, Amsterdam and Glasgow (health regulations pending). Jones just released his debut album ‘Right Now’ (The Penthouse / EMPIRE), amassing a cumulative stream count of 27.5M to date on Spotify, featuring the poignant patriotic single “American Dream.” The video clip of this anthem was jointly premiered on CMT and BET, a first for the networks. The rising artist has been covered by NPR All Things Considered, Forbes, Rolling Stone, E! News, PEOPLE, MTV and more.

    More about Willie Jones HERE >>