8 Black Women Changing The Face of Country Music
Something different as we present our list of 8 Black Women Changing The Face of Country Music. A genre that is a close relative to the blues and, like hip-hop in it’s origin, is all about storytelling. But according to SongData, between 2002-2020, there were 11,484 unique songs played on country radio. Over that period there were only 13 black artists among those songs. And of those artists, only three were black women. That is less than 1/10 of 1% (0.03% to be exact) of the total radio airplay. This list is dedicated to the brave and talented women looking to change those facts.
Brittney Spencer is a songwriter-singer born in Baltimore who’s love for music and storytelling landed her to Nashville pursing a career in country music. Her free spirit nature and love for molding life, truth and wild imagination into songs allowed Brittney to take quickly to her new musical genre. “A good story is always worth telling,” says Brittney, “and the way it’s told matters just as much.” Brittney has traveled, sung and recorded with Carrie Underwood, Carl Thomas, Jason Nelson and Twinkie Clark of The Clark Sisters. In 2020 she released her debut EP Compassion lead by the moving title track which as over 3.5 million plays on Spotify.
This trio started street-performing in New Orleans. The band accentuates the three vocalists, who embody the sweet and southern sound of country with the soulful undertones noting their gospel roots. Live performance specialist, the ladies will often treat the audience to three-part harmony A Capella arrangements that range from energetic and playful to emotional and chilling. The group has both a colorful and contagious energy and an amazing ability to tug on your heartstrings with a tender yet powerful ballad. Their music is a blend of country, gospel, soul, and a little hard-hitting rock and roll. “You Can Have Him Jolene” is a standout single in the classic country cheating man style worth checking out.
Julie Williams is a singer-songwriter from Florida making waves in Nashville. Williams is turning heads in Nashville’s country music scene. A bi-racial woman who grew up in the church, Julie makes powerful songs that capture the soul of growing up as a child of two worlds. Even though she was drawn to the storytelling of country music, she couldn’t quite find the sound that spoke to everything she was: black, white, Southern, a woman, hopeful, truthful. So of course she had to make the sound herself. “My music is mixed like me,” is how she describes it, “I want to tell the stories that need to be told.” Her song “Southern Curls” is an ode so the beauty of the black southern woman.
Mickey Guyton has been on the verge of stardom in country music for a few years. She has sung at an all-star concert at the White House; been nominated for an Academy of Country Music Award; and has been compared to everyone from Whitney Houston to Carrie Underwood with her gospel-inflected, church-honed vocals. Guyton’s hit song, off her EP Bridges, “Black Like Me” is about feeling like a stranger in one’s own land. The powerful issues Guyton raises pose new challenges, not just to country music listeners, but to all Americans.
Miko took the long route to burgeoning country music stardom. After graduating college, getting married, and building a life in California, Marks moved to Nashville, ready to chase her dream. She was met with rejection and sadly gave up on a music career for a time. But she never stopped writing and after 13 years, the singer and songwriter is releasing a new country music album, called “Our Country” in 20201. Here single “We Are Here” shows off her soulful and conscious take on country.
Rissi is a singer and host of Apple Music Radio’s Color Me Country. She is also a passionate voice for artists who have been marginalized in mainstream country music. A vet in the industry and trailblazer, Rissi made history in 2007 when her song “Country Girl,” became the first song by a black woman to hit the country music Billboard charts since 1987. In 2019, she released the successful album, “Revival” which also charted. Her song “Seeds” is a rock and blues inspirational country jam well worth checking out.
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Written by @TalentedMrFord