It is no secret that Country Music is a boys club and studies show that things have only gotten worse for women in this industry over the last fifteen years. Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert are amazing successes, but two women dominating the charts isn’t nearly enough. For every Miranda or Carrie, there are dozens of other male artists. Fortunately for us, there are plenty of women out there who are trying to break through the glass ceiling.
Here are eight badass ladies that are working to change that paradigm.
1. Kacey Musgraves
Kacey Musgraves burst onto the scene with her hit single Merry Go Round. She quickly became a critical darling because of her unique perspective and clever lyrics. She could fit in just as easily at a Brooklyn warehouse party as she could in the Grand Ole Opry. If your country tastes are a little more old-fashioned and you like to chill in your hipster apartment listening to music on vinyl, this is your gal.
2. Maren Morris
With the soulfulness of Bonnie Raitt and the feistiness of Miranda Lambert, it is no wonder that Maren Morris has one of the most anticipated albums of 2016. Her EP garnered her some celebrity fans, like Kacey Musgraves and Miranda Lambert, and her debut single My Church has blown up the charts. She’s opening up for Keith Urban’s highly anticipated tour this summer, but don’t be surprised if she’s headlining her own come next year.
3. Maddie and Tae
Maddie and Tae sent shockwaves through country music when they released their breakthrough single Girl In A Country Song, which targeted outdated and disrespectful clichés towards women. With harmonies that are reminiscent of the Dixie Chicks and The Wreckers, and a fresh outlook on modern issues, Maddie and Tae seem poised to take over. Fearless and feisty, they’re not afraid to step on some toes in a traditional and conservative industry.
4. Kelsea Ballerini
This year, Ballerini became the first female artist to debut with a #1 single since Carrie Underwood 2006. Her blend of country and pop makes her an obvious successor to Taylor Swift’s prior dominance of country music, and with T-Swifts stamp of approval, she’s virtually unstoppable.
5. Jamie Lynn Spears
I know what you’re thinking: Britney Spears’ little sister? Really? I was just as skeptical when I first heard that she was attempting to start a singing career as a country artist. But I have to tell you, her EP is good. Very good. She’s a better singer than her sister, has authentic southern roots, and her songs are extremely fun and catchy. Give her a chance.
6. Jess Moskaluke
While she is already popular in her native Canada, don’t be surprised if Moskaluke bursts onto the American country music scene as well. With a voice that can shake the rafters and tunes that refuse to leave you alone, Moskaluke is giving Canadian country music a good name.
7. Brandy Clarke
You know that country song you love? Brandy Clarke probably wrote it. She’s been on the Nashville scene for years, writing songs for everyone from Miranda Lambert to Billy Currington. She finally stepped out on her own in 2013 with her debut album 12 Stories, and critics and Nashville insiders alike can’t seem to get enough of her.
8. Ashley Monroe
Her duet with Blake Shelton introduced her to a larger audience but Monroe has been around for years. She’s 1/3 of the badass country girl group, Pistol Annies, along with good pal Miranda Lambert and her solo albums have been critically acclaimed, including a pick for top ten country albums of 2014 by Rolling Stone.
Time’s are a-changing and it’s time that country music caught up. These ladies are heralding in a new era of inclusivity to the world if country music. The industry and country music lovers everywhere should take note and get on board.