Country music in the 1990s was a special time, and there’s no doubt that female country singers of the 90s helped create much of the music that is still so beloved by fans. So in this article, I’m going to share my personal picks for the best female country singers that no doubt made a lasting impression on country music back in the day.
Female Country Singers of the 90s
Let’s begin with Shania Twain.
There aren’t many women like Shania Twain. Her musical style is one that can be compared to no other. She is a Canadian country-pop singer/songwriter who came to fame in the 90s. In fact, her success garnered the title “Queen of Country Pop.” And let’s be honest, that’s the point-blank truth.
Twain struggled a bit getting started, her first album failing upon release. However, her second album, released in ’95, became her claim to fame, so to speak. The album featured eight singles, including Any Man of Mine, one of her most well-known songs. Her next album, Come on Over, included my personal favorite, You’re Still the One, and another, From This Moment On, both of which are popular for wedding songs.
Shania Twain is known as a one-of-a-kind kind of woman. Her voice is unique and she is well-known for heavily vocalizing on her albums. Her upbeat personality and strong confidence mesh together to create her incredible persona. She blew fans out of the water and became incredibly successful, which shows in her number of awards and honors.
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Jo Dee Messina
Jo Dee Messina, an incredible country music artist, debuted in 1996. Her first song, Heads Carolina, Tails California, is also one of her most popular and memorable songs. Her second album, I’m Alright, produced five top 10 hits before the decade’s end.
The lovely Messina is said to have drawn inspiration from other female legends like Patsy Cline and Reba. So, by the age of 16, she was playing in local clubs and performing in front of crowds. She is known not only for her solo success but her successful duets with artists like Tim McGraw, with whom she worked for several years.
Messina had incredible success during the second half of the decade. She topped the charts over and over, packing stadiums along the way. She produced hit after hit well into the 2000s. For her success, she has received a number of awards and accomplishments to show for it.
The Chicks, previously known as the Dixie Chicks, are an incredibly talented country music band. The band was founded in 1989 by sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer and by Laura Lynch and Robin Lynn Macy, later adding Natalie Maines. They are well-known for their country style music as well as their bluegrass performances.
During the late 90s, The Chicks released a number of records that topped the charts and sold well. They continued into the 2000s, releasing some of their most popular records, You Were Mine, Cowboy Take Me Away, and There’s Your Trouble being among the list. One of my personal favorites is their rendition of Bruce Robison’s Travelin’ Soldier, which reached number one on the American Billboard Hot Country Songs charts.
Along with a number of other accomplishments, The Chicks have won 13 Grammy Awards during their time together. They were among the first all female bands to grace country music with their presence. Their unprecedented lyrics and sound swept through the industry and made headway for bands, especially all female bands, to make progress.
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Lee Ann Womack
Lee Ann Womack, best known for her amazing hit single I Hope You Dance, is a singer, songwriter, and musician in country music. She first gained notoriety in 1997 as a contemporary country musician with a sound that many compare to that of Tammy Wynette or the legendary Dolly Parton. However, over time, she began to mix elements of pop music instead of more traditional country music.
Not only has Womack been successful in the country music industry, but by adding the pop elements, she made a successful crossover journey into pop music. This change seemed to work well for her and garnered her more fans by the day.
Among her nine studio albums and two compilations, four of them have received gold certification or much higher. Even more, she has received a number of Academy of Country Music Awards, among a great many other achievements. She is still an extremely popular name among country music fans across the world.
LeAnn Rimes rose to success beginning at the young age of 13 in 1996 (see her first interview below). She began her career as a singer, making her way in country music. However, it wasn’t long before she crossed over into contemporary Christian and pop, among others. Rimes has had over 40 hit singles, topping the charts, and has sold 37 million records worldwide.
Rimes is well-known for her unique voice and musical style. Her most popular songs include How Do I Live and the hit Can’t Fight the Moonlight. Both of which are personal favorites and showcase her amazing talents quite well. Rimes has recorded a number of Christmas albums and several soundtracks, including the popular Coyote Ugly soundtrack, making an appearance in the movie, as well.
LeAnn has been extremely successful, not only in the United States but worldwide. She has had a number of TV appearances, interviews, and magazine covers, spreading her name and voice around. Rimes has been honored with many awards and nominations, and is expected to receive many more.
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Alison Krauss is an American singer/songwriter who is well-known for her performances and releases in the bluegrass-country music industry. Her career began when she was only 14, though she started performing at eight years old. From there, her musical journey became a successful experience.
There is no other voice that competes with that of Alison Krauss. Her high, whispery vocals are those of an incredibly talented woman. She has had a successful solo career but has also been the lead vocalist for Alison Krauss and Union Station. What’s more is the number of incredibly emotional duets that only she could be perfect in. One of the most beautiful yet heartbreaking duets I’ve ever heard is Whiskey Lullaby with Brad Paisley, and according to this article, Krauss was the ideal choice.
Over the years, Krauss’ career has spanned widely through different genres of music, performances, TV appearances, and music videos. She has 27 Grammy awards, among other nominations and accomplishments to demonstrate her incredible success. Krauss is a legend among the women of country music.
Our beautiful “Queen of Country,” Reba McEntire, is one of the most popular faces/voices of country music. Since the early 1970s, Reba has topped the charts with over 100 singles, 25 of them hitting the number one spot. However, Reba is not only known for her singing talent, but her voice acting and acting in general is incredible.
Reba’s first song, I Don’t Want to Be a One Night Stand, was not extremely successful. However, it wasn’t too long before she began hitting number one in the charts. She continued to release hit after hit. Fancy, The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, and even my personal favorite, Is There Life Out There, were among a few of her hits. Besides her incredible vocals, she is known to release highly relatable and emotional songs.
McEntire has also made a number of appearances in TV shows and movies, eventually landing herself a show of her own, Reba. She has received an incredible number of accolades, awards, and nominations. She had a tough start out, but she was able to make a lasting name for herself as “the Queen of Country,” only matched closely with Dolly Parton.
Trisha Yearwood rose to fame with her debut single in 1991, She’s in Love with the Boy. It quickly became a number one hit, and the self-titled album that followed has sold over two million copies. She continued to be one of the most popular women in country music during the 90s.
Yearwood had a very successful decade, releasing a number of hits like How Do I Live, XXX’s and OOO’s (An American Girl) and a great many others. She is known for her unique vocals and her upbeat spirit. Her success didn’t end in the 90s, though. She had a number of other hits stretching into the 2000s.
However, Yearwood didn’t just stick to releasing solo-music. She worked hard to publish three extremely successful cookbooks and has gone on to have her own TV series on the Food Network, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen. She has received a number of awards, not only for her music but also for her success in other industries. She’s a true inspiration to the women who came after her.
Well-known for her country pop style of music, Martina McBride began her successful career in the early 90s. While she is known for her soprano voice, she developed a singing style quite similar to Shania Twain. This type of sound was extremely popular in country music in the 90s.
McBride has released a number of hits, including Independence Day, A Broken Wing, and the highly emotional Concrete Angel. Besides her raw talent, McBride has a knack for drawing people in emotionally with her voice and the lyrics in her songs. Many of her songs are known to bring listeners’ emotions to the surface.
McBride’s career didn’t stop in the 90s, however. She kept putting out hits well into the 2000s, and since then, she’s started a hugely popular podcast, put out a few Christmas albums, and even started a TV show on the Food Network. Alongside her successful career, she is known for being extremely charitable, working with a variety of charities, including being a spokeswoman for the National Domestic Violence Hotline. McBride has left a legacy like no other.
Faith Hill is an incredible American singer with a long list of inspiring and intimate hits. Her first two albums, It Matters to Me and Take Me as I Am, rose to the top of the charts time and again. Among the incredible albums, a great many singles topped the charts repeatedly. It didn’t take long for her to be a huge part of 90s country music.
Her first international success, This Kiss, is among my favorites of Hill’s songs. Her duets with her husband, Tim McGraw, however, never fail to inspire me. She has the talent to succeed on her own, even though a small portion of the country may only know her as Tim McGraw’s wife. But, it’s a very common opinion that while neither struggles solo, their voices and styles complement each other.
Hill is not only successful in the music industry but in the acting business, as well. She has completely taken over the global entertainment industry thanks to TV appearances, even acting with her husband, and just having her own specials. She even has her own fragrance line with several scents. Awards, accolades, nominations; family, friends, record company, and donations to charity. Faith Hill started in the 90s and has not once slowed down. Her success is immeasurable.
The lovely Sara Evans, a singer/songwriter who also happens to dabble a bit in acting, producing, and even writing. She began her career alongside her siblings, creating The Evans Family Band. But, it wasn’t long before she broke out on her own in 1991.
Her career took off fairly slowly, but nearing the decade’s end it began to pick up rapidly. Her second album plays host to one of my favorite Evans’ songs, No Place That Far. Her raw talent and a knack for conveying lyrical meaning is displayed incredibly in that particular song. It’s the one that brought her to my personal top 10 list.
While she was quite popular in the 90s, she was most successful during the early 2000s. She began dabbling in bluegrass, drawn by the sound of The Chicks. Born to Fly was released and her success skyrocketed. She continues to be a huge success in the country music industry with numerous hits and accolades.
The country music industry took an exciting turn in the 1990s, though many fans were resistant at first. It was a time where the best female country artists of the 90s worked extremely hard to change the way women were accepted and sounded. Additionally, they demonstrated through their successes that women are capable of anything and everything, even in a previously male-dominated field. Among many other things, the female country musicians of the decade continue to be an inspiration to entire generations and nations. Their legacies will live on long after they’re gone.