When we think of the music of the 1990s, the word “country” is not the first word that springs to mind. Often, we associate the 90s with pop, rap, hip hop, and even ska. But country music has been a staple of the American music scene for decades, topping charts alongside other genres almost every year.
Some of the best-known and most beloved country singers have been women. And in this post, we’ve compiled a list of 15 of the most famous female country singers of the 90s. Let’s get started.
1. Shania Twain
Undoubtedly the queen of 90s country music, Shania Twain dominated not only the country airwaves but major pop radio in the mid-1990s.
Despite the failure of her debut studio album in 1993, she rose to fame with her second album, The Woman In Me, in 1995.
Her third album, Come on Over, became the best-selling album of any female country singer and successfully crossed the bridge into the mainstream.
Songs like “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” and “You’re Still the One” earned her four Grammies.
2. Dixie Chicks
The Dixie Chicks (now known as “The Chicks”) consist of lead singer Natalie Maines and sisters and multi-instrumentalists/vocalists Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer.
The band was formed in 1989 but went almost ten years without widespread success. They rose to fame in 1998 with their debut studio album, Wide Open Spaces.
Many in the US boycotted the band’s music after they came out in opposition to the American war in Iraq in 2003.
Their 2006 album The Long Way Home addressed the boycott, and the song “Not Ready to Make Nice” became a crossover hit. They dropped the word “Dixie” from their name in 2020, citing negative and racist associations.
3. LeeAnn Rimes
Next up, LeeAnn Rimes was just 13 when she rose to fame in 1996 with her debut single “Blue.”
She began singing and performing locally in Texas as a child, attracting a local following and the attention of a major label early on.
After the release of the single “Blue”, she went on to record an album of the same name, which sold over six million copies, cementing her status as a country icon.
In her career since, Rimes has crossed over into contemporary Christian, pop, and other genres.
Rimes has also appeared in major motion pictures, including Coyote Ugly, has contributed to the soundtracks of films like Evan Almighty, and has appeared on The Masked Singer.
4. LeeAnn Womack
Musician and singer LeeAnn Womack emerged on the country music scene in 1997 with a unique blend of traditional country and pop.
She is well-known for blending multiple musical styles, including pop, traditional country, and Americana. Her recent albums, including The Way I’m Livin’, have earned her multiple Grammy nominations.
Womack was one of many musicians to lose the master copies of her recordings in a devastating fire that broke out on the backlot of the Universal Studios lot in 2008.
5. Trisha Yearwood
Patricia Lynn Yearwood, known by her stage name Trisha Yearwood, is known not only as a country singer but also as an actress, TV personality, and author.
She became popular in the early 90s with the release of her debut single, “She’s in Love With a Boy,” and remained popular throughout the decade, with hits like “Believe Me Baby (I Lied)” and “How Do I Live?”
In the late 2000s, Yearwood took a hiatus from music to focus on other pursuits. She has released several cookbooks and began a culinary series on the Food Network in 2012 called Trisha’s Southern Kitchen.
In 2018 she returned to music with a cover album of Frank Sinatra hits called Let’s Be Frank.
6. Terri Clark
Terri Lynn Sauson, known by her stage name Terri Clark, is, like Shania Twain, a Canadian country music singer.
She debuted in 1995 with a self-titled album, which went platinum in both the United States and Canada. Two follow-up albums were also certified platinum.
Clark started her own record label, BareTrack, and has distributed her most recent albums through that label.
She is also known for her TV appearances, including hosting The Morning Show and as the regular host of Country Gold.
The all-female group SHeDAISY consists of three sisters: Kristyn, Kelsi, and Kassidy Osborn.
The group rose to fame in 1999 with the album The Whole SHeBANG, which went platinum in the United States. Since 2011 they have not released a new record but remain active on social media.
The trio began singing at a young age, and their first foray into music was in 1989 as The Osborn Sisters.
They were unsuccessful at the time, working day jobs and playing nightclubs throughout the 90s until they got their break at the end of the decade.
8. Faith Hill
Faith Hill is one of the best-selling country artists of all time, with over 40 million records sold. She is also an actress and record producer and has a star on the Hollywood walk of fame.
She rose to fame in 1993 with her debut album, Take Me As I Am, closely followed by the equally successful It Matters to Me.
Hill is still releasing new music and touring and has also appeared in the drama series Yellowstone. In 2021, she announced that she would appear in the Yellowstone prequel 1883.
9. Jo Dee Messina
Jo Dee Messina debuted in 1996 with her self-titled album, which had two top-ten hits on the country charts.
After a rigorous touring schedule throughout 1996, she became one of the most successful female artists of the year, and her debut album was certified gold.
Messina did not achieve mainstream success until 1998 with her second album, I’m Alright. The album charted in the Billboard Top 100.
Since 2015, Messina has continued to write and perform and has crossed over into contemporary Christian music.
10. Sara Evans
As a child, Sara Evans began performing in her family’s group The Evans Family Band.
In 1991, Evans and her brother split to form the family band and moved to Nashville to pursue their musical careers together. Evans worked as a demo singer, which lead to a recording contract with RCA Records in 1997.
Evans released her debut album, Three Chords and the Truth, in 1997, followed by the more successful No Place That Far, which topped the Billboard country chart. Evans was most successful throughout the early 2000s.
In 2017 she started her own record label and began releasing music through that label.
11. Martina McBride
Martina McBride has been compared to Shania Twain and Faith Hill for her crossover sound, which features elements of country, pop, and contemporary Christian.
She has been prolific since the mid-90s, releasing 14 studio albums and one live album.
She has 14 Grammy nominations and has been named “Female Vocalist of the Year” by the Country Music Association.
McBrides still writes and releases music and tours. She also started a podcast called Vocal Point in 2019, which features interviews and conversations with other artists.
12. Chely Wright
Richell Rene Wright, known by her professional name Chely Wright, rose to fame in 1996 with her second album, Right In the Middle of It. Her debut album in 1994 was a critical success. However, it did not garner many sales.
Since then, Wright has successfully crossed over into the mainstream, providing music for movie soundtracks and transitioning toward Americana.
Wright came out as gay in 2004, a fact that she kept secret for most of her career.
She took a hiatus from music after the announcement before returning a few years later and is now known as a vocal LGBTQ+ rights activist.
13. Mindy McCready
Mindy McCready began singing at the age of three and left high school at the age of 16 to pursue her musical career.
She released her debut album, Ten Thousand Angels, in 1996, and it was certified double platinum. She was active until her death in 2013, releasing several more successful albums and appearing on reality TV.
Sadly, McCready died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at age 37 in her home in Arkansas. Her body was found in the same place where her former boyfriend had fatally shot himself the month before.
14. Shelby Lynne
Shelby Lynne began singing and performing in the 1980s but did not achieve breakout success until 1999, with her sixth studio album, I Am Shelby Lynne. The album earned her a Grammy for Best New Artist.
Lynne was still releasing albums as recently as 2017 and started her own label, Everso Records.
She has also appeared in minor roles on several TV shows and portrayed Johnny Cash’s mother in the movie Walk the Line.
15. Mila Mason
Mila Mason made her debut in 1996 with the album That’s Enough of That. Singles from that album and her follow-up album, The Strong One, were charted in the Billboard country music charts.
She took a hiatus from recording in the late 90s, returning in 2003 with Stained Glass Window.
Mason‘s most recent single, “Run Like a Girl,” was released in 2015 on the independent label Twinbeat Records.
Summing Up Our List Of 1990s Female Country Singers
Female country music artists of the 90s dominated country radio and mainstream airwaves.
Check out the artist if you see a name you do not recognize on this list! You are guaranteed to find a new favorite.
But, who did we miss off? Let us know and we’ll add them in!