10 Rising Female Stars Shaping the Future of Country Music
Here are 10 rising female country artists who are breaking boundaries, empowering the genre, and carrying forward the legacy of those who came before them.
Megan Moroney, Ella Langley, Alana Springsteen, Ashley Cooke; Photos Provided
Country music is constantly evolving and each generation brings a new wave of passionate artists looking to impact the genre in their own way. For years, female artists have worked hard to make a name for themselves by stretching the boundaries, speaking their minds, and pushing to achieve equality in the male-dominated genre.
In doing so, stars like Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood and so many more have paved the path for women to gain a stronger presence in the business.
As we consider some of the top rising female singers in country music today, names like Ashley Cooke, Priscilla Block, Megan Moroney, and Tiera Kennedy come to mind. These women, along with numerous others, continue to thrive in the industry and leave their imprint on the genre while upholding the legacy of their predecessors.
Country Now has compiled a list of 10 rising female stars who have been standing out among the rest and letting their music guide them toward achieving their dreams. Keep reading to learn about these budding stars.
Megan Moroney was launched into stardom with the success of her viral hit, “Tennessee Orange.” The buzzworthy tune not only became her first No. 1 at Country radio, but it also landed her an RIAA Platinum certification, earned her a win for CMT Breakthrough Female Video of the Year, and led her to sign with Sony Music Nashville/Columbia Records. Since then, she’s continued at full speed, gaining more and more momentum and fans along the way. In July 2022, the Georgia native offered a glimpse into her songwriting skills and her charming personality with her Pistol Made of Roses EP. This project was followed by her debut album LUCKY, which dropped in May, as well as the deluxe version. Both projects quickly drew major acclaim for their authentic truth-telling and electrifying tunes.
Earlier this year, she embarked on her first headline run with the sold-out PISTOL MADE OF ROSES TOUR and then proceeded to open for Country legends Brooks & Dunn throughout summer. Moroney has continued showcasing her dazzling star power on stage through another sold-out headlining run this fall dubbed, The Lucky Tour — all while building on top of her rapidly rising career that now includes over 426 MILLION total global streams to date.
Born and raised in Hazen, North Dakota, Tigirlily Gold was formed in 2013 by sisters Kendra & Krista Slaubaugh. The duo got their start performing at fairs and festivals before making their way to Nashville and playing on Broadway for nearly five years while also attending Belmont University. In that time, they honed in on their songwriting craft and developed a stand-out performance style through four-hour sets on stage, three to four nights a week.
After releasing their original song “Somebody Does,” in 2021, the track topped the iTunes chart and Tigirlily was signed to Monument Records. Following close behind was their self-titled debut EP, which they showcased on the road and during their Grand Ole Opry debut. Most recently, the sibling duo celebrated a new career milestone when they landed their first charting song at country radio with “Shoot Tequila.” This single appears on their recently released debut EP, Blonde, which spawned fan favorites like “Blonde,” “Hometown Song,” and “Move On.”
Alana Springsteen is making her younger self proud as she continues to follow her dreams as a thriving country music artist. The “Me Myself and Why” singer experienced a full circle moment last year when she made her long-awaited Opry debut on her 22nd birthday. This dream-come-true performance came 10 years after Springsteen first experienced the magic of the Opry during a backstage tour with her family. Fans saw this story come to life in the music video for her debut single, “You Don’t Deserve A Country Song,” which appears on her highly-anticipated debut album, TWENTY SOMETHING. This three-part project wrapped up with the release of the third installment, TWENTY SOMETHING: Getting It Right, which dropped on August 18.
At the end of October, the rising star embarked on her first-ever headline tour named after her completed album. This trek follows her previous runs as a supporting act for Luke Bryan, LANY, Mitchell Tenpenny and Adam Doleac. Having already amassed 125.8 million streams globally, the Columbia Records NY/Sony Music Nashville artist-songwriter is on the path to achieving greatness among her fellow dreamers.
Carter Faith is a self-taught artist from North Carolina who dove headfirst into the music scene upon her arrival in Nashville to attend Belmont University. Her hours of hard work playing in legendary venues such as The Bluebird Cafe, The Listening Room Cafe eventually paid off when she signed with Universal Music Publishing Group with a co-publishing deal. In recent months, Faith has crossed over 60 million global artist streams, was named Billboard’s “Rookie of the Month” in March, made her coveted Grand Ole Opry debut and rounded out her first UK tour with the Song Suffragettes.
The rising female artist has already dropped a handful of new tunes in 2023 including “Wild,” “Smoke Too Soon,” “Cowboy Forever,” “Carolina Burns” as well as her latest four-track EP, Man. Each of these stunning songs showcase the extent of Faith’s musical talent and gives fans a glimpse into her forthcoming debut album. Faith is currently on the road, playing individual shows with rising artist Wyatt Flores and will soon appear as a special guest on 49 Winchester’s fall tour.
Big Loud / Back Blocks Music Country artist Ashley Cooke was destined to see her name in lights. Hailing from Parkland, FL, the emerging star wrote her first song at age 11, and by 18, she found herself living in Nashville with a bright future ahead. Even though she did not study music while attending Belmont University, Cooke couldn’t outrun the booming country music scene living within the city. After entering the school’s famed Country Showcase on a whim and landing first place, she gave herself one year to try and make a career out of music. This led to her finding a place for her voice on TikTok where she built a loyal fanbase that continues to stick by her through each accomplishment that comes.
Although she’s still early on in her journey, Cooke has racked up over 200M global streams with chart-climbing hits like “Never Til Now” with Brett Young, made her Ryman and Grand Ole Opry debuts, performed on national TV, toured with Cole Swindell, Luke Bryan and so much more. Her next musical chapter began with the release of her 2023 debut album, shot in the dark. Filled with 24 tracks, Cooke’s raw storytelling comes to life through pop-country tales of love, heartbreak, and the true essence of being a twenty-something who’s willing to take some risks in order to chase her dreams. Her very-first headlining trek wrapped up on November 10, and Cooke will kickstart 2024 as an opening act for Jordan Davis.
With a sound so vibrant and authentically herself, Ella Langley has built a career on pure grit and determination. Originally from Hope Hull, Alabama, the budding artist got her start performing in local bars and festivals before relocating to Nashville in 2019. She silently rose to fame on social media, gaining viral success with a number of singles that have continued to fuel her momentum, including “If You Have To” (2021), “Damn You” (2022), and “Country Boy’s Dream Girl” (2022).
Alongside these fan-favorite tunes that have earned tens of millions of streams, her songwriting skills have gone on to reach high-profile talent like Elle King. Langley had a hand in penning Elle King’s 2022 single “Out Yonder” in addition to four more tracks on her recent full-length project, Come Get Your Wife. The Columbia Records/Sony Music Nashville artist has officially traded the dive bar mics for stages in front of thousands of fans as she tours the country with the likes of Koe Wetzel, Randy Houser, Cody Johnson, Jamey Johnson, Lainey Wilson, Parker McCollum as well as Morgan Wallen, whom she will join on the road in 2024. In May, Ella Langley shared a fresh new look inside her artistry with the release of her 2023 debut EP, Excuse The Mess. Since then, she unleashed her most recent song, “Paint The Town Blue,” and recorded a cover of “Young Love (Strong Love)” with Jamey Johnson for the star-studded tribute album to The Judds.
Tiera Kennedy has earned the stamp of approval from country fans who continue to fall in love with her fresh releases and small-town storytelling. The Alabama native bares a unique sound that most recently comes through in her faith-filled song, “Jesus, My Mama, My Therapist.” Released via The Valory Music Co., the song offers fans a sneak peek of what’s to come on her forthcoming full-length debut album. This upcoming project will follow Kennedy’s independently released self-titled EP of 2021 and her formal introduction into the genre, “Found It In You.” Her debut single was preceded by the playful tune of “Gentleman” and her tribute to home, “Alabama Nights.”
Landing on several of 2022’s most impressive Artist to Watch Lists, including CMT’s Listen Up, MusicRow’s Next Big Thing and Pandora’s Country Artist to Watch, Tiera Kennedy has showcased these songs and more on the road, opening for artists including Kelsea Ballerini and Danielle Bradbery, while also playing festivals across the country.
Despite any challenges that have come her way, Alexandra Kay refuses to slow down. After two failed record deals, a role on a Netflix show, and many years of hearing “no” from the industry, Kay overcame the odds and is now thriving as an independent artist. Near the end of 2022, she lived out her childhood dream as she stepped into the historic circle to make her Grand Ole Opry debut. This milestone gave her a boost of momentum and solidified the confidence she needed to continue pursuing her greatest passion in full force. She topped off the exciting year with opening slots in support of country hitmakers Tracy Lawrence, Clay Walker, and Tim McGraw.
Now in 2023, the Illinois native has continued building on that success with the help of her growing fanbase on social media. She recently wrapped up her Dive Bar Dreamer A Tour in St Louis, MO with 2,000 tickets SOLD OUT at The Pageant. This milestone was followed by the release of her debut album, All I’ve Ever Known, a collection of authentic and raw tracks detailing the emotions of her recent divorce. This project spawned Kay’s fan-favorite single, “How Do We Go,” which has earned 13 million streams on Spotify on top of the 7 million streams from Apple Music that was generated without the support from DSP playlisting, meaning her success is solely a result of organic fan streaming.
Priscilla Block is emerging as one of the most buzzed-about voices in country music with her unfiltered, relatable songwriting paired with a charismatic stage presence that showcases her empowering blend of country pop and southern rock sounds. She became one of the first Country music acts to break from TikTok and as a result, has rapidly developed a loyal fanbase across the U.S. and abroad through songs like “Thick Thighs,” “PMS” and “Just About Over You.” Since then, Block has made several national TV appearances and received her first nominations for ACM New Female Artist of the Year and CMT’s Breakthrough Video of the Year in 2022.
Her fan-favorite track, “Just About Over You” was named one of The New York Times Best Songs of 2020, reached Top 15 on country radio and garnered Block her first RIAA Platinum Certification. With tracks like this as well as “Wish You Were the Whiskey,” “I Bet You Wanna Know,” and breakout hit, “My Bar,” she has surpassed more than 615 million digital streams and counting. Each of these tunes are all featured on Block’s major label debut album of 2022, Welcome to the Block Party. Most recently, Priscilla Block and country hitmaker Justin Moore garnered more than 96.8 million on-demand streams with their duet “You, Me, and Whiskey,” which marked the female star’s first-ever No. 1 at country radio.
Hailey Whitters, the Iowa-born, Nashville-based country star kicked off 2023 on a high note with her late-night debut Jimmy Kimmel Live!, her morning TV debut on NBC’s TODAY and a performance on The Kelly Clarkson Show. She then embarked on her 2023 Raised Tour and dropped her six-song EP I’m In Love via Pigasus / Songs & Daughters / Big Loud. This collection followed her milestone win for New Female Artist of the Year at the 58th Academy of Country Music Awards where she also performed her fan-favorite, “Everything She Ain’t.”
This RIAA gold-certified hit appears on her 2022 critically acclaimed album Raised. “Everything She Ain’t” has quickly become a country music phenomenon with its upbeat melody and witty lyrics. This song, which has been played over 175 million times on TikTok and inspired multiple trends on the platform has garnered a number of honors for Whitters including being named Billboard’s July 2023 all-genre Chartbreaker. Following her headlining Raised tour, supporting Shania Twain on her Queen of Me Tour, and tour dates with Dierks Bentley at the start of the year, Hailey Whitters was tapped to serve as support on dates with Eric Church, Luke Combs and Luke Bryan.
Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.