Country songs and artists have always played a big part in the music scene. From the time of Willie Nelson to the height of the popularity of the likes of Kenny Rogers, the music has constantly crossed over in popularity to the pop music charts. Here now is a list of the top 10 richest country music artists.
10. Rascal Flatts – $21 million
Rascal Flatts is a three-man country music group composed of cousins Gary LeVox and Jay DeMarcus, plus Joe Don Rooney. It released seven albums back in the 2000’s, all of which were certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, or RIAA. They released a couple more albums in 2010 and 2012. Their 26 single releases have all made the top 20 of the country chart of Billboard magazine, with 12 going all the way to number one. The band also had a hit in 2006 called “What Hurts the Most” that went to the top of the adult contemporary chart.
9. Kenny Chesney – $40 million
Kenny Chesney is a country music artist that has released 15 albums, of which 14 have been certified as gold by the RIAA. He has also recorded 30 singles that have gone to the top 10, including 22 that have topped the chart. He already has sold more than 30 million albums around the world. He was the Entertainer of the Year in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008 as awarded by the Country Music Association.
8. Keith Urban – $45 million
Keith Urban is a country music artist from Down Under, having been born in New Zealand and raised in Australia. He was already a chart-topper in Australia before he moved to the United States in 1992. He has already released nine studio albums and has been credited with 29 singles that have gone to the country chart, including 14 that reached number one. Married to the actress Nicole Kidman, Urban further expanded his audience with his appearance as a judge in the popular reality TV contest called American Idol. Back in Australia, he also served as one of the coaches in another singing contest called The Voice.
7. Tim McGraw – $65 million
Tim McGraw is considered as the third-best selling country artist and the eighth-best selling artist in the era of Soundscan. He has already sold a total of more than 40 million albums in the United States alone. The son of the baseball player Tug McGraw, he is now married to fellow country artist Faith Hill. He once had a streak of 11 albums that all debuted at the top of the album chart of Billboard magazine. He also has 25 singles that have gone to the top of the country music chart.
6. Reba McEntire – $65 million
Reba McEntire is a country artist that debuted in 1977 when she released her first solo album. By the 1980’s, she was already topping the music charts. She has released 28 albums that have been certified at least gold by the RIAA. Of these albums, 14 have gone to the top of the chart. She has also released 40 singles that went to the top of the country music chart. Considered as one of the best-selling artists of all time, she has sold more than 80 million records, thus garnering the title “Queen of Country.”
5. Faith Hill – $80 million
Faith Hill started her musical career in 1993 with the release of her debut album called Take Me As I Am. She then followed it up with It Matters to Me. While both albums achieved success in the country charts, it was the next two albums, Faith and Breathe that gave her mainstream crossover success. One of her songs, “This Kiss,” even went on to be awarded multi-platinum status in a number of countries. She was also named as the adult contemporary artist of the 2000’s by Billboard magazine.
4. Garth Brooks – $150 million
Garth Brooks released his first album way back in 1989, with the record hitting success in both the country album and pop album charts. He became extremely popular even with the non-country crowd because of his ability to integrate elements of rock music into his songs. He is considered as the best-selling artist in the SoundScan era that started in 1991 with album sales of more than 68.6 million. He has six albums that have garnered a diamond award from the RIAA. He is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
3. Taylor Swift – $220 million
In 2006, at the young age of 16, Taylor Swift established herself as a country music star with the release of her debut album. Her third single called “Our Song” made her the youngest person ever to solely write and sing a song that went all the way to number one in the country chart. In 2008, Swift received mainstream acceptance and crossover success with songs like “Love Story” and “You Belong with Me.” Her fourth album called Red recorded 1.2 million opening sales, the highest in more than 10 years. More than her singing, Swift has also been recognized for her songwriting skills marked by strong narratives of her experiences in life.
2. Dolly Parton – $450 million
Dolly Parton started out as a child performer and released her first single way back in 1959 when she was only 13 years old. After achieving success in the country chart, Parton scored several crossover hits in the pop chart with songs like “Here You Come Again,” “9 to 5” and “Islands in the Stream,” the latter two hitting number one on both country and pop music charts. She is considered as one of the most successful country artists of all time with more than 100 million in record sales.
1. Toby Keith – $500 million
Toby Keith is a country artist and record producer. He has charted more than 40 times in the country chart, with 35 cracking the top 10, including 19 that went to number one. He has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide. Recently named by Forbes as country’s $500 million man, he has a significant stake in a label that includes Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts and Tim McGraw.
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