Country music comes from simple beginnings in rural America, but it is still just as relevant today thanks to the talented artists attracted to the genre. These musicians may cultivate a down-home image, but some of them have used their musical chops to launch into the 1%. Who’s hit number one on our list? Who’s in place to take that spot if they play their cards right? Read on to find out!
35. Kellie Pickler: $235,294
Kellie Pickler didn’t win her season of American Idol, but she managed to turn that fifteen minutes of fame into a solid career. She has showcased her range of talents with a win in Dancing With the Stars, five albums, and numerous Country Music awards.
34. Brett Eldredge: $242,424
Brett Eldredge didn’t have the same meteoric success as some of the names on this list. His breakout single “Raymond” peaked at #23. However, his fame rose steadily and now he’s well on the way to becoming a mainstay on the country music scene.
33. Sam Hunt: $255,000
Sam Hunt started off on a different path with a promising college football career which he pursued up until 2008. His resume after this includes co-writing the 2012 Kenny Chesney hit “Come Over”.
32. Little Big Town: $363,000
Little Big Town is a 4-person country group from Homewood, Alabama. They have been impressing their fans with their signature vocal harmonies where each member of the band takes the lead at different parts of their performance.
31. Cole Swindell: $350,000
Cole Swindell has had great success as a co-writer for a number of hit songs including Craig Campbell’s “Out of My Head”. He decided to branch out on his own and released his first solo album “Down Home Sessions” in 2014.
30. Chris Young: $352,941
Any fan of the hit USA Network show “Nashville Star” has heard of Chris Young. The Tennessee native won the competition in 2006 and, in 2011, he won the ACA’s “Breakthrough Artist of the Year” award.
29. Scotty McCreery: $400,000
This youngster may have only just started his career, with three albums out so far, but we’re sure he’s destined for great things. Like fellow artist Chris Young, he has also won the ACA’s “Breakthrough Artist of the Year.”
28. Thomas Rhett: $588,000
Thomas Rhett joins a long list of songwriters-turned-singers in the world of country music. He offers his fans a unique blend of country and pop, and his 2015 album “Tangled Up” reached #1 on the charts.
27. Brantley Gilbert: $1.2 Million
The first name on this list to take the jump up into a 7 figure salary is Georgia native Brantley Gilbert. Brantley’s second album “Halfway to Heaven” went platinum.
26. Darius Rucker: $1.6 Million
Most people will recognize Darius as the lead singer of the popular 90s rock band “Hootie & the Blowfish”. Since then, Darius has switched genres and in 2009 was the first African-American to win the prestigious CMA “New Artist Award”.
25. Billy Ray Cyrus: $2.3 Million
These days, Billy Ray may be best known for his daughter’s notorious and very public antics, but he’s a Country Music Superstar in his own right. Throughout his long-running career, he has consistently produced hit songs with broad crossover appeal such as “Achy Breaky Heart.”
24. Dierks Bentley: $2.8 Million
Dierks Bentley has earned 14 number one hits on the Billboard charts as well as being nominated for numerous awards such as “Best Country Album” for his 2015 hit “Riser”.
23. LeAnn Rimes: $4.4 Million
LeAnn may have left her Gospel roots, first marriage’s vows, and squeaky-clean image behind, but that hasn’t stopped her from creating a highly successful country music career. She has sold 37 million records and racked up a fistful of awards including two Grammys.
22. Lady Antebellum: $4.6 Million
Lady Antebellum is a three-person country band that was founded in 2007. Since then, they’ve signed with Capitol Nashville Records and have released five studio albums with over 22 million copies sold.
21. Reba McEntire: $7.4 Million
Reba McEntire is a legend in the entertainment industry and she’s as well known for her acting chops as she is for her vocal skills. In addition, to hitting her self-titled TV show, she has sold over 85 million records.
20. Eric Church: $10.1 Million
Eric always knew he wanted to be a musician. He taught himself how to play the guitar at a young age and by the time he graduated from high school he already had a part-time gig. That sort of dedication, combined with a strong aptitude for “outlaw country” has earned Eric over $10 million.
19. Faith Hill: $15.8 Million
The female side of Country Music’s most famous power couple took a much-publicized break from her music career after social media skewered her for a misunderstood joke. Now she’s back with the upcoming 2016 album “Deep Tracks.”
18. Miranda Lambert: $18 Million
Miranda is best known for her messy breakup with “The Voice” star Blake Shelton (also on this list). However, she’s an established singer and songwriter in her own right, with her latest album “Platinum” meeting a critical success.
17. Brad Paisley: $18.5 Million
Brad Paisley is a man who has done it all: an award-winning singer, songwriter, restauranteur, and he even wrote an autobiography! He has appeared (as himself) in a wide variety of TV Shows and his most recent album is 2014’s “Moonshine in the Trunk.”
16. Dolly Parton: $19 Million
This country legend hasn’t slowed down in her golden years, maintaining a breakneck career that balances writing and performing songs, acting, managing her business interests, and promoting a number of humanitarian causes. This talented 70-year-old has released 41 albums that have been nominated 46 times for Grammys, of which she has won 8.
15. Rascal Flatts: $19.5 Million
This bad-boy trio is so famous they’re even recognized outside of country music circles. This group, founded in 1999, has produced nine albums including their most recent hit, 2014’s “Rewind.
14. Florida Georgia Line: $20 Million
Country music purists may not care for this duo’s blend of electronic, pop, and country influences, but that hasn’t stopped the Florida Georgia Line from earning a place among Country’s highest earning artists. In fact, their single “Cruise” sold 10x platinum!
13. Keith Urban: $22 Million
Keith Urban may be married to the fabulous and talented Nicole Kidman, but he’s more than just a trophy husband. This New Zealand native may seem like an unlikely Country Music superstar, but fans have loved him ever since he released his self-titled first album in 1990.
12. Blake Shelton: $24 Million
Blake Shelton’s personal life has been in the spotlight lately due to a short-lived marriage to Miranda Lambert and current relationship with pop sensation Gwen Stefani. However, he has earned his country superstardom with 10 albums to his name.
11. George Strait: $26 Million
Strait could teach a lesson or two to some of the names on this list; this veteran singer’s stellar career began all the way back in 1976! He’s known as the ‘King of Country’ for good reason, having created 61 songs that hit #1 on the country charts.
10. Carrie Underwood: $26 Million
A winning stint on “American Idol” launched Carrie’s career and she has kept going strong ever since her 2005 debut album, “Some Hearts.” With a career built on 5 studio albums, she’s the biggest-earning American Idol alum of all time and at a respectable tenth place on this list.
9. Shania Twain: $27.5 Million
This talented Canadian beauty created an incredibly successful musical career by combining country and pop. She won international acclaim for hits like ‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman!’ from 1997’s ‘Come on Over.’ Not everything has been a fairytale for Shania; her first marriage ended due to infidelity. However, she got the last laugh when she married the mistress’s now-ex-husband!
8. Zac Brown Band: $30 Million
This ensemble band’s eight talented musicians have fused their instruments together to create a uniquely catchy brand of Country Music. They also work with a number of nonprofit, charitable causes including Little Kids Rock, a program that brings music education to disadvantaged public schools.
7. Tim McGraw: $38 Million
Tim McGraw created one-half of country music’s most famous power couple when he married Faith Hill. Ten out of his fourteen albums reached the top of the Top Country Albums charts and he has won a huge number of awards across the board including fourteen ACMs and three Grammys.
6. Jason Aldean: $36 Million
This relative newcomer to the Country Music world has earned a spot with 2010’s “My Kinda Party,” which hit triple Platinum. Fans can check out Jason’s latest album, 2016’s “They Don’t Know.”
5. Toby Keith: $47 Million
This man knows how to build a fortune on a number of fronts. In addition to a music career that covers 18 studio albums, he can be seen on the big and small screen with appearances in rarely seen gems like “Beer for My Horses.”
4. Luke Bryan: $53 Million
Luke comes straight from the heart of Music City into the hearts of Country fans. His hits like “Country Girl (Shake it for Me)” are sure to get everyone moving at parties. In addition to musical success, Luke is an avid supporter of a number of charities including the Red Cross.
3. Kenny Chesney: $56 Million
Kenny Chesney has come a long way since his 1994 debut album “In My Wildest Dreams”. He has sold nearly 31 million records` and his mega-hit “Big Revival Tour” in 2015 grossed an estimated $115 million.
2. Garth Brooks: $70 Million
Garth’s pop- and rock- infused blend of Country Music has taken him to #2 on our list. His albums regularly hit 10x platinum (or more!) and he’s passionate about more than just music, supporting charitable causes like the Teammates for Kids Foundation.
1. Like It or Not, Country Star…
Taylor Swift: $73.5 Million
The only thing moving faster than Taylor’s love life and the rotating cast of boyfriends is the numbers in her bank account. She makes an astonishing $65,000 a day thanks to a blend of talent, crossover musical appeal, and savvy use of fans and social media.