Country music has produced several multi-millionaires over the past five decades. The list includes legends such as Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, Toby Keith and Garth Brooks. Here are the wealthiest country singers in the 21st century.
Top of the Country World: Dolly Parton
At the pinnacle of country music is Dolly Parton. What makes Dolly’s story amazing is that she came from humble beginnings, playing a homemade guitar at age 8. After meeting Johnny Cash at the Grand Ole Opry five years later, she developed a long string of country hits such as “Jolene,” “I Will Always Love You” and “9 to 5.”
Dolly Parton is as rich as a powerball winner, which is $500 million. Her list of accomplishments includes over 25 RIAA-certified platinum and gold records from her catalog of 63 albums. She’s also starred in films and wrote the score for the musical 9 to 5. As a business leader she owns and runs Dollywood, a popular theme park in Tennessee.
Other Wealthy Country Singers
The second richest country singer is Shania Twain, who many people may argue is more of a pop singer. Her contributions to the country music world include 90s hits “You’re Still the One,” “From This Moment On” and “Man! I Feel Like a Woman.” In terms of album sales, she’s the most successful country artist of all time, selling over 100 million albums. Her net worth is estimated to be $400 million.
Number 3 on the list of wealthiest country singers is Toby Keith, whose net worth is around $365 million. He was part of a Mercury Records “triple play” of new artists promoted by the label in 1993, along with Shania Twain and John Brannen. Keith’s hit “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” kicked off a long string of country smash hits.
Garth Brooks is the next richest country singer with a net worth of $330 million. He has proved more than any other country artist that it’s not necessary to have big hits on the pop charts to sell a ton of albums. In the United States he has surpassed Elvis Presley in album sales with over 148 million. Only the Beatles have outsold Brooks in America in number of albums.
Taylor Swift, who started her career with country hits then shifted to pop, has a net worth of $320 million. Interestingly, Swift says Shania Twain has been her biggest musical influence, along with Dolly Parton and Lee Ann Rimes.
Another one of country music’s wealthiest singers is George Strait, who has a net worth of $300 million. Known as the “King of Country,” he has over 80 platinum or gold albums, putting him in the league of best selling singers of all time. He’s explored other businesses as well, including a golf concert series, television and film production.
Kenny Chesney earns over $40 million per year as a country performer, with a net worth of $190 million. Reba McEntire has a catalog of 29 studio albums and 42 number one country hits with a net worth of $98 million. Alan Jackson, who has sold over 80 million records, has a net worth of $96 million. Brad Paisley has had over 30 big country hits and has a net worth of $95 million.
Kenny Rogers passed away at age 81 in 2020 with a net worth of $250 million. While he will most be remembered for “The Gambler,” his biggest hit was the #1 pop record “Islands in the Stream” in a duet with Dolly Parton. His casual chicken diner chain, Kenny Rogers Roasters, was co-founded in 1991 with ex-KFC CEO John Y. Brown Jr, who had previously been governor of Tennessee.
Johnny Cash, who died in 2003 at age 71, had a net worth of $60 million. He is considered among the greatest country singers ever and married into the “First Family of Country Music,” the Carter Family. They made crucial contributions to country music and helped raise it to a national sensation in the early days of radio.
Some of the most successful music acts of all time have been country singers. It’s evidence that country music has a strong loyal following, as it has produced many million-selling artists who have catered to country rather than mainstream audiences. It may be a long time before other singers rival Dolly Parton in earnings, so for now she’s the undisputed queen of country music.