Yee-haw, eh? Here are 10 country singers that weren’t born in the US.
American pride figures heavily into many country hits and patriotism, and the military are common themes. Country music is a uniquely American genre, which is why it’s surprising to learn not all country singers are American-born. Here’s a selection of some of the more notable Billboard Hot Country Top 40 charting artists who were not born in the USA.
10. Hank Snow
Though most people probably remember the Johnny Cash version best, Hank Snow recorded “I’ve Been Everywhere” first, and his music had an influence on many American artists, including The Man in Black. The Nova Scotia native’s natural talent for singing and playing the steel guitar landed him in Nashville by 1945. He had several charting hits throughout the forties and fifties, and, in 1954, he used his influence to get an up and coming young artist named Elvis Presley on the Grand Ole Opry.
9. Olivia Newton-John
Olivia Newton John – Probably most famous for her roles in “Xanadu” and “Grease”, this Australian darling had several hits on the US Billboard Hot Country charts in the seventies. Her ballad “Let Me Be There” charted in both country and pop, and earned her a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocalist. She is also well known for her hit songs “Have You Never Been Mellow” and “If You Love Me (Let Me Know)”.
8. Terri Clark
Born in Quebec and raised in Alberta, Terri Clark made it to Nashville after she graduated high school in 1987. She had several top ten songs in the nineties and 2000’s, including “Girls Lie Too”, “I Just Wanna Be Mad” and “Poor Poor Pitiful Me”.
7. Shania Twain
With such hits as “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under” and “Rock This Country”, you might be surprised to learn that Shania Twain is a native of Ontario, Canada. Before achieving commercial success in 1995 with her second studio album The Woman in Me, the brunette stunner spent her youth singing in bars to supplement her parents’ low incomes. Her hard work and dedication paid off and she is among the top-selling musicians of all time in any genre.
6. Keith Urban
Born in New Zealand and raised in Australia, Keith Urban took guitar lessons as a child, which eventually led him to country music. In 1983, he was featured on the Australian show New Faces. He made his way to Nashville in 1992, but didn’t have his first hit until 1999 with the release of his self-titled album, which had several charting hits. He recorded six more studio albums and is still active in the country music scene, having won several Grammys and other awards for his work.
5. Paul Brandt
This Alberta born singer’s 1996 hit “My Heart Has a History” reached number 5 on the Billboard Hot Country chart, making him the first male Canadian country singer to have a top ten hit in the US since Hank Snow’s “Hello Love” in 1974.
4. Catherine Britt
This blonde beauty was born in Newcastle, Australia. Her single, “The Upside of Being Down” hit number 36 on the Billboard Hot Country chart in 2004. Although she hasn’t charted any songs in the US since the mid-2000’s, she continues to win awards for her songs in her native Australia.
3. Adam Gregory
Also a native of Alberta, the “Crazy Days” singer has had two singles that charted in the US on the Billboard Hot Country top 40. In 2010, he was featured in the movie WWJD, based on the 1896 novel In His Steps, by Charles Sheldon.
This promising young Canadian hails from British Columbia. Dallas Smith has had some burgeoning success in the United States with his single “Wastin’ Gas”, released in October, 2014. It debuted at number 40 on the Billboard Country Digital Songs chart, making it his first charting song in the US.
1. Ronan Keating
Though his main genre is pop, this Irish-born crooner found great success with his 1999 cover of “When You Say Nothing at All”, which was featured in the Julia Roberts film Notting Hill.