Country artists collaborating on pop songs is nothing new. A few times, these country/pop collaborations led to some serious chart toppers, too.
And there are a few times that country stars covered pop songs in their own style to success. Like Reba singing her own version of “Because Of You” with Kelly Clarkson. Or what about when male country stars collaborate with female pop stars, like Florida Georgia Line with Bebe Rexha and Brad Paisley with Demi Lovato?
Country and pop are undeniably intertwined throughout history, especially when it comes to female singers. Let’s look at female country artists and some of their best pop crossover collaborations throughout history.
Dolly teamed up with Kenny Rogers, another country artist who jumped into the pop waters, to sing this song written by the Bee-Gees. Though the tune was originally written for Marvin Gaye, the 1983 duet between Rogers and Parton became an immediate international smash hit. It was also fully embraced by country radio, despite literally nothing about it fitting into the country music landscape of the time.
Shania Twain knew exactly what she was doing when she released Up! in three different versions. The international superstar’s fourth studio album from 2002 donned a red cover for the pop version, which set her up perfectly for her 2004 pop duet with Sugar Ray frontman Mark McGrath. Twain released the song on her Greatest Hits album as a previously unreleased track. She also included a more “country” version with then-newcomer Billy Currington.
Interestingly enough, Bon Jovi wanted a foray more into the country world as opposed to bringing the country world to his adult contemporary crowd. This 2005 hit “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” got plenty of love both in its original version and when Jennifer Nettles brought her signature twang to it. Fun fact: this smash hit of a tune was actually recorded as a duet with Keith Urban and not Jennifer Nettles. But Jon Bon Jovi decided Urban’s vocal was just a little too similar and opted for a female voice instead.
B.o.B. made a huge name for himself thanks to his collaborations with pop stars, rappers and rockers alike. On his 2012 album Strange Clouds, he brought Taylor Swift — who was at the time still very much a country queen — into the fold. The single peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, but unsurprisingly never got any love on country radio.
In 2014, Sara Evans cut her own version of Gavin Degraw’s 2011 hit “Not Over You.” She also brought Degraw along for the ride as a duet partner. She keeps it really close to the original, which is a great thing, because the top-20 hit seems perfect for her voice. She never released the song as a single, but honestly should have.
The most recent pop crossover example, Maren Morris sang on this collaboration along with Zedd and Grey for a new Target campaign. The song got its feature debut at the 2018 Grammy Awards, and since then has blown up on streaming platforms. In just a month, the song has racked up nearly 70 million streams on Spotify, easily eclipsing Morris’ most popular song up to that point (“I Could Use A Love Song”). “The Middle” is already an international hit and is climbing up charts across the globe. Morris also collaborated on a Niall Horan song called “Seeing Blind.”