CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (2022)

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (1)

Our CMA Flashback series continues with a look at Female Vocalist of the Year.

For a look back at the other major categories, visit our CMA Awards page.

Miranda Lambert

Ashley McBryde

Carly Pearce

Carrie Underwood

Lainey Wilson

Lainey Wilson became the first woman to win Female Vocalist and New Artist/Horizon Award on the same night since Carrie Underwood in 2006. It also continued the historically unprecedented turnover in the category stretching back to 2016, when Miranda Lambert repeated in the category.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (2)

Gabby Barrett

Miranda Lambert

Ashley McBryde

Maren Morris

Carly Pearce

Carly Pearce was one of two first-time nominees in this category for 2021, and became the first woman to win in her first year of nomination since Carrie Underwood in 2006. Also, with five different winners in five consecutive years, the category has suddenly matched its similar 1993-1997 run, breaking the trend of winning streaks that have plagued the category for two decades.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (3)

Miranda Lambert

Ashley McBryde

Maren Morris

Kacey Musgraves

Carrie Underwood

The new decade started with a new winner in the category, with Maren Morris proving victorious on her fifth nomination.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (4)

Kelsea Ballerini

Miranda Lambert

Maren Morris

Kacey Musgraves

Carrie Underwood

Sixth time was a charm for Kacey Musgraves, who became the first new winner in this category since Miranda Lambert began her record-setting run in 2010.

Kelsea Ballerini

Miranda Lambert

Maren Morris

Kacey Musgraves

Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood returned to the winner circle for a fifth time, moving her past Martina McBride and Reba McEntire for second place overall, trailing only seven time winner Miranda Lambert.

Kelsea Ballerini

Miranda Lambert

Reba McEntire

Maren Morris

Carrie Underwood

Miranda Lambert came back to win her seventh Female Vocalist trophy, only one year after her streak of six consecutive wins was interrupted by Carrie Underwood.

Kelsea Ballerini

Miranda Lambert

Maren Morris

Kacey Musgraves

Carrie Underwood

Until 2016, the longest gap between Female Vocalist wins was five years, with Loretta Lynn winning in 1967 and then again in 1972. Carrie Underwood broke that record this year, returning to the winner’s circle a full seven years since her previous victory. With her win, she moves into a tie for second on the all time wins list, sharing her slot with Martina McBride and Reba McEntire.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (7)

Kelsea Ballerini

Miranda Lambert

Kacey Musgraves

Carrie Underwood

Lee Ann Womack

Miranda Lambert extended her record for the most wins in this category, winning her sixth trophy. That is the most victories that any artist can claim in either the Female Vocalist or Male Vocalist categories.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (8)

Miranda Lambert

Martina McBride

Kacey Musgraves

Taylor Swift

Carrie Underwood

Lambert won for the fifth year in a row, breaking the record of four wins that she had matched last year and making her the most frequent winner in the history of this category.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (9)

Kelly Clarkson

Miranda Lambert

Kacey Musgraves

Taylor Swift

Carrie Underwood

Miranda Lambert won this award for the fourth time, matching the wins achieved by Martina McBride and Reba McEntire.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (10)

Kelly Clarkson

Miranda Lambert

Martina McBride

Taylor Swift

Carrie Underwood

Pop star Kelly Clarkson’s dalliance with country music was enough to earn her a Female Vocalist nomination for the first time, as Lambert took home her third consecutive trophy.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (11)

Sara Evans

Miranda Lambert

Martina McBride

Taylor Swift

Carrie Underwood

While Lambert earned her second trophy, Sara Evans returned to the category for the first time since 2006 on the strength of her comeback hit, “A Little Bit Stronger.”

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (12)

Miranda Lambert

Martina McBride

Reba McEntire

Taylor Swift

Carrie Underwood

Miranda Lambert received her first Female Vocalist trophy, while Reba McEntire received her seventeenth nomination.

Miranda Lambert

Martina McBride

Reba McEntire

Taylor Swift

Carrie Underwood

Taylor Swift was the big winner at the 2009 CMA Awards, earning her first and only trophy for Female Vocalist that evening, alongside several other major wins.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (14)

Alison Krauss

Miranda Lambert

Martina McBride

Taylor Swift

Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood joined the ranks of Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Martina McBride and Reba McEntire by winning three Female Vocalist awards.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (15)

Alison Krauss

Miranda Lambert

Martina McBride

Reba McEntire

Carrie Underwood

With her second consecutive victory, Carrie Underwood became the twelfth woman in history to win this award twice, and the only one to do so during the life cycle of her debut album.

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Sara Evans

Faith Hill

Martina McBride

Carrie Underwood

Gretchen Wilson

Underwood was among the most shocked in the audience when she won Female Vocalist of the Year, not long after winning Horizon Award the same night. Underwood was the first artist to win both Horizon and their own vocal category since the Dixie Chicks in 1998, and the only solo female artist to achieve the feat since Alison Krauss was the first in 1995.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (17)

Sara Evans

Alison Krauss

Martina McBride

Gretchen Wilson

Lee Ann Womack

Wilson rode the massive success of her debut album to a precocious win in this category, topping even Lee Ann Womack, who won three other awards the same night.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (18)

Terri Clark

Sara Evans

Alison Krauss

Martina McBride

Reba McEntire

Reba McEntire was nominated for the first time in nine years, on the same evening that Martina McBride tied her record of four wins in this category.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (19)

Terri Clark

Alison Krauss

Patty Loveless

Martina McBride

Dolly Parton

McBride repeated in a year when women disappeared from country radio. Parton was nominated for the first time since 1987, and Loveless for the first time since 1998, on the strength of roots albums that received no airplay; Krauss garnered nary a spin herself. That only two of the women – McBride and Clark – were having hits at radio was unprecedented for this category.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (20)

Sara Evans

Alison Krauss

Martina McBride

Lee Ann Womack

Trisha Yearwood

McBride made CMA history when she reclaimed the trophy three years after winning it for the first time, the first woman to do so since Loretta Lynn in 1972.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (21)

Sara Evans

Faith Hill

Martina McBride

Lee Ann Womack

Trisha Yearwood

A year after winning Single of the Year for “I Hope You Dance”, Lee Ann Womack claimed her first and only win for Female Vocalist.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (22)

Faith Hill

Martina McBride

Jo Dee Messina

Lee Ann Womack

Trisha Yearwood

Even though she had six nominations that evening, Hill was facing a backlash over going pop. Hill stunned the audience when she acknowledged the controversy in her acceptance speech, declaring that her heart was still with country music.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (23)

Faith Hill

Martina McBride

Jo Dee Messina

Shania Twain

Trisha Yearwood

Martina rode the success of her Evolution album to her first win in this category, topping crossover stars Faith Hill and Shania Twain, the latter of which won Entertainer of the Year the same night. Messina, a first-time nominee, took home the Horizon Award, making it a very good night for three of the nominees.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (24)

Faith Hill

Patty Loveless

Martina McBride

Lee Ann Womack

Trisha Yearwood

Yearwood became the first woman to repeat in the category since Mary Chapin Carpenter five years earlier, and she accepted via satellite, as she was performing with Garth Brooks in Europe.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (25)

Deana Carter

Patty Loveless

LeAnn Rimes

Pam Tillis

Trisha Yearwood

Trisha Yearwood gave an emotional acceptance speech as she claimed her first victory in this category, dedicating the win to her parents by saying, “As proud as you are of me tonight, I’m even prouder to be your daughter.”

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (26)

Faith Hill

Patty Loveless

Martina McBride

Pam Tillis

Shania Twain

Last year’s winner, Alison Krauss, failed to secure a nomination in 1996. Also out of the running, after thirteen consecutive nominations, was Reba McEntire. Shattering sales records didn’t stop Shania Twain from going home empty-handed, but along with Faith Hill and Martina McBride, she did get her first nomination. The only holdovers from 1995 were Pam Tillis and Patty Loveless. After winning Album of the Year in 1995, Loveless finally won this award.

Mary Chapin Carpenter

Alison Krauss

Patty Loveless

Reba McEntire

Pam Tillis

While most pundits predicted a repeat victory for Tillis or a first win for Patty Loveless, Alison Krauss made a shocking sweep of the CMAs, winning Single, Horizon, Vocal Event and Female Vocalist.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (27)

Mary Chapin Carpenter

Reba McEntire

Pam Tillis

Wynonna

Trisha Yearwood

Pam Tillis was the only one surprised by her victory in 1994, as her critically acclaimed Sweetheart’s Dance project earned her the Female Vocalist trophy.

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Mary Chapin Carpenter

Reba McEntire

Pam Tillis

Tanya Tucker

Wynonna

Mary Chapin Carpenter repeated in the category, as her Come On Come On album continued to churn out hits. It would eventually sell more than five million copies.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (29)

Mary Chapin Carpenter

Reba McEntire

Tanya Tucker

Wynonna

Trisha Yearwood

It was hard to read the tea leaves in 1992. Tucker, McEntire and Wynonna were also up for Album, Carpenter was nominated for Single and Yearwood was also a Horizon nominee. McEntire was up for Entertainer. There was clearly wide support for all five women, but Carpenter, a D.C. folkie with a razor-sharp wit, took home the prize.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (30)

Patty Loveless

Kathy Mattea

Reba McEntire

Lorrie Morgan

Tanya Tucker

Tanya Tucker won on her seventh try, having lost the previous three years, and in three other years in the mid-70’s. She holds the record for the longest stretch of time between an artist’s first nomination and first win in this category: eighteen years.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (31)

Patty Loveless

Kathy Mattea

Reba McEntire

Lorrie Morgan

Tanya Tucker

Mattea not only won her second trophy in this category, but also watched her husband, Jon Vezner, take home Song of the Year for her signature hit, “Where’ve You Been.”

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Rosanne Cash

Patty Loveless

Kathy Mattea

Reba McEntire

Tanya Tucker

Sixth time was not a charm for Rosanne Cash, despite having six #1 hits in the past two years and last year’s champ, K.T. Oslin, not being in the running. Voters instead embraced Kathy Mattea, who had won Single of the Year in 1988 for “Eighteen Wheels & A Dozen Roses.”

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (33)

Rosanne Cash

Kathy Mattea

Reba McEntire

K.T. Oslin

Tanya Tucker

Oslin ended the record-setting four-year run of Reba McEntire, and made history of her own the same night, becoming the first woman to win Song of the Year, for her classic hit, “80’s Ladies.”

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Rosanne Cash

Emmylou Harris

Kathy Mattea

Reba McEntire

Dolly Parton

McEntire broke the three-win record shared by Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette as she collected her fourth trophy for Female Vocalist. Harris received the last of twelve consecutive nominations, though she would go on to win many more Grammys and share the CMA Album of the Year trophy in 2001.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (35)

Rosanne Cash

Janie Fricke

Emmylou Harris

Reba McEntire

Anne Murray

Reba McEntire not only became the first woman to win three in a row since Tammy Wynette, but also the fourth woman to win Entertainer of the Year; it would be another thirteen years before another woman accomplished the latter feat.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (36)

Rosanne Cash

Janie Fricke

Emmylou Harris

Reba McEntire

Anne Murray

McEntire earned her second consecutive win as she enjoyed new levels of success at radio and retail.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (37)

Janie Fricke

Emmylou Harris

Barbara Mandrell

Reba McEntire

Anne Murray

On an evening where Anne Murray seemed to be sweeping, having already picked up Single and Album honors, a shocked and crying McEntire collected her first Female Vocalist trophy.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (38)

Lacy J. Dalton

Janie Fricke

Emmylou Harris

Barbara Mandrell

Reba McEntire

Fricke won her second consecutive trophy, on the strength of the hit singles “It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Easy” and “He’s a Heartache.”

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Rosanne Cash

Janie Fricke

Emmylou Harris

Barbara Mandrell

Juice Newton

Major units were being moved by newcomers Rosanne Cash and Juice Newton, but voters went with Fricke, a former background singer for many hit artists who became a star in her own right.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (40)

Terri Gibbs

Emmylou Harris

Loretta Lynn

Barbara Mandrell

Anne Murray

Mandrell won in 1979, and though she didn’t win in 1980, she did collect Entertainer of the Year. In 1981, she took her second trophy in both categories, becoming the first artist to ever win two Entertainer trophies.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (41)

Crystal Gayle

Emmylou Harris

Loretta Lynn

Barbara Mandrell

Anne Murray

Perennial nominee Emmylou Harris finally won, as a pure country album (Blue Kentucky Girl) followed by a bluegrass set (Roses in the Snow) finally erased concerns that she was more rock than country.

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Janie Fricke

Crystal Gayle

Emmylou Harris

Barbara Mandrell

Anne Murray

A smoky cover of “(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want To Be Right” and her signature hit “Sleeping Single in a Double Bed” helped Mandrell take her first Female Vocalist award home, after ten years of charting hits at country radio.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (43)

Janie Fricke

Crystal Gayle

Emmylou Harris

Barbara Mandrell

Dolly Parton

Gayle became a crossover star on her way to her second Female Vocalist award, as “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” exploded at both country and pop radio. She followed with two more major hits – “Talking in Your Sleep” and “Ready For the Times to Get Better.”

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (44)

Crystal Gayle

Emmylou Harris

Loretta Lynn

Barbara Mandrell

Dolly Parton

Loretta Lynn was nominated in the same year as her little sister Crystal Gayle for the first time, and the younger sibling emerged triumphant as she was fully embraced by country and pop radio.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (45)

Crystal Gayle

Emmylou Harris

Barbara Mandrell

Dolly Parton

Tammy Wynette

Dolly Parton repeated in this category as she continued to rack up hits at country radio.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (46)

Jessi Colter

Loretta Lynn

Dolly Parton

Linda Ronstadt

Tanya Tucker

Dolly Parton finally won with her seventh nomination, on the strength of “The Bargain Store” and “The Seeker,” two of her best self-written hits.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (47)

Loretta Lynn

Anne Murray

Olivia Newton-John

Dolly Parton

Tanya Tucker

Easily the most controversial win in this category’s history, many Nashville artists fumed and formed their own rival organization to the CMAs, all in anger over the transplanted Aussie Olivia Newton-John winning the award. Blissfully unaware of the controversy, Newton-John would go on to win two Grammys just months later in the pop categories, foreshadowing the full country-to-pop shift that Taylor Swift would make after her Female Vocalist win 35 years later.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (48)

Donna Fargo

Loretta Lynn

Jeanne Pruett

Tanya Tucker

Tammy Wynette

Even though Lynn had been having hits since 1960, the bulk of her #1 hits came in the seventies. The CMA awarded her for a third time in this category, matching Tammy Wynette’s record.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (49)

Donna Fargo

Loretta Lynn

Dolly Parton

Connie Smith

Tammy Wynette

The big news wasn’t Lynn returning after five years to win again in this category, though it may have been if that feat wasn’t overshadowed by her winning Entertainer of the Year, becoming the first woman to win in CMA history.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (50)

Lynn Anderson

Loretta Lynn

Dolly Parton

Sammi Smith

Tammy Wynette

Her massive hit “Rose Garden” powered Anderson to a win on her fifth try. Fellow nominee Sammi Smith would take home Single for “Help Me Make It Through the Night” in the same year.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (51)

Lynn Anderson

Loretta Lynn

Dolly Parton

Connie Smith

Tammy Wynette

Wynette continued to own country radio and this category, winning for a third time in as many years.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (52)

Lynn Anderson

Loretta Lynn

Dolly Parton

Jeannie C. Riley

Tammy Wynette

Wynette scored the biggest hit of her career with “Stand By Your Man,” and followed it up with two more #1 hits, securing her place as the biggest female artist of the late sixties.

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (53)

Lynn Anderson

Loretta Lynn

Dolly Parton

Jeannie C. Riley

Tammy Wynette

Riley took home Single of the Year for “Harper Valley P.T.A.,” while Wynette took the crown for Female Vocalist, on the strength of the classic singles “I Don’t Wanna Play House” and “D-I-V-O-R-C-E.”

CMA Flashback: Female Vocalist of the Year (2022 Edition) (54)

Lynn Anderson

Loretta Lynn

Connie Smith

Dottie West

Tammy Wynette

In the fifteen months before the very first CMA Awards, Loretta Lynn released both “You Ain’t Woman Enough” and “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind)”, making this category an easy call for the very first CMA voters.

Facts & Feats

Multiple Wins:

  • (7) – Miranda Lambert
  • (5) – Carrie Underwood
  • (4) – Martina McBride, Reba McEntire
  • (3) – Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette
  • (2) – Mary Chapin Carpenter, Janie Fricke, Crystal Gayle, Kathy Mattea, Barbara Mandrell, Dolly Parton, Trisha Yearwood

Most Consecutive Wins:

  • (6) – Miranda Lambert (2010-2015)
  • (4) – Reba McEntire (1984-1987)
  • (3) – Martina McBride (2002-2004), Carrie Underwood (2006-2008), Tammy Wynette (1968-1970)

Most Nominations:

  • (18) – Reba McEntire
  • (17) – Martina McBride
  • (16) – Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood
  • (12) – Emmylou Harris, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton
  • (9) – Barbara Mandrell, Tanya Tucker
  • (8) – Patty Loveless, Tammy Wynette, Trisha Yearwood
  • (7) – Janie Fricke, Alison Krauss, Kacey Musgraves, Anne Murray, Taylor Swift
  • (6) – Rosanne Cash, Sara Evans, Faith Hill, Maren Morris, Lee Ann Womack
  • (5) – Lynn Anderson, Kelsea Ballerini, Crystal Gayle, Kathy Mattea, Pam Tillis

Most Nominations Without a Win:

  • (7) – Anne Murray
  • (6) – Rosanne Cash, Sara Evans
  • (5) – Kelsea Ballerini
  • (3) – Ashley McBryde, Connie Smith, Wynonna

Winners in First Year of Nomination:
Olivia Newton-John (1974), K. T. Oslin (1988), Mary Chapin Carpenter (1992), Alison Krauss (1995), Gretchen Wilson (2005), Carrie Underwood (2006), Carly Pearce (2021), Lainey Wilson (2022)

Winners in Only Year of Nomination:
Olivia Newton-John (1974), K. T. Oslin (1988), Lainey Wilson (2022)

CMA Female Vocalists of the Year Who Have Never Won the ACM Award:
Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, Olivia Newton-John, Taylor Swift, Pam Tillis, Tanya Tucker, Lee Ann Womack

ACM Female Vocalists of the Year Who Have Never Won the CMA Award:
Donna Fargo (1973), Sylvia (1983), Wynonna (1994), Sara Evans (2006)

CMA Female Vocalists Who Have Also Won the Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance, Female/Solo:
Lynn Anderson, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Crystal Gayle, Emmylou Harris, Faith Hill, Alison Krauss, Miranda Lambert, Kathy Mattea, Reba McEntire, Maren Morris, Kacey Musgraves, K.T. Oslin, Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Gretchen Wilson, Tammy Wynette, Trisha Yearwood

Winners of the Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance, Female/Solo That Have Never Won the CMA Female Vocalist Award:
Rosanne Cash, June Carter Cash, Donna Fargo, k.d. lang, Jody Miller, Maren Morris, Anne Murray, Juice Newton, Jeannie C. Riley, Linda Ronstadt, Jeannie Seely, Sammi Smith, Shania Twain, Dottie West

Women Who Have Won All Three Industry Vocalist Awards:
Lynn Anderson, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Crystal Gayle, Faith Hill, Miranda Lambert, Kathy Mattea, Reba McEntire, Kacey Musgraves, Maren Morris, K.T. Oslin, Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood, Gretchen Wilson, Tammy Wynette, Trisha Yearwood

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