Feb 9, 2024 - News

New music trend: Mainstream artists could pursue country crossovers in 2024

Beyonce wearing a cowboy hat.

Fans think Beyoncé's cowboy hat could foreshadow a country crossover. Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Country music is primed for another big year. In 2023, country stars were a major force on the mainstream charts. But in 2024, it might be the other way around.

What's happening: Beyoncé, Lana Del Rey and Post Malone are among the big-ticket artists from other genres who could be channeling the sound of Music Row for upcoming projects — in some cases, with help from Nashville stars.

  • "[T]he music business is going country," alt-pop darling Del Rey said recently, per Billboard.
  • "We're going country. It's happening."

Why it matters: At its best, the trend could bring a new era of experimentation and exposure to the genre that has been working for years to broaden its fanbase and diversify its artist roster.

State of play: Del Rey has announced her album "Lasso" will feature shades of Nashville and the Deep South. It is expected in September.

Rapper Post Malone made his debut on the country charts last year with a Joe Diffie tribute. He has confirmed a "country record is coming."

  • Jelly Roll, who has bridged the country and hip-hop worlds to great fanfare, said "when you finally make that country album and come to Nashville holler at me bubba."
  • Music Row mainstay Brad Paisley shared a picture in the studio with Post Malone in November, so we can only guess it will feature some serious guitar playing.

The intrigue: And then there's Queen Bey.

  • She's been characteristically tight-lipped about her next musical venture, but many fans are convinced she'll follow her disco-infused album "Renaissance" with a boot-scooting boogie.
  • They cite early reports that her next project would be acoustic, her embrace of cowboy fashion, her Texas roots and her past interest in the genre.
  • Her set designer for the Renaissance World Tour told British Vogue Beyoncé was "interested in country" and that "she wanted to research its African-American roots."

Flashback: In 2016, Beyoncé included the country-tinged song "Daddy Lessons" on her "Lemonade" album. She performed the song with The Chicks at the CMA Awards.

  • That performance itself proved controversial for some fans and spurred debate over diversity and inclusion within country music.

Zoom out: It's not unprecedented for established pop or rock acts to come to Nashville to record country. Steven Tyler, Cyndi Lauper and Don Henley have taken Southern detours, although those didn't make much of a splash.

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