It's a matter of fact. Ask a pop-leaning country singer under 30 who her No. 1 influence has been and she'll say Taylor Swift. Perhaps only a short country career and time keep her from ranking higher on this list of the most powerful country women of all time.

Swift was the most heavily debated artist to make the cut. She left country music for pop — an argument that perhaps she shouldn't be included at all. Strong sales figures and her influence on the next generation had some dubbing her a Mount Rushmore-level female artist.

Here are the facts:

Swift released four country albums and all four were certified multi-platinum. Fearless is her best-selling American album with more than seven million copies sold (per the RIAA). "Love Story" was certified eight times platinum by the RIAA and several songs are close behind. She has six No. 1 hits on the Billboard Country Airplay chart and several more No. 2 or Top 10 hits, and she won three country Entertainer of the Year awards. Plus, for about five years Swift was the new Garth Brooks of touring.

Was her influence a positive one? That may spark debate, which we totally encourage as long as all name calling and insulting is done with Swift-like subtlety. The now full-on pop singer could plot a return to country music a la Faith Hill, but it's difficult to imagine as she swims further and further away from anything that's musically organic. For now, find Swift kicking off our list No. 30, as while her shadow was tall, it's proven not to be long.

It's the Ultimate Women In Country Music Playlist!

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