Top 10 Greatest Female Singer/Songwriters of All Time

The Top Ten

1 Joni Mitchell Roberta Joan Mitchell, professionally known as Joni Mitchell, is a Canadian singer-songwriter. Drawing from folk, pop, rock, and jazz, Mitchell's songs often reflect social and environmental ideals as well as her feelings about romance, confusion, disillusionment, and joy.

Joni just happens to be a genius and uses that special gift in the arts to explore and express her thoughts on the things in life that are important to her and somehow magically we, her audience in turn self identify and internalizes her words into our own lives. She will always have a special place in my heart like no other female songwriter or artist can.

Joni is true genius- as poet, musician and visual artist. She's a better musician and poet than Bob Dylan, creating over 50 open tunings on the guitar. Her name will endure long after most on this list are distant memories. 200 years from now, there will still be Beethoven, Beatles and Joni. What a privilege to live during her time.

There will never be another Joni Mitchell - her beautiful lyrics, fearless exploration of the music, and her absolute focus on her art make her unique. From Song to a Seagull through Mingus, I doubt you will find a body of work so varied and so good.

Joni is streets ahead of the others (and they are great). Her honest lyrics, sublime tonal changes and excellent open tuning guitar chords give her the greater musicality. She might just be the greatest... male or female!

2 Taylor Swift Taylor Alison Swift is an American singer-songwriter. ...read more.

Outstanding songwriter! The emotion she captures through her words are amazing, they're so deep and meaningful and if people would listen it's not all about her ex boyfriends. It's much more deeper. Should be No. 1 but all the women in the list are also amazing and talented!

Very pure and honest emotional singer songwriter. She writes through her feelings and never afraid to share it through songs.

Genius songwriter from an extremely young age. She wrote her third album, Speak Now, all by herself when she was only 19. Every song on that album is incredible. Her Red album also has quite a few lyrical gems on it such as State of Grace and All Too Well.

If you don’t think she is a good songwriter then you most probably only know her for some of her popular hits. Those who are judging her obviously have never taken the time to read some of her most in depth lyrics before.

3 Carole King Carole King is an American composer and singer-songwriter. She is the most successful female songwriter of the latter half of the 20th century in the USA, having written or co-written 118 pop hits on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1955 and 1999. King also wrote 61 hits that charted in the UK, making ...read more.

Just the best writer / performer, closely followed by Carly Simon - and where's Diane Warren in this list...?

The commercial success that Carole has achieved must put her up at the top

The most important female singer/songwriter of our time!

Beautiful music. My favorite female songwriter-singer.

4 Stevie Nicks Stephanie Lynn "Stevie" Nicks is an American singer and songwriter, best known for her work with Fleetwood Mac and an extensive solo career, which collectively have produced over forty Top 50 hits and sold over 140 million albums.

The greatest song writer of all time man or woman! Both beautiful and brilliant! Her voice is pretty dam good to! Love, love Stevie!

Her voice and songwriting, that’s raw talent right there. Give her a microphone, and her sound and words will have you swept away into a spiritual and emotional journey.

She is an amazing songwriter/singer you can feel her emotion in the music so well that it almost sucks the air out of the room.

Every mans dream woman mid seventies through mid eighties. I Remember when real women walked the planet with style and grace.

5 Patti Smith Patricia Lee "Patti" Smith is an American singer-songwriter, poet, and visual artist who became a highly influential component of the New York City punk rock movement with her 1975 debut album Horses.

Maybe patti smith can top a list for once!

A definite groundbreaker.

You can do it

6 Janis Joplin Janis Joplin (1943-1970) was an American singer who rose to fame as the main singer of acid band Big Brother and the Holding Company. She was known for her eccentric hippie style and psychedelic rock music.

I can't believe someone like Taylor Swift is Higher Than This Legend Just Sad

She was soulful, brilliant, cutting edge and phenomenal. Gone way too soon!

7 Mariah Carey Mariah Carey, born March 27, 1970, is an American singer, songwriter and actress. She is one of the biggest best-selling women in the music industry, with 18 number 1 records to her name. She is regarded as a sex symbol through her songs and music videos, and she is "well known" for her over-the-top ...read more.

Trashy website indeed. I would put Mariah Carey on the top 3. So underrated even for how huge her success all throughout her career. She makes the melody, the runs, the lyrics, almost everything, except for the accompaniment for she is not into musical instrument. How can they not appreciate her talent? She's so underrated as a songwriter.

She has written all her songs except for the covers.. and by the way many of the singers who haven't written even one song are above this lady who wrote 17 #1 hits!

There iis NO better Songwriter than Mariah the way she lyrically expresses herself is unblievable

Many of the singers mentioned above haven't even wrote a single song

8 Kate Bush

Only Joni Mitchell is Kate's peer among female singer songwriters. The depth of meaning and emotional impact of so many of her songs, the gorgeous music and her amazingly expressive voice are inimitable. On top of that, she is one of the first artists to seize control of her music from her label and is a pioneer in video and live performance excellence.
No one is as influential across genres, from Big Boi to Bjork, from Solange to St. Vincent, from Tori Amos to Lady Gaga, and so many more.

The most original, intelligent and creative singer-songwriter of all time - male or female. Not just an incredible talent in this field, either; she excels as a dancer, choreographer, pianist, producer, and director. Also - in spite of her protestations to the contrary - she can act. Finally, Kate is a modest woman who obviously cares far more for her family than she does for fame.

What more can be said?

Kate is in a different league from all the others.

Her Miming and voice are extraordinary. She comes across as very shy and rarely tours. She's a one off. Unique in every way.

Should be higher up this list.

Just fantastic and so original.

9 Dolly Parton Dolly Rebecca Parton is an American singer-songwriter, actress, author, businesswoman, and humanitarian, known primarily for her work in country music.

Dolly Parton is an incredible show woman, singer, and song writer. Her music is a part of our history because it tells stories about growing up and living in Appalachia. She is amazing.

Tell me another woman or anyone for that matter that has written better songs than "I Will Always Love You" and "Jolene"! I'll wait... If you answered you're wrong!

I will always love you, and all her work of the heart should place her higher. Prejudice against country. An incredible volume of fantastic work!

10 Carly Simon

Extremely honest, witty, even a bit brutal, but always catchy songwriting with a sexy, unique voice. Carly is the most underrated female pop singer of the 70s and 80s. She seems to have always been overshadowed by her peers - Joni, Carole and Linda. Carly is a powerful, original talent, but she is also humble and down to earth. God forbid! No wonder she didn't receive the recognition she deserved.

The Contenders

11 Hayley Williams Hayley Nichole Williams is an American singer, songwriter and musician. She is best known as the lead vocalist, occasional keyboardist and primary songwriter of the American rock band Paramore. In 2020 she started a solo career.
12 Chrissie Hynde

Number 3, behind Joni and Carole.

13 Amy Winehouse Amy Jade Winehouse was an English singer and songwriter known for her deep expressive contralto vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres, including soul, rhythm and blues, and jazz. She is also a well-known member of the 27 Club, as she overdosed on alcohol at age 27.

Wow She should totally be higher, like her word play and her voice is amazing

She should be number one.

14 Bridgit Mendler Bridgit Claire Mendler is an American actress, singer, and songwriter. In 2004, she began her career in the animated Indian film The Legend of Buddha.
15 Lucinda Williams

€Essence”
“Sweet Old World”
“Something About What Happens When We Talk”
“Righteously”

16 Joan Baez Joan Chandos Baez is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and activist whose contemporary folk music often includes songs of protest or social justice.

Superb voice, symbol of rotest movement, a class of her own

17 Lily Allen Lily Rose Beatrice Cooper, known professionally as Lily Allen, is an English singer, songwriter, actress, and television presenter.
18 Adele Adele Laurie Blue Adkins is an English singer and songwriter. Graduating from the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology in 2006, Adele was given a recording contract by XL Recordings after a friend posted her demo on Myspace the same year. She is best known with her international hit singles ...read more.

Adele is the best singer-songwriter of all time, and it's not even that close. Joni Mitchell? She has a self-described "helium voice". Bob Dylan? Again, songwriter..yes. Great singer..not exactly. Adele excels at both, and she has the record setting album sales and grammy wins to back it up too.

Some of the best lyrics ever

The in thing at the moment

19 Ann & Nancy Wilson

Ann and Nancy are probably the most dynamic singer songwriters ever. They should follow the beauty and class, respectively, of Joni Mitchell and Carol King in the #3 spot light. No women have ever rocked harder than them though Tina Turner for sure has her place in history along side of the Wilson sisters.

20 P!NK Alecia Beth Moore known professionally as P!NK, is an American singer, songwriter, dancer and actress.
21 Sia Furler

For me, it is a tie between Sia and Adele for best songwriter and best vocals.
Sia has a voice crack that makes her so unique and special. She writes powerful songs as well.
Adele has the voice of an angel and the everyday persons heartache in her music.
I simply can't pick a #1 & #2 between these two ladies so they must share the #1 spot.

She is not only one of the best singer songwriter but should be one of the greatest song composer too!

I believe Sia should be listed amongst the top 10 song writers... she's so amazing, Diamonds,Titanium and Chandelier got me crazy!

Ahes awesome, wrote songs for the above artist

22 Avril Lavigne Avril Ramona Lavigne is a Canadian–French singer-songwriter and actress. By the age of 15, she had appeared on stage with Shania Twain; by 16, she had signed a two-album recording contract with Arista Records worth more than $2 million.
23 Jennifer Jennings

Jennifer Jennings is one of the hottest and most promising modern country singer/songwriters in Chicago. Yes, that’s right, country from Chicago. The Windy City, while being known as the Home Of The Blues, also has a long tradition of country music, which at times gets overlooked. Jennifer Jennings and her band represent the newer style of pop and rock-influenced country, drawing their inspiration as much from songwriters like Tom Petty and Sheryl Crow as from anything coming out of Nashville. The result is music that combines the story-telling type of songwriting of Americana with a sound based in the classic rock that we all love that seems fresh, new, and familiar at the same time.

The Jennifer Jennings Band has been described as "The Allman Brothers meets Sheryl Crow". Jennifer has a phenomenal voice, hearkening back to the great female rock artists of the 60's and 70's. She has a clear, rich, alto voice of uncommon quality - versatile enough to be equally at home singing ...more

Check out her song "Empty Need" off her album "All The Pieces"

24 Emmylou Harris
25 Laura Nyro Laura Nyro was an American songwriter, singer, and pianist. She achieved critical acclaim with her own recordings, particularly the albums Eli and the Thirteenth Confession and New York Tendaberry, and had commercial success with artists such as Barbra Streisand and The 5th Dimension recording her songs. ...read more.

I believe Laura Nyro is the best female singer/songwriter. She inspired & influenced many other writers including Kate Bush & Ricki Lee Jones. Her songs were so unique, beautiful, poetic, magical, passionate, & sensual. Her voice was haunting & heartbreaking. There was no one like Laura.

Top 5 of singer-songwriters with King, Mitchell, Parton and Simon.
Many on the list are basically singers and including them just muddies the polling.

She's No. 1 for me, soul, talent, original. Check out Sweet Blindness, sorry 5th Dimension, it's not a drinking song. Save the Country should be our national anthem!

Stoney End, Wedding Bell Blues, And When I Die... Too many great songs to list. She may have the record as the most covered female artist.

8Load More
PSearch List