Top 10 Greatest Female R&B Singers

The Top Ten
1 Whitney Houston Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012) was an American singer, actress, producer, and model. In 2009, Guinness World Records cited her as the most awarded female act of all time. Houston is one of pop music's best-selling music artists of all-time, with an estimated 170–200 million records sold worldwide. She released seven studio albums and three movie soundtrack albums,... read more

I once read that Whitney Houston was asked to perform a recording in a studio. Interestingly, the producers requested that Houston not sing the song as powerfully as she usually did because she was just too dynamic. Well, as you have already figured out, Whitney Houston absolutely nailed the recording. The thing that got me was at the end of the recording, she asked, "How's that?" Can you imagine? To be asked to back off during a recording! That is what I call the next level. Tylarik, "That's Real Music." Google Tylarik.

She is the greatest and should be ranked number 1. Her voice is second to none. Beyonce, Dionne Warwick, Mary J. Blige, Chaka Khan, Beyonce, and all others are below her shoes. And where is Jennifer Hudson and Celine Dion? They should be ranked top 3. I can't believe you put Charice and Alicia Keys in the top 15. Their voices suck.

She is the best of all time. Aretha Franklin is good too and had a longer career, but Whitney, man, Whitney. Her voice was beautiful. She hits all the notes perfectly. Never has anybody else given me more goosebumps or brought me to tears more than when she sang. I felt it.

2 Mary J. Blige Mary Jane Blige is an American singer, songwriter, rapper and actress. She started her career as a backing singer on Uptown Records in 1989. She has released 13 studio albums, eight of which have achieved multi-platinum worldwide sales.

Mary J. Blige is The Queen of Hip Hop Soul, and I think that sentence speaks for itself. This is a R&B list of great female R&B singers, and Mary J. Blige is The Queen of Hip Hop Soul. That means she is the (Queen) of R&B music on this list. She has the ability to make everyone feel her pain and suffering, which gives everybody goosebumps and chills. It is almost scary, scary like a cult, and I mean that in a good way.

Yes, she is one of the best. I have mad respect for Minnie R., Aretha, Gladys, Patti, Teena. If I had to choose, it would have to be M.J.B., no doubt! Mary is great, and there's nothing like hearing her sing and feeling every word as if she was singing the song for you. I have been a fan of Mary's since '93. The real queen of hip hop and soul.

Raw, raspy, soulful, street, gospel, real, an authentic artist. She's the blueprint to all female singers that came after her. She inspired the veterans before her to embrace hip-hop culture. She's more than an icon, more than a Queen, more than a legend. Mary J. Blige is an R&B Goddess.

3 Beyoncé Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, is an American singer and actress, who started out in the popular pop/r&b girl group Destiny's Child. They had multiple top 5 hits such as "No, No, No", "Say My Name", "Bills, Bills, Bills", "Survivor", "Independent Women", "Bootylicious", and "Jumpin', Jumpin" from 1999 to 2004. After they broke up in 2006, Beyonce pursued her solo career, creating smash hits such... read more

She is amazing with outstanding vocals, vibrato, note duration, vocal range, and voice control, and she hardly overdoes it. She can sing different genres with ease. She is lovely, beautiful, and a great dancer. Highly respected by not just her fans but other artists and musicians too. She has been very successful on the business side of things, both as a part of Destiny's Child and as a solo artist. She has also successfully broken into the acting career. I admire her, and so do many others.

She is so pretty and has all it takes to be the best. She is a feminist and knows just when she is needed to run the show. She has a voice that captivates with very pleasant vocal cords. A good mum and a kind-hearted lady. She is indeed the best among the rest. When it comes to fashion, she knows just what is needed to make the red carpet tremble. Her success is what keeps me moved. She has got respect for all and is forever grateful to her fans. Love you, Queen B. You are the best.

4 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 sexy poses and for having breast implants. She is also known to be a diva, and she is well known for... read more

A true legend, Mariah Carey has a gift from God and is amazingly talented. She has pioneered the way for a lot of younger artists and definitely deserves a spot on this list. She has the most number ones and so many achievements. She's one of the few artists who actually writes her own songs and is involved in every step of the process. Mariah is the songbird supreme and a legend! Often imitated, never duplicated.

Looking at the negative comments makes me laugh because all I see is people attacking her looks and saying she just screams. Have a valid argument and let's hear some of you sing. I'll never understand why people dislike her so much.

As a vocalist, she is exceptional. We cannot forget all the tricky, complicated melodies she wrote and the styles of melismas that influenced an entire generation. She is a pupil of Stevie Wonder, a great singer and composer. Definitely, her songs have varied from soul, R&B, to pop. Maybe she doesn't have the same quality of music and voice nowadays, but we have to recognize her for her more than 20 years of career and talent.

5 Alicia Keys Alicia Augello Cook, known by the pseudonym Alicia Keys, is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress.

Her voice inspires every girl on the planet. Her texts are the best, and the songs are the most popular in the world. Alicia Keys and her talent make everyone feel better. She lives with music, songs, albums, and sheets.

I believe everything about this woman is beautiful. Her voice, her multiple talents. She is very gifted. As a person who writes music and does music, she is one of my top female R&B artists that I would love to do a song with.

The most talented and inspirational singer I ever had the privilege to listen to. She is what all women should aspire to: hard-working, sincere, and believing in yourself. Alicia Keys, I love your fire.

6 Aretha Franklin Aretha Louise Franklin (March 25, 1942 - August 16, 2018) was an American singer, songwriter and pianist. She began her career as a child singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, where her father, C. L. Franklin, was minister.

Referred to as the "Queen of Soul", she has twice been placed ninth in Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Artists of All Time". With global sales... read more

Come on, she's the Queen of Soul! All these people you have ahead of her are nothing compared to her. I mean, come on, this isn't that hard. Aretha is the Queen! She's always been Lady Soul and always will be. The fact that these people are ahead of Aretha will irritate me to no end! Aretha is true music. These days, people use so much damn autotune that anyone could sound great. Leave the singing to professionals! I mean, comparing Beyoncé and Aretha... come on! Beyoncé is great, but compared to Aretha, she might as well be a newbie!

Aretha can compose music, play the piano, and has a voice of soul. She is truly a great musician. She also can sing anything: classical, jazz, and gospel.

Come on, who is voting? Aretha has the best voice ever. Rolling Stone has her number one representing all music. YouTube one of her old songs and you will see.

7 Nicole Scherzinger Nicole Scherzinger, born Nicole Prescovia Elikolani Valiente on June 29, 1978, is an American singer, songwriter, actress, dancer, and television personality. She first rose to fame as the lead singer of the pop/r&b group The Pussycat Dolls.

Her voice is so great. In some songs, it can turn me on in a sexual way while at the same time bringing tears to my eyes because her voice is so beautiful. Yes, I'm a straight guy. Tears in my eyes when I hear her beautiful voice, like in songs like "I'll Be Your Love", and I am not some guy who cries a lot. I don't cry otherwise, but her voice is so amazing.

Nicole is amazing. She should be in the top under Whitney and Mariah. She is much better than most of these singers today. It beats me how Rihanna is in the top 15. Rihanna isn't even R&B. She's a pop singer who has R&B influences in her songs, but most of her songs are a combination of pop and hip hop. She can't sing anyway. She doesn't even have any real R&B songs. I just can't with Rihanna.

She has a great vocal range and strong voice and is truly an amazing singer who should have more diva songs to release on her own. Her talent is often missed because of her beauty and personality on TV.

8 Dionne Warwick Marie Dionne Warrick is an American singer, actress and TV-show host, who became a United Nations Global Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization, and a United States Ambassador of Health.

One of the very few singers who has total command of melisma, modulation, communication of emotion without shouting, and the ability to navigate the time signature changes of the Bacharach-David songbook with apparent ease.

She is still recording and touring 50 years after her first hit song, Don't Make Me Over. A five-time Grammy winner and charter of about 60 songs, she is also a great humanitarian, giving back by supporting many causes and charities. The young divas of today should go to YouTube and study Dionne's technique and artistry, for she bridged the gap between R&B, Soul, and Pop and appealed to a wide audience spectrum - black, white, younger, and older.

One of the very best singers of the 20th century and still recording and touring well into the 21st! One of three great singers born on December 12th in Manhattan's Jersey suburbs, the other two being Frank Sinatra and Connie Francis.

9 Gladys Knight Gladys Maria Knight, known as the "Empress of Soul", is an American singer, songwriter, actress, businesswoman, humanitarian and author.

She is amazing and by far among the top two R&B singers. She has nearly sixty years in the business and she is still going strong.

If you want a song to be sung the way it was meant to be, give it to Gladys. She truly is one of the greatest soul singers of all time.

Gladys is the best pure voice. Given the ascension of Adele, it should be a reminder of what a quality singer Gladys is.

10 Chaka Khan Chaka Khan is an American singer-songwriter whose career has spanned more than five decades, beginning in the 1970s as the frontwoman and focal point of the funk band Rufus.

Chaka Khan is very underrated. It's a shame that the masses don't really know what talent this woman holds. She can sing any genre of music. She sings as effortlessly as one breathes or drinks water. In other words, she sings with ease. There is no straining when it comes to Chaka's singing. Her voice is just so very strong. No one can compare to the strength of her voice.

Famous singer Toni Braxton once said she can sing the highest notes without hardly opening her mouth. Famous writer and journalist Steve Ivory stated that Chaka sings as though she has seven lungs. He also continued to say that she just opens her mouth and it just comes out, and that there is no other female or male that comes on with such awesome force. I must say I concur because I have seen Chaka numerous times in concert, and her live shows are electrifying.

Now, there have been times when her shows aren't top-notch all the time, but then again, she is only human, and everyone has an off day every now and then. However, when you catch her when her voice is full of energy, let me tell you, you are in for a hell of a great show. The Queen of Funk/Goddess of Soul will rip the stage and venue down.

The Contenders
11 Nicole Jackson

Okay... I'm pretty sure most people don't know who this is. I'm just lucky I came across her album on some site last summer. Decided what the heck, I'll give it a listen and was blown away by her amazing voice. It's a shame she only has one album, but it is amazing. She should make a comeback.

12 Patti LaBelle Patricia Louise Holt-Edwards better known under the stage name Patti LaBelle, is an American singer, author, actress, and entrepreneur.

The real underrated Queen of Soul, who has been in the game for over five decades, with the most recognizable and unique voice on the entire list.

What has the world come to when the woman who inspired all of these ladies is not at the top of the list!

The one with the greatest range of all time. Easily goes from high to super high sopranos effortlessly.

13 Aaliyah Aaliyah Dana Haughton was born on January 16th 1979 and died August 25th 2001. She was a dancer, an actress and an R&B singer. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, raised in Detroit, Michigan and died at Marsh Harbour, Bahamas.

At the age of 10, she appeared on the show, Star Search and performed beside Gladys Knight, her aunt. At the age of 12, she signed a contract with Jive Records and her... read more

Aaliyah truly is one of the most well-known female R&B artists. Not only has she broken age and racial barriers, but she has also cemented herself as the reigning princess of R&B, as well as the justified Queen of Urban Pop.

In the 90s, with two LPs that were 2x platinum, she was dominating the scene as an R&B star. She is like Janet Jackson due to her evolving and reinvention of herself with her three LPs. She has made Billboard history in the past and, last but not least, used her charm, wit, and beautiful alluring voice and persona to win the hearts of many in her seven-year career, which to date marks over 20 years since her debut. She continues to inspire many across the R&B genre as well as reach out to people of different music genres.

Aaliyah, sadly, is not number one because she was at a time where she was going to be out of this world huge! She could have come face to face with Beyonce, but due to her death in 2001 at just aged 22, she didn't get that big chance. However, just in her teenage to young adult years, she showed a great level of maturity in every single way. She was still very modest but truly fantastic! Her dance skills were wow! I'm still glad she's higher than Beyonce on the list. Mary J. Blige is the greatest, but I'd put Aaliyah as no. 2!

14 Shanice Shanice Lorraine Wilson-Knox, better known as Shanice, is a Grammy-nominated American R&B/pop-rock singer, songwriter, and actress.

How is Shanice not on this list? She goes unnoticed for some reason. It's funny. I saw her on Family Matters and didn't even know of her before that, but she is amazing and should be at least top five. She sings like Janet Jackson, sort of, but much better, lol. Janet should not be this high. She really can't sing that well.

Shanice should be much higher. Beyoncé and Aaliyah are a joke compared to her.

15 Kelly Price Kelly Cherelle Price is a six-time Grammy-nominated American R&B singer and songwriter, formerly on the Def Soul label.

Hands down, Kelly Price. She can sing 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' and make it a hit!

16 Lisa Stansfield

This girl is amazing. Oh my gosh, what a voice! She has great music that you can listen to all day. It's that good. It's a shame people like the overrated Beyonce and no-talent having Rihanna get so high on this list.

17 Angie Stone

In my opinion, she is a true Soul/Neo Singer who is featured on the reality series R&B Divas Atlanta.

How could you leave her off!

18 Keyshia Cole Keyshia Cole is an r&b diva who was popular in the mid 2000's with songs like "Love", "Heaven Sent", "I Remember" and "Let It Go." Keyshia's r&b is known for it's 'hood' edge to it, and a lot of this is due to one of her biggest inspirations being Tupac Shacur.

Keyshia Cole is one of the greatest voices of all time. I have been a fan of all the greats. But this lady of soul has come through the door and created her own sound and soul. When she sings, it sounds like it's straight from the heart. She is truly not an entertainer but a singer.

Like your new song "Ice". Awesome!

So underrated. Her debut album 'The Way It Is' is one of my all-time favourite albums.

19 Jennifer Hudson Jennifer Kate Hudson is an American singer, actress and spokesperson. She rose to fame in 2004 as a finalist on the third season of American Idol, coming in seventh place.

Jennifer Hudson is clearly a better vocalist than many people on this list. I would rank her number one, above Whitney.

Not sure who the heck is doing the ranking here, but Jennifer out-ranks Beyonce on her worst day... shoot, even if she was hoarse.

She has a beautiful voice on her records, but it's even more beautiful and powerful when she sings live.

20 Etta James Etta James was an American singer who spanned a variety of music genres including blues, R&B, soul, rock and roll, jazz and gospel.

Umm, excuse me, how is Etta James 10? Have you heard the lyrics in her songs? Besides talking about promiscuous activities, she sings about her life, and you don't know if she talks about her love for her man or her love toward her M.I.A father.

Etta James below Beyonce, Mary J? Are you kidding me? Beyonce's version of At Last didn't come close to Miss James!

Really, people, are you all twelve years old?

From Blues, Jazz, Soul, Country, and Pop. No one does it like Ms. James, and over a longer span than many (1955-2011).

21 Faith Evans

Come on, Faith.

22 Teena Marie

Teena Marie is my soul sister. I love her from my toes to the hairs on the top of my head. There will never, ever be another singer, songwriter, producer like Teena Marie. She is a LEGEND. She will truly be missed, but never, ever forgotten. I have followed her career from the very beginning.

In tribute to her, I painted my interpretation of the cover of her first album. I love Teena Marie, she is beautiful, just like the name of her album which was released on January 15th, 2013. She planted the seed of writing the songs, laying down the recordings, and her daughter, Alia Rose, watered and nurtured that seed into a blossoming album called Beautiful. Including a song (Beautiful) written for Alia. The album is a 10. I am in love with every song on the CD.

There has never been another voice that could come close to comparing with Teena's. I have been a fan of Teena Marie since her first album, and she will always be my favorite female vocalist. This lady has a voice that is impossible to duplicate, but she never got the credit or rewards she deserved for her amazing talent.

How many other female R&B singers wrote their own songs, produced, and played some of the instruments used in their music? This lady is an incredibly talented artist, and she is missed and loved by all of her fans, friends, and family.

23 Kathy Sledge

Kathy Sledge! Seriously, come on, people. She's one of the most talented ladies to ever get near a microphone. She doesn't even need one. Her sweet and powerful raspy voice is unmatched. Just listen to her sing 'We Are Family' once and you'll know why that song will live forever. Also, her album 'Heart' (1992) will melt yours.

Her voice is exceptional. Such power, but at the same time, moving, clear, and with masses of personality, which many current singers seem to lose over sterile slickness.

Keep up the good work, Kathy, and get some new tracks out to us as soon as possible!

I've had the opportunity to see her perform in multiple settings, including theatre, jazz, and R&B. She has amazing talent in all areas of vocal performance. And yes, we know the iconic song We Are Family.

24 Brandy Brandy Rayana Norwood, known professionally by her mononym Brandy, is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, model, and actress.

Brandy is honestly one of my all-time favorite female R&B singers of the 90s. She is truly the IT girl of 90s R&B Soul. She's a super, and I mean SUPER, talented vocalist and has made so many great songs! Baby is my all-time favorite song of hers. I actually found out about this girl after seeing her on this one show called Moesha.

Brandy is a legend in her own right! Look up her credentials. The things she can do with her voice! She's not called the vocal bible for nothing. I'm surprised she is not at least in the top 10, if not top 5.

I've been a HUGE fan since I was a little kid! I love this woman! Her music, her voice, everything about her takes me to brighter places! I'm thankful for this woman!

25 Jill Scott Jill Scott is an American singer-songwriter, model, poet and actress. Her 2000 debut, Who Is Jill Scott?

Beautiful voice, powerful lyrics, and humble presence!

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