15 Best Female R&B Singers of All Time

Best Female R&B Singers

Do you know what are the top female r&b singers?

There have been some amazing female R&B singers over the years. From Mariah Carey to Whitney Houston, these women have dominated the charts and won the hearts of fans around the world.

In this blog post, we will take a look at 15 of the best female R&B singers of all time. These talented ladies continue to make music that touches our hearts and souls.

So without further ado, let’s get started!

List of the Greatest Female R&B Singers of All Time

1. Patti LaBelle (1944-present)

Linda McCartney was an American songwriter, composer and vocalist best known for her work with the rock band Chicago. She has had a long career in music.

She is a lead vocalist for the group LaBelle and a successful solo artist. Rolling Stone magazine featured LaBelle as the first African-American vocal group on its cover in 1985.

In 1992, LaBelle won a Grammy for the album Burnin’, which featured the hit single “Lady Marmalade.” She has sold over 50 million records and continues to tour today.

2. Aaliyah (1979-2001)

Aaliyah is a well-known name in both hip-hop and R&B female singers. She was a young star who received five Grammy nominations during her teens. Her career was cut short by her death in a plane accident at the age of 22.

She only recorded three albums, and Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number (1994) went platinum, with two of its songs going gold, “Back and forth” and “At Your Best.” Her second album One in a Million achieved double platinum status. 

Aaliyah’s third record topped the charts with More Than a Woman, We Need A Resolution, Rock the Boat and Miss You.

Aaliyah was known for her vocal runs, emotional delivery, and use of melodies and harmonies in her music. She is considered one of the most influential R&B female singers of all time.

3. Jennifer Hudson (1981-Present)

Jennifer Hudson started her career as a contestant on American Idol, where she topped the charts with her hit single “Spotlight,” and went on to win a Grammy for Best R&B Album for Jennifer Hudson and best musical theater album for The Color Purple. 

She also won an Academy Award for her performance as Effie White in the movie adaptation of Dreamgirls.

Her debut self-titled album Jennifer Hudson was released in 2008 and debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 chart, and has been certified Gold by the RIAA. 

The album spawned the hits “Spotlight,” “If This Isn’t Love,” “I Remember Me” and “Walk It Out.”

4. Mariah Carey (1970-Present)

Mariah Carey is the best-selling female artist of all time, with 18 number one singles and 125 awards. She changed from shiny ballads to hip-hop influenced dance/pop music.

 A compilation album called “#1 to Infinity” contains all of her top tunes. Mariah’s incredible tale starts when she moved to New York City a day after high school, then caught the attention of Columbia Records at a party. 

Mariyah has an enormous six-octave vocal range, with both sweet and sultry undertones. She is capable of producing sounds that no one else can, as well as using the melisma technique.

5. Jill Scott (1972-Present)

Jill is the most unique on this list since she began as a poet and wanted to be an English teacher. She altered her course and became a three-time Grammy-winning R&B female singers artist.

Her songs are poetic, soft, and bright songs of self-empowerment. He Loves Me, The Way, and A Long Walk are a few examples.

Her debut album Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. I was released in 2000, featuring the singles “A Long Walk,” “Gettin’ In The Way” and “He Loves Me.”

The songwriter has penned songs for artists such as Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin.

6. Gladys Knight (1944-present)

She was a six-decade-long professional. She was a solo artist and the lead singer of Gladys Knight and The Pips. 

Her most popular songs include “Neither One of Us Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye,” “Midnight Train to Georgia,” and “I’ve Got to Have You.”

“Use Your Imagination.” She also did “That’s What Friends Are For,” with Stevie Wonder, Elton John, and Dionne Warwick.

7. Sade (1959-Present)

Sade is most recognized for their seductively elegant songs such as “Smooth Operator,” “Sweetest Taboo,” and “No Ordinary Love.” They blend classic Jazz with smooth R&B and mature pop. Their debut album, Diamond Life, sold over six million copies, breaking the previous record set by Amy Winehouse.

Their six LPs were all in the UK’s top 20 and had platinum status. Sade wasn’t only writing about love; they also wrote about everyday problems, parenthood, immigration, and slavery.

8. Lauryn Hill (1975- Present)

After describing “Killing Me Softly With His Song,” we must speak of Ms. Lauryn Hill. She was a member of the multi-platinum-selling group The Fugees.

Later, she debuted her solo career with the critically-acclaimed The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which blended melodic rap with neo-soul, reggae, R&B, and hip-hop to create a spiritually motivated and empowering album.

9. Erykah Badu (1971- present)

Erykah Badu is another one of the best female r&b singers with a unique and eclectic style. She is known for her eccentric fashion, her smooth vocals and her jazz-inspired music.

Badu has five Grammy Awards, including one for Best R&B Album for Mama’s Gun (2000). Other albums include Baduizm (1997), New Amerykah Part One (2008), and New Amerykah Part Two (2010).

She is also known for her activism, which includes work with the Green Party, the Universal Negro Improvement Association and Amnesty International.

10. Toni Braxton (1997- Present)

The seven-time Grammy winner, dubbed “Blending fire and finesse” by Spotify, has a deep, husky voice that is soulful and sophisticated enough for R&B but sultry and sassy enough for pop. 

Her debut two albums, Toni Braxton (1993) and Secrets (1996), achieved widespread success.

Toni Braxton began her musical career as a member of the girl group Allure, which she later left to pursue a solo career. She has sold over 60 million albums worldwide and hit songs such as “Unbreak My Heart” (which you’d have to live under a rock not to know) and “You’re Makin’ Me High.”

11. Roberta Flack (1937- Present)

Roberto’s singing tone is elegant, smooth, sophisticated, and highly passionate. When she won the title of the first artist to win the Grammy Award for Record of the Year twice in a row with “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” in 1973 and “Killing Me Softly With His Song” in 1974, she was off and running.

She also netted three other Grammy Awards, five American Music Awards, and a Golden Globe. She is one of the few performers to have won an Oscar, a Tony, and a Grammy Award.

12. Natalie Cole (1950-2015)

Natalie Cole, the nine-time Grammy winner and daughter of jazz and pop legend Nat King Cole, was one of many spectacular vocalists in the 1950s/60s. 

She started out as a soul and R&B performer with her self-titled debut album “Inseparable” (1962), which included hits such as “This Will Be,” “I Love You So Much It Hurts,” and the title track.

She went on to record with some of the greatest names in music, including Quincy Jones, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, and Carlos Santana. She also branched out into acting and television production.

13. Dionne Warwick (1940-present)

Dionne Warwick is one of the best 90s female r&b singers, Marvin Gaye, a six-time Grammy Award winner, has written more than 75 top songs and sold over 100 million records.

Her soothing and powerful voice aided her in creating several classics including “I Say a Little Prayer,” “Walk on By,” and “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again.” She also collaborated with Stevie Wonder, Elton John, and Burt Bacharach.

14. Rihanna (1988-Present)

Rihanna is such a powerful influencer that former president Barack Obama dubbed her “A formidable force in the struggle for human liberty, opportunity, and hope.”

She has made it to the list of top 100 most influential people in the world compiled by The Times magazine on numerous occasions. 

With 9 Grammy trophies under her belt, 23 Billboard music accolades, and a slew of other awards, it’s hard to argue with that statement.

She burst onto the music scene in 2005 with her debut album Music of the Sun and has not looked back since. Some of RiRi’s biggest hits include “Umbrella,” “We Found Love,” “Diamonds,” and “Work.”

15. Mary J Blige (1971-Present)

Mary J. Blige, a songstress who has sold over 50 million albums and 15 million singles worldwide, is still one of R&B’s most vital voices. 

She has amassed more than 50 million album sales and 15 million single sales across the world, with eight of her twelve studio albums achieving platinum status.

At a recording booth in a mall in New York, she recorded an unplanned cover of Anita Baker’s Caught Up in the Rapture when she was seventeen. Her mother’s boyfriend at the time played her tape to his buddy, an R&B at Uptown Records, and poof! 

She became a signed artist. Blige established herself as a premier female vocalist with her debut album, What’s the 411? (1992).

Frequently Ask Questions

Q: Who is the most famous female R&B singer?

A: The most famous female R&B singer is undoubtedly Whitney Houston. She has sold over 200 million records and won numerous awards, including five Grammy Awards, two Emmy Awards, and a Golden Globe Award.

Q: Who is the Queen of R&B 2022?

A: We will have to wait and see! There are so many talented female R&B singers out there that it’s hard to make a prediction. Some of the top contenders might be Rihanna, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, or Beyoncé.

Q: What are the Top R&B songs right now?

A: Some of the current top R&B songs include “Location” by Khalid, “That’s What I Like” by Bruno Mars, “Issues” by Julia Michaels, and “Bodak Yellow” by Cardi B.

Q: What is the difference between R&B and Soul?

A: R&B is a genre of music that typically combines soul, funk, pop, and hip-hop influences. Soul is a genre of music that is similar to R&B, but typically has more gospel and blues influences.

Q: Who are some other R&B female singers who are not on this list?

A: Some other R&B female singers who are not on this list include Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand, Mariah Carey, Adele, and Kelly Clarkson.

Q: What is the origin of R&B?

A: The origin of R&B is widely debated, but it is generally accepted that the genre originated in the 1940s or 1950s. Some of its earliest influences include gospel, blues, and jazz.

Conclusion: Top Female R&B Singers

We hope you enjoyed this list of the top female R&B singers! These are some of the most talented and successful singers in the genre, and they continue to inspire and influence new artists.

Who is your favorite female R&B singer? Let us know in the comments!

You can also check out 19 Best Singers That Smoke Cigarettes (Famous Singers) and Why Do British Singers Sound American (Simple Guide).

2 thoughts on “15 Best Female R&B Singers of All Time”

  1. Any top 10 without Aretha Franklin is not credible. And I love Aaliyah, but number 2?!? She’s not in the top10 by any measure.

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