The Best Female R&B Singers Of 2023

Over 300 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Female R&B Singers Of 2023

The must industry's 2023 female R&B roster only continues to thrive as these soulful leading ladies release powerful new music and headline upcoming festivals throughout the year. Sultry superstar SZA shattered numerous records with her highly-anticipated sophomore studio album SOS, and millennial songstress Ari Lennox remains an empowering force of nature across the R&B world, captivating listeners with her second full-length project age/sex/location. Queen Beyoncé builds upon her ever-growing empire with the sensational disco-infused RENAISSANCE album, creating an inviting dance space for all listeners; and H.E.R. never ceases to collaborate with multi-talented A-list musicians across diverse genres. 

Which trending female R&B artists are you most excited to see live, and whose records are you currently listening to? Vote below for the best female R&B singers of 2023, and be sure to also check out this year's top new R&B songs afterwards.

Most divisive: Muni Long
Ranked by
  • SZA
    1

    SZA

    242 votes
    Solana Rowe (born November 8, 1990), better known by her stage name SZA, is an American singer-songwriter. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri, later relocating to Maplewood, New Jersey. In October 2012, Rowe self-released an extended play titled See.SZA.Run, which she then followed up with her second EP, titled S, in October 2013. In July 2013, it was revealed that she had signed to Hip Hop record label Top Dawg Entertainment, through which she released Z, her third EP and first retail release, in April 2014. SZA is an PBR&B and neo soul singer whose music is described as Alternative R&B, with elements of soul, hip hop, minimalist R&B, cloud rap, ethereal R&B, witch house and chillwave. Rowe's lyrics are described as "unraveling", that revolve around themes of sexuality, nostalgia, and abandonment.
  • Rihanna
    2
    189 votes
    Robyn Rihanna Fenty (born February 20, 1988) is a Barbadian singer, songwriter, record producer, businesswoman, fashion designer, actress and philanthropist. She is known for embracing various musical styles and reinventing her image throughout her career. Born in Saint Michael and raised in Bridgetown, Barbados, Rihanna moved to the US in 2005, when she signed with Def Jam Recordings to pursue a music career. Rihanna earned significant recognition following the release of her first two studio albums Music of the Sun (2005) and A Girl like Me (2006), both of which were influenced by Caribbean music and peaked within the top ten of the US Billboard 200 chart. Rihanna's third studio album, Good Girl Gone Bad (2007), incorporated more elements of dance-pop and catapulted her to greater stardom, establishing her status as a sex symbol and a leading figure in the music industry. Its international chart-topping single "Umbrella" earned Rihanna her first Grammy Award, winning Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. Rihanna extended her fusion of pop, dance and R&B on her next four studio albums, Rated R (2009), Loud (2010), Talk That Talk (2011) and the Grammy Award-winning Unapologetic (2012). All four releases incorporated experimentation of various musical styles and consolidated Rihanna's international chart success, Unapologetic being her first number-one album in the US. The records spawned a string of chart-topping singles, including "Rude Boy", "Only Girl (In the World)", "What's My Name?", "S&M", "We Found Love", "Diamonds" and "Stay". Her eighth studio album, Anti (2016), showcased her control over artistic creativity after her departure from Def Jam. It became her second US number-one album and featured the chart-topping single "Work". Besides solo materials, Rihanna is a prolific featured artist, having collaborated with such musicians as Drake, Eminem and Calvin Harris to similar success. Having sold over 250 million records, Rihanna is one of the world's best-selling music artists. She has earned 14 number-one singles and 31 top-ten singles in the US, and 30 top-ten entries in the UK. Her accolades include nine Grammy Awards, 13 American Music Awards, 12 Billboard Music Awards, and six Guinness World Records. Forbes ranked her among the top ten highest-paid celebrities in 2012 and 2014, and Time named her as one of the 100 most influential people in the world twice (2012 and 2018). Alongside a successful music career, Rihanna is well known for her involvement in humanitarian causes, entrepreneurial ventures and the fashion industry. She is the founder of nonprofit organization Clara Lionel Foundation, cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty, and fashion house Fenty under LVMH. In 2018, the Government of Barbados appointed her as an ambassador with duties promoting education, tourism and investment.
  • H.E.R.
    3
    174 votes
    Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson (born June 27, 1997), known professionally as H.E.R. (pronounced "her", an initialism for "Having Everything Revealed"), is an American R&B singer. After initial music appearances and singles under her real name, Wilson re-emerged in 2016 as H.E.R., releasing her debut EP H.E.R. Volume 1 under RCA, followed by four subsequent EPs. Her first compilation album H.E.R. (2017), consisting of tracks from her first two EPs plus six additional songs, was nominated for five Grammy Awards, winning Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Album. Her second compilation album, I Used to Know Her, was nominated for five Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year and Song of the Year for "Hard Place". In 2021, she was awarded the Grammy Award for Song of the Year for "I Can't Breathe", and the Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Fight for You" from the film Judas and the Black Messiah (2021). Her debut full-length album Back of My Mind was released in June 2021.
  • Kehlani
    4
    130 votes
    Kehlani Ashley Parrish (born April 24, 1995) is an American singer, songwriter and dancer, signed to Atlantic Records. Kehlani is originally from Oakland, California, where she achieved initial fame as a member of the teen group Poplyfe. In 2014, she released her first commercial mixtape, Cloud 19. The mixtape was listed as one of the Complex's "50 Best Albums of 2014." In 2015, Kehlani released her second commercial mixtape, You Should Be Here. The mixtape debuted at number 5 on the national R&B/Hip-Hop chart, preceded from her sold-out North American promotional tour. In 2016, she was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Urban Contemporary Album for You Should Be Here. Kehlani released her first major-label debut album, SweetSexySavage on January 27, 2017.
  • Alicia Keys
    5
    119 votes
    Alicia Augello Cook (born January 25, 1981), known professionally as Alicia Keys, is an American musician, singer, and songwriter. A classically-trained pianist, Keys was composing songs by age 12 and was signed at 15 years old by Columbia Records. After disputes with the label, she signed with Arista Records, and later released her debut album, Songs in A Minor, with J Records in 2001. The album was critically and commercially successful, producing her first Billboard Hot 100 number-one single "Fallin'" and selling over 16 million copies worldwide. The album earned Keys five Grammy Awards in 2002. Her second album, The Diary of Alicia Keys (2003), was also a critical and commercial success, spawning successful singles "You Don't Know My Name", "If I Ain't Got You", and "Diary", and selling eight million copies worldwide. The album garnered her an additional four Grammy Awards. Her duet "My Boo" with Usher became her second number-one single in 2004. Keys released her first live album, Unplugged (2005), and became the first woman to have an MTV Unplugged album debut at number one. Her third album, As I Am (2007), produced the Hot 100 number-one single "No One", selling 7 million copies worldwide and earning an additional three Grammy Awards. In 2007, Keys made her film debut in the action-thriller film Smokin' Aces. She, along with Jack White, recorded "Another Way to Die" (the title song to the 22nd official James Bond film, Quantum of Solace). Her fourth album, The Element of Freedom (2009), became her first chart-topping album in the UK, and sold 4 million copies worldwide. In 2009, Keys also collaborated with Jay Z on "Empire State of Mind", which became her fourth number-one single and won the Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. Girl on Fire (2012) was her fifth Billboard 200 topping album, spawning the successful title track, and won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Album. In 2013, VH1 Storytellers was released as her second live album. Her sixth studio album, Here (2016), became her seventh US R&B/Hip-Hop chart topping album. Keys has received numerous accolades in her career, including 15 competitive Grammy Awards, 17 NAACP Image Awards, 12 ASCAP Awards, and an award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame and National Music Publishers Association. She has sold over 65 million records worldwide. Considered a musical icon, Keys was named by Billboard the top R&B artist of the 2000s decade and placed number 10 on their list of Top 50 R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years. VH1 also included her on their 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and 100 Greatest Women in Music lists, while Time has named her in their 100 list of most influential people in 2005 and 2017. Keys is also acclaimed for her humanitarian work, philanthropy and activism. She co-founded and is the Global Ambassador of the nonprofit HIV/AIDS-fighting organization Keep a Child Alive.
  • Summer Walker
    6
    140 votes
    Summer Marjani Walker (born April 11, 1996) is an American singer-songwriter. She is signed to LoveRenaissance and Interscope Records. Her commercial mixtape Last Day of Summer was released on October 19, 2018. Her debut studio album, Over It was released on October 4, 2019 and received universal acclaim from critics. The album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 chart with 134,000 album-equivalent units in its first full tracking week. Walker made history when her debut album earned the biggest streaming debut ever for a female R&B artist. Walker also was the recipient for Best New Artist at the 2019 Soul Train Music Awards.