soul The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers  

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List Rules Vote up the top black women soul singers and vocalists.

Their songs are iconic. Their voices are unforgettable. These are the greatest black female soul singers of all time, as ranked by music lovers like you. Although these women all specialize in soul, their individual musical styles remain unique. Some famous black female soul singers sing the blues while other top black woman soul singers infuse gospel into their heartfelt songs. Many of the best black female soul singers have written chart-topping hit singles.

What artists will you find on this list of the best black female soul singers? Aretha Franklin is known as the Queen of Soul. “Respect," “Think,” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” are just a few of the classic numbers that helped her earn her royal nickname. Etta James is another great singer who injects soul into her biggest songs. But the genre isn't a thing of the past – take Erykah Badu, one of the central artists of the neo-soul revival in the 1990s. Or Queen Bey herself, who blends soul sounds into her pop smashes. Other notable artists you'll see here include Nina Simone, Natalie Cole, and Chaka Khan.

Which black female soul singer do you think is the best? Give your favorites a thumbs up to move them to the top of the list, and please add any musicians that are missing.

list ordered by

1
76 19
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Aretha Franklin Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

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2
40 13
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Etta James Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

3
43 16
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Nina Simone Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

4
47 22
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Whitney Houston Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B

5
42 20
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Tina Turner Rock music, Dance-pop, Rhythm and blues

6
32 14
Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Ella Fitzgerald Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music

7
31 15
Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Gladys Knight Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music

8
27 16
Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Billie Holiday Torch song, Ballad, Swing music

9
23 13
Dinah Washington is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Kasir Radojica added Dinah Washington Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz, Rhythm and blues

10
21 12
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Roberta Flack Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

11
23 14
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Chaka Khan Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

12
24 15
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Anita Baker Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz

13
22 14
Tracy Chapman is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Tracy Chapman Blues-rock, Pop music, Folk music

14
20 12
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers

15
25 18
Amy Winehouse is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Kasir Radojica added Amy Winehouse Doo-wop, Pop music, Neo soul

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16
19 12
Patti LaBelle is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Patti LaBelle Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad

17
24 18
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Lauryn Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

18
21 15
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Alicia Keys Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

19
20 14
Natalie Cole is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Natalie Cole Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Quiet storm

20
19 13
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Donna Summer New Wave, Disco, Pop music

21
17 11
Shirley Bassey is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Shirley Bassey Popular music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

22
19 14
Erykah Badu is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Erykah Badu Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

23
17 13
Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Jennifer Hudson Pop music, Contemporary R&B, Soul music

24
15 12
Tammi Terrell is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Tammi Terrell Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

25
18 16
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Diana Ross Disco, Pop music, Dance music

26
16 14
Bessie Smith is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Bessie Smith Jazz, Blues

27
13 12
Minnie Riperton is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Minnie Riperton Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

28
12 12
Jill Scott is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Jill Scott Spoken Word Soul, Neo soul, Spoken word

29
3 2
Mavis Staples is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
MarcNiemann added Mavis Staples Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music

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30
15 16
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Toni Braxton Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

31
11 12
Macy Gray is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Macy Gray Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

32
1 1
Ann Peebles is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
MarcNiemann added Ann Peebles Rhythm and blues, Memphis soul, Blues

33
17 20
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Mary J. Blige Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues

34
22 27
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Beyoncé Knowles Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

35
11 14
Deniece Williams is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Deniece Williams Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

36
10 13
India.Arie is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
India.Arie Pop music, Neo soul, Folk music

37
2 4
Bettye LaVette is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
MarcNiemann added Bettye LaVette Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

38
10 14
CeCe Winans is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
CeCe Winans Pop music, Hymn, Contemporary worship music

39
11 16
Angie Stone is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Angie Stone Alternative hip hop, Neo soul, Contemporary R&B

40
17 24
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Mariah Carey Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

41
11 18
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Janet Jackson Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

42
8 15
Koko Taylor is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Koko Taylor Chicago blues, Electric blues, Rhythm and blues

43
7 14
Yolanda Adams is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Yolanda Adams Adult contemporary music, Christian music, Pop music

44
8 20
Leona Lewis is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Leona Lewis Pop music, Neo soul, Contemporary R&B

45
6 19
Queen Latifah is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Queen Latifah Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Jazz