Music

The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers  

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

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, and can be considered some of the greatest female singers ever.

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
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues
2
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll
3
Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music
4
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B
5
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz
6
Patti LaBelle is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad
7
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Rock music, Dance-pop, Rhythm and blues
8
Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music
9
Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Torch song, Ballad, Swing music
10
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco
11
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz
12
Natalie Cole is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Quiet storm
13
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz
14
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
New Wave, Disco, Pop music
15
Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Pop music, Contemporary R&B, Soul music
16
Mavis Staples is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
MarcNiemann added Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music
17
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
18
Dinah Washington is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Kasir Radojica added Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz, Rhythm and blues
19
Minnie Riperton is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues
20
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues
21
Phyllis Hyman is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
ZintleNyembe added Disco, Pop music, Rhythm and blues
22
Erykah Badu is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age
23
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul
24
Tammi Terrell is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music
25
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul