singers The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers  

Ranker Music
3k votes 696 voters 29.5k views 45 items

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
146 54
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

2
105 33
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Nina Simone Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

3
111 40
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Etta James Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

4
107 42
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
78 29
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
75 28
Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Gladys Knight Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music

7
64 29
Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Ella Fitzgerald Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music

8
63 38
Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Billie Holiday Torch song, Ballad, Swing music

9
52 30
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Chaka Khan Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

10
45 25
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Anita Baker Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz

11
48 30
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Alicia Keys Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

12
41 24
Patti LaBelle is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Patti LaBelle Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad

13
42 25
Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Jennifer Hudson Pop music, Contemporary R&B, Soul music

14
43 26
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Donna Summer New Wave, Disco, Pop music

9 Famous Lesbians Who Were Once Married to Men

15
44 27
Dinah Washington is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Kasir Radojica added Dinah Washington Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz, Rhythm and blues

16
44 27
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Roberta Flack Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

17
39 23
Natalie Cole is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Natalie Cole Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Quiet storm

18
34 20
Tammi Terrell is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Tammi Terrell Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

19
37 24
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Diana Ross Disco, Pop music, Dance music

20
37 24
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Mary J. Blige Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues

21
28 16
Jill Scott is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Jill Scott Spoken Word Soul, Neo soul, Spoken word

The Greatest Female Gospel Singers

22
33 21
Bessie Smith is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Bessie Smith Jazz, Blues

23
21 10
Mavis Staples is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
MarcNiemann added Mavis Staples Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music

24
36 25
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers

25
47 36
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Lauryn Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

26
29 21
Minnie Riperton is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Minnie Riperton Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

27
31 23
Erykah Badu is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Erykah Badu Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

28
34 28
Tracy Chapman is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Tracy Chapman Blues-rock, Pop music, Folk music

The Best K-pop Dancers of All Time

29
27 22
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Toni Braxton Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

30
44 41
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Beyoncé Knowles Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

31
27 24
Shirley Bassey is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Shirley Bassey Popular music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

32
23 20
CeCe Winans is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
CeCe Winans Pop music, Hymn, Contemporary worship music

33
22 19
India.Arie is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
India.Arie Pop music, Neo soul, Folk music

34
22 21
Deniece Williams is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Deniece Williams Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

35
32 35
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Mariah Carey Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

The 19 Hottest Girls Who've Turned Down Playboy

36
21 23
Macy Gray is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Macy Gray Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

37
24 28
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Janet Jackson Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

38
20 24
Angie Stone is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Angie Stone Alternative hip hop, Neo soul, Contemporary R&B

39
9 13
Bettye LaVette is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
MarcNiemann added Bettye LaVette Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

40
14 21
Yolanda Adams is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Yolanda Adams Adult contemporary music, Christian music, Pop music

41
2 7
Solange Knowles is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
JoelBaillie added Solange Knowles Hip hop music, Neo soul, Dance-pop

42
17 26
Leona Lewis is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Leona Lewis Pop music, Neo soul, Contemporary R&B

43
4 11
Ann Peebles is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
MarcNiemann added Ann Peebles Rhythm and blues, Memphis soul, Blues

44
18 29
Queen Latifah is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Queen Latifah Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Jazz

45
14 26
Koko Taylor is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Koko Taylor Chicago blues, Electric blues, Rhythm and blues