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
53 15
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
25 9
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
27 14
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
30 17
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Tina Turner Rock music, Dance-pop, Rhythm and blues

5
31 18
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Whitney Houston Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B

6
22 13
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
19 11
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
14 8
Dinah Washington is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Kasir Radojica added Dinah Washington Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz, Rhythm and blues

9
16 10
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
17 11
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
17 11
Tracy Chapman is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Tracy Chapman Blues-rock, Pop music, Folk music

12
17 12
Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Billie Holiday Torch song, Ballad, Swing music

13
17 13
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Lauryn Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

14
15 11
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Roberta Flack Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

15
15 11
Natalie Cole is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Natalie Cole Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Quiet storm

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16
14 11
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Alicia Keys Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

17
16 14
Amy Winehouse is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Kasir Radojica added Amy Winehouse Doo-wop, Pop music, Neo soul

18
12 11
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Donna Summer New Wave, Disco, Pop music

19
12 11
Patti LaBelle is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Patti LaBelle Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad

20
12 11
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers

21
11 11
Erykah Badu is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Erykah Badu Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

22
11 11
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Toni Braxton Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

23
9 9
Tammi Terrell is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Tammi Terrell Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

24
12 13
Bessie Smith is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Bessie Smith Jazz, Blues

25
11 12
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Diana Ross Disco, Pop music, Dance music

26
10 11
Shirley Bassey is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Shirley Bassey Popular music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

27
14 16
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Mary J. Blige Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues

28
10 12
Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Jennifer Hudson Pop music, Contemporary R&B, Soul music

29
15 18
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Beyoncé Knowles Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

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30
7 9
Jill Scott is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Jill Scott Spoken Word Soul, Neo soul, Spoken word

31
7 9
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
12 15
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Mariah Carey Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

33
8 11
CeCe Winans is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
CeCe Winans Pop music, Hymn, Contemporary worship music

34
8 11
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
7 11
Minnie Riperton is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Minnie Riperton Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

36
7 12
Angie Stone is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Angie Stone Alternative hip hop, Neo soul, Contemporary R&B

37
6 11
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
5 10
India.Arie is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
India.Arie Pop music, Neo soul, Folk music

39
4 10
Yolanda Adams is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Yolanda Adams Adult contemporary music, Christian music, Pop music

40
6 14
Leona Lewis is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Leona Lewis Pop music, Neo soul, Contemporary R&B

41
4 12
Koko Taylor is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Koko Taylor Chicago blues, Electric blues, Rhythm and blues

42
3 16
Queen Latifah is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Queen Latifah Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Jazz