Singers The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers  

Ranker Music
4.5k votes 1k voters 45k views 49 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, 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.

1
173 53
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Etta James Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

2
232 82
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Aretha Franklin Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

3
149 48
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
127 40
Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Gladys Knight Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music

5
124 41
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
107 38
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
152 65
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Whitney Houston Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B

8
77 35
Patti LaBelle is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Patti LaBelle Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad

9
101 54
Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Billie Holiday Torch song, Ballad, Swing music

10
78 42
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Chaka Khan Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

11
70 36
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Roberta Flack Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

12
71 38
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
69 37
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Diana Ross Disco, Pop music, Dance music

14
66 36
Dinah Washington is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Kasir Radojica added Dinah Washington Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz, Rhythm and blues

15
67 39
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Donna Summer New Wave, Disco, Pop music

16
57 31
Natalie Cole is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Natalie Cole Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Quiet storm

17
49 28
Minnie Riperton is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Minnie Riperton Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

18
36 17
Mavis Staples is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
MarcNiemann added Mavis Staples Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music

19
58 37
Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Jennifer Hudson Pop music, Contemporary R&B, Soul music

20
47 29
Tammi Terrell is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Tammi Terrell Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

21
64 45
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Lauryn Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

22
55 37
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers

23
71 52
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Alicia Keys Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

24
53 36
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Mary J. Blige Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues

25
39 28
Jill Scott is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Jill Scott Spoken Word Soul, Neo soul, Spoken word

26
43 32
Erykah Badu is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Erykah Badu Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

27
40 30
Bessie Smith is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Bessie Smith Jazz, Blues

28
32 25
India.Arie is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
India.Arie Pop music, Neo soul, Folk music

29
40 33
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
45 39
Tracy Chapman is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Tracy Chapman Blues-rock, Pop music, Folk music

31
37 32
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
30 28
Deniece Williams is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Deniece Williams Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

33
31 30
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
3 0
Big Mama Thornton is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Kerrie Sweeney added Big Mama Thornton Rhythm and blues, Texas blues

35
30 32
Angie Stone is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Angie Stone Alternative hip hop, Neo soul, Contemporary R&B

36
2 1
Memphis Minnie is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Kerrie Sweeney added Memphis Minnie Blues

37
2 1
Odetta is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Kerrie Sweeney added Odetta Blues

38
54 60
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Beyoncé Knowles Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

39
43 49
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Mariah Carey Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

40
28 32
Macy Gray is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Macy Gray Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

41
23 30
Yolanda Adams is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Yolanda Adams Adult contemporary music, Christian music, Pop music

42
35 46
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Janet Jackson Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

43
4 10
Lianne La Havas is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Vasilis Evagelatos added Lianne La Havas Folk music, Soul music

44
23 34
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
27 42
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

46
23 37
Koko Taylor is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Koko Taylor Chicago blues, Electric blues, Rhythm and blues

47
9 20
Ann Peebles is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
MarcNiemann added Ann Peebles Rhythm and blues, Memphis soul, Blues

48
11 23
Bettye LaVette is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
MarcNiemann added Bettye LaVette Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

49
7 20
Solange Knowles is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
JoelBaillie added Solange Knowles Hip hop music, Neo soul, Dance-pop