Soul The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers  

Ranker Music
4.8k votes 1.1k voters 49.8k 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.

list ordered by

1
251 85
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

2
183 57
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
162 52
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

4
137 49
Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music

5
132 47
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Rock music, Dance-pop, Rhythm and blues

6
115 38
Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music

7
164 66
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B

8
88 37
Patti LaBelle is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad

9
108 54
Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Torch song, Ballad, Swing music

10
76 37
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Disco, Pop music, Dance music

11
83 43
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

12
74 37
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

13
74 40
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz

14
62 31
Natalie Cole is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Quiet storm

15
68 36
Dinah Washington is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Kasir Radojica added Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz, Rhythm and blues

16
72 40
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
New Wave, Disco, Pop music

17
56 30
Minnie Riperton is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

18
40 19
Mavis Staples is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
MarcNiemann added Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music

19
53 30
Tammi Terrell is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

20
61 38
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers

21
62 39
Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Pop music, Contemporary R&B, Soul music

22
71 47
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

23
58 38
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues

24
45 28
Jill Scott is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Spoken Word Soul, Neo soul, Spoken word

25
74 54
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

26
47 34
Erykah Badu is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

27
47 35
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

28
36 25
India.Arie is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Pop music, Neo soul, Folk music

29
40 31
Bessie Smith is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Jazz, Blues

30
46 40
Tracy Chapman is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
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
Popular music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

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

33
4 0
Big Mama Thornton is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Kerrie Sweeney added Rhythm and blues, Texas blues

34
32 31
CeCe Winans is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Pop music, Hymn, Contemporary worship music

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

36
3 1
Odetta is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Kerrie Sweeney added Odetta Blues

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

38
30 32
Macy Gray is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

39
56 63
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

40
25 31
Yolanda Adams is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Adult contemporary music, Christian music, Pop music

41
44 54
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

42
5 10
Lianne La Havas is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Vasilis Evagelatos added Folk music, Soul music

43
36 49
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

44
24 35
Leona Lewis is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Pop music, Neo soul, Contemporary R&B

45
25 37
Koko Taylor is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Chicago blues, Electric blues, Rhythm and blues

46
11 21
Solange Knowles is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
JoelBaillie added Hip hop music, Neo soul, Dance-pop

47
28 44
Queen Latifah is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Jazz

48
9 20
Ann Peebles is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
MarcNiemann added Rhythm and blues, Memphis soul, Blues

49
11 23
Bettye LaVette is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
MarcNiemann added Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music