singers The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers  

Ranker Music
3.4k votes 768 voters 32.3k views 46 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
160 59
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
126 43
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
113 39
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
117 47
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
81 30
Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Gladys Knight Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music

6
87 34
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Tina Turner Rock music, Dance-pop, Rhythm and blues

7
73 30
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
77 43
Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Billie Holiday Torch song, Ballad, Swing music

9
50 25
Patti LaBelle is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Patti LaBelle Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad

10
51 27
Dinah Washington is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Kasir Radojica added Dinah Washington Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz, Rhythm and blues

11
52 28
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Anita Baker Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz

12
58 33
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Chaka Khan Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

13
49 28
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Roberta Flack Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

14
43 25
Natalie Cole is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Natalie Cole Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Quiet storm

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15
44 26
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Diana Ross Disco, Pop music, Dance music

16
46 28
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Donna Summer New Wave, Disco, Pop music

17
46 28
Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Jennifer Hudson Pop music, Contemporary R&B, Soul music

18
36 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
41 25
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Mary J. Blige Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues

20
43 27
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers

21
52 35
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Alicia Keys Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

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22
32 19
Jill Scott is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Jill Scott Spoken Word Soul, Neo soul, Spoken word

23
34 21
Minnie Riperton is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Minnie Riperton Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

24
23 12
Mavis Staples is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
MarcNiemann added Mavis Staples Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music

25
34 23
Erykah Badu is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Erykah Badu Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

26
34 23
Bessie Smith is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Bessie Smith Jazz, Blues

27
50 38
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Lauryn Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

28
31 22
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Toni Braxton Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

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29
26 19
India.Arie is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
India.Arie Pop music, Neo soul, Folk music

30
37 30
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
26 20
CeCe Winans is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
CeCe Winans Pop music, Hymn, Contemporary worship music

32
25 21
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
47 44
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Beyoncé Knowles Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

34
28 25
Shirley Bassey is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Shirley Bassey Popular music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

35
24 24
Macy Gray is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Macy Gray Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

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36
34 37
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Mariah Carey Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

37
28 31
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
22 25
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
0 1
Lianne La Havas is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Vasilis Evagelatos added Lianne La Havas Folk music, Soul music

40
17 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
20 26
Leona Lewis is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
Leona Lewis Pop music, Neo soul, Contemporary R&B

42
10 15
Bettye LaVette is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
MarcNiemann added Bettye LaVette Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

43
4 9
Solange Knowles is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
JoelBaillie added Solange Knowles Hip hop music, Neo soul, Dance-pop

44
21 30
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
6 12
Ann Peebles is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Black Female Soul Singers
MarcNiemann added Ann Peebles Rhythm and blues, Memphis soul, Blues

46
17 29
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