The Greatest Female Gospel Singers

Over 2.7K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Greatest Female Gospel Singers
Voting Rules
Vote up the top women in gospel music around the world.

These famous female gospel singers can enthrall audiences and congregations alike with their passionate, heartfelt, and powerful voices. They are the ladies whose songs bring life to the gospel, with soaring emotion. Are they the best female gospel singers of all time? Take a look at any woman on this list, and you'll likely answer yes.

When it comes to gospel music, few families are as famous as the Winans. It seems every member of this family was blessed with the gift of an incredible singing voice. Several of the Winans women are considered among the top female gospel singers in the world – and possibly of all time. The family includes CeCe Winans and Vickie Winans. They’re listed separately here, but they often collaborate. Other women gospel singers listed here are also known for their secular music, including the likes of Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, and Whitney Houston. It's up to you to decide whether they should be ranked more highly than women known solely for their gospel music.

From the stunning sounds of Albertina Walker to the powerful vocals of Mahalia Jackson and Shirley Caesar, these are the Queens of Gospel Music. Take a look at this list and vote your favorite female gospel singers up to the top!

Most divisive: Doris Akers
Ranked by
  • Mahalia Jackson

    Mahalia Jackson's soul-stirring voice and unwavering faith earned her the title "Queen of Gospel." Born in New Orleans, she rose to prominence during the 1940s and 1950s, becoming a powerful force in both gospel and civil rights movements. Her passionate renditions of spirituals like "Move on Up a Little Higher" and "His Eye Is on the Sparrow" resonated deeply with audiences, transcending racial and religious barriers. As a trailblazer in gospel music, Mahalia Jackson's influence is still felt today, inspiring generations of singers who came after her.

  • CeCe Winans
    449 votes

    With a career spanning over three decades and numerous accolades under her belt, CeCe Winans has solidified her place among gospel music's elite. Her smooth, powerful vocals have captivated millions worldwide, making her one of the genre's most beloved artists. From her early days performing with her brother BeBe as part of The Winans family to her successful solo career, CeCe has consistently delivered heartfelt performances that uplift and inspire. Her undeniable talent and unwavering commitment to spreading the message of love through music make her an icon in the world of gospel.

  • Shirley Caesar

    A living legend in the world of gospel music, Shirley Caesar is often referred to as "The First Lady of Gospel." With a career spanning over six decades, she has released countless albums and singles that have touched the hearts of many. Her fiery delivery and commanding stage presence have made her a force to be reckoned with in the industry. Known for hits like "Hold My Mule" and "No Charge," Shirley Caesar has used her incredible gift to minister to millions around the globe.

  • Aretha Franklin

    Undoubtedly one of the greatest vocalists of all time, Aretha Franklin began her illustrious career singing gospel at her father's church. Her unmatched vocal prowess and deeply rooted connection to her spiritual upbringing allowed her to effortlessly transition from gospel to secular music, earning her the title "Queen of Soul." However, she never strayed far from her gospel roots, releasing the critically acclaimed album "Amazing Grace" in 1972. Aretha Franklin's undeniable impact on both gospel and popular music has left a lasting legacy that continues to inspire artists today.

  • As a member of the legendary Clark Sisters, Karen Clark Sheard's soulful voice has become synonymous with gospel music excellence. Her powerful vocals have played an integral role in shaping the modern gospel sound, blending traditional elements with contemporary influences. As a solo artist, Karen has continued to push boundaries, releasing chart-topping albums and singles that resonate with fans young and old alike. Her unwavering dedication to her craft has solidified Karen Clark Sheard's status as one of gospel music's most influential voices.

  • Yolanda Adams
    338 votes

    Known for her stunning vocal range and emotionally charged performances, Yolanda Adams has been captivating audiences with her powerful voice for over three decades. Her unique ability to blend traditional gospel with contemporary R&B and jazz elements has garnered numerous awards and accolades throughout her career. With songs like "Open My Heart" and "The Battle Is Not Yours," Yolanda Adams has used her platform to spread a message of hope and encouragement to millions across the globe.