The Greatest Female Singers of All Time, Ranked

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Music has given us many memorable voices including the number of incredibly talented women who have stepped up to the mic to bring us some remarkable songs. Their voices echo throughout arenas and our hearts, staying in our heads for hours, days, years, and sometimes even generations. Out of the thousands of female singers who have recorded songs, these are the top 40 talented women who stand out from the rest.

Doris Day

Beginning her career in 1939 as a big band singer, Doris Day found mainstream success in 1945. Her two big singles “Sentimental Journey” and “My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time” were recorded with Les Brown & His Band of Renown, and spoke to many Americans.

Instagram // @dorisdaytoday

The blonde-haired beauty then left Brown to embark on a solo career, recording more than 650 songs from 1947 to 1967. It was also during this time that Day ended up becoming one of the biggest names in film and was even a top box office earner four times.

Joan Baez

Born in 1941, Joan Chandos Baez grew up to become a singer-songwriter, musician, and activist. She was incredibly popular during the ’60s counterculture era. Although much of her music was associated with folk, it also encompassed rock, pop, country, and gospel.

Instagram // @read.range

She also recorded the songs of many of the most popular bands of the day, and was even the first to record Bob Dylan. Internationally celebrated, Baez got her introduction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2017.

Debbie Harry

Born in Miami, Florida, Debbie Harry worked many jobs as a secretary and dancer before finding mainstream success for decades. In 1974, Harry formed the band Blondie and two years later they released their first album. Blondie released many albums throughout the decades.

Instagram // @blondieofficial

Most recently, the band’s 2017 album, Pollinator, actually topped number four in the United Kingdom, showing just how big of an impact Harry and Blondie have had.

Cyndi Lauper

With a career spanning over 40 years, it’s safe to say that many have loved the music of Cyndi Lauper. Her first album, She’s So Unusual, was released in 1983 and became the first debut album by a female artist to hit the top five most popular songs on the Billboard Hot 100.

Instagram // @cyndilauper

Two years later, Lauper got a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. Since then, not only has she won many awards but she’s also sold over 50 million records around the world.

Sarah Vaughan

Sarah Vaughan has gone by many names throughout her career including “The Divine One” and “Sassy.” She got into music from a young age due to the fact that she was raised by two parents who were both very musically inclined.

Instagram // @jazz.sketches

Her father was a guitar player while her mother preferred singing in the choir. That talent was clearly inherited by their daughter, Sarah, who went on to record over 50 albums and won four Grammy Awards. By the end of her career, she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Sia Furler

Born in Australia, Sia Furler soon became better known as just Sia. While she’s an undoubtedly talented singer, she’s also a very gifted director, actor, and songwriter. After forming a band called Crisp with a few of her friends, Sia moved from Australia to London before heading to New York in order to try and make it on her own.

Instagram // @siafurlersource

She struggled for years before making it big with two major albums. She has since written many popular songs including “Titanium” for David Guetta, “Diamonds” for Rihanna, and “Wild Ones” for Flo Rida.

Norah Jones

Growing up, Norah Jones had been introduced to many different types of music, which no doubt helped to give her the unique sound that she has today. When she was a child, Jones learned to play many different types of instruments including guitar, piano, and saxophone.

Instagram // @norahjones

In 2002, the brown-eyed bombshell released her debut album, Come Away With Me, which sold over 27 million albums and even won five Grammy Awards. Still, we can’t say that we’re surprised considering that we could sit and listen to that album over and over again — it’s just that good.

Carole King

Carole King is known for many things including her incredibly powerful voice and her talent for writing songs that captivate audiences. We’re not just saying that either — of the innumerable songs that King has written, 118 of them have made it to the Billboard Hot 100.

Instagram // @carole_king

These songs have arguably become some of the most recognizable for many people across many generations. Her album, Tapestry, held the record for the first place on a U.S. chart, staying there for 20 years.

Sarah McLachlan

Originally from Canada, Sarah McLachlan discovered her love for music as a child and began enrolling in classes for guitar, classical piano, and singing. Her vocal range is undoubtedly one of the most impressive things about her, with an incredible ability to start at mezzo and go all the way up to soprano.

Instagram // @officialsarahmclachlan

She also fights on behalf of other female artists, hosting the Lilith Fair music festival, which earned tens of millions of dollars all donated to women’s charities.

Gladys Knight

Even people who haven’t listened to Gladys Knight have no doubt heard of her name. She was, after all, known as the “Empress of Soul” during her time performing on stage. Her band, Gladys Knight & the Pipe, was actually started with a few close friends and family members, but ended up being responsible for many of the hits that went on to earn Grammy Awards.

Instagram // @msgladysknight

She has also gone into business, opening a chain of restaurants called Gladys Knight & Ron Winans’ Chicken & Waffles.


It’s tough to say which title is the most impressive when it comes to women in music, but if Cher isn’t the clear winner, then she’s definitely in the running. Her title as the “Goddess of Pop,” is definitely earned after she made a major splash in an industry that is still considered to be very male-dominated.

Instagram // @cher

Not only is she a talented singer, but her ability as an entertainer has even won her an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Patti Smith

While she might not be the biggest household name on this list, Patti Smith certainly put her stamp on the world of music, especially in the ’70s. It was during this time that she became an important figure in the New York City punk movement with her debut record Horses.

Reddit // @Equivalent_Warthog22

Known by many as the “punk poet laureate,” Smith was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007 and is still performing until this very day.

Chaka Khan

There is no denying that Chaka Khan is one of the most synonymous figures with disco and funk. With a career spanning five decades, Yvette Marie Stevens burst onto the scene as the lead singer of the successful funk band Rufus.

Instagram // @chakakhan

However, her solo career was just as successful, becoming the first R&B singer to have a crossover hit with a rapper, with 1984’s “I Feel for You.” Khan has had a staggering amount of critical and commercial success, selling over 70 million records globally and winning ten Grammy Awards to her name.

Dusty Springfield

One British pop star who made an easy transition to American airwaves was the one and only Dusty Springfield. A prominent figure on the blue-eyed soul scene, Springfield had hits such as “Son of Preacher Man” and “I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself.”

Instagram // @dustyspringfieldofficial

She was also famous for performing in evening gowns and ushering in the Swinging Sixties. After battling cancer on and off for five years, Springfield passed away in 1999. Her music still lives on and has been used in films such as Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.

Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande didn’t actually start out as a pop star. Her early years were spent on Broadway before she landed a role on the Nickelodeon show, Victorious.

Instagram // @arianagrande

After six years on Broadway, the young star decided to put out an album in 2014, which mixed the sounds of EDM and R&B. This album made her one of the most recognizable voices with songs like “Problem,” “Love Me Harder,” “Thank U, Next,” and “Bang Bang” hitting the top of the charts.

Diana Ross

Diana Ross isn’t just an amazing voice for audiences to listen to. In fact, some of the biggest names in the industry cite her as their main source of inspiration including Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, and Madonna. Ross’ first songs were released with her vocal group The Supremes and included songs like “Love Child,” “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” “Where Did Our Love Go.”

Instagram // @dianaross

As a solo artist, many of her songs became major hits such as “Upside Down” and “I’m Coming Out.”

Gloria Estefan

Everything could have gone so terribly wrong for Gloria Estefan early on in her career. The Cuban-American singer fractured her spine after a truck collided into her tour bus in 1990. Amazingly though, Estefan returned to her tour 10 months later after a rapid recovery.

Instagram // @gloriaestefan

The woman responsible for hits such as “Conga” and “Anything for You” became the first performer to have an album that was certified as Diamond in Spain with 1993’s Mi Tierra. She is believed to have sold over 120 million records worldwide.

Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson is both an incredibly successful singer and the first-ever winner of the reality competitive singing show, American Idol. Being the first winner of the show allowed her the opportunity to record her first album, which became a major success.

Instagram // @kellyclarkson

In fact, a single from that album, “A Moment Like This” even became the best selling single in the U.S. back in 2002. She didn’t stop there, though. Her two songs, “Because of You” and “Since You’ve Been Gone” have each earned her a Grammy.

Toni Braxton

While she may have been overshadowed slightly by contemporaries such as Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey, there is no denying Toni Braxton’s influence on R&B music. Famous for hits such as “Un-Break My Heart” and “You’re Makin’ Me High/Let it Flow,” Braxton has sold over 67 million records worldwide and has seven Grammy Awards to her name.

Instagram // @tonibraxton

Braxton also has success on TV, having starred in reality series Braxton Family Values and also competing in the seventh season of Dancing With the Stars.

Ann Wilson

Ann Wilson — founder and lead singer of Heart — and her younger sister, Nancy, have worked together to produce 16 different albums and sell more than 35 million copies of those incredible albums.

Instagram // @annwilson

These albums have established Wilson as an incredible rock and metal singer so much so that she was even inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In her own words, “Artists make art. Singers sing. Players play. Gypsies travel. Music lights fires everywhere. It’s like oxygen!”

Freda Payne

It’s amazing to think that Freda Payne was never signed to Motown. The talented singer is most famous for hit singles such as “Band of Gold” and “The Unhooked Generation.” It seems like singing ran in the family as Payne’s younger sister Scherrie was a member of The Supremes, along with Diana Ross.

Instagram // @retrokingdanny

Freda Payne has also had some experience as an actress, appearing in movies such as Nutty Professor II: The Klumps and Ella: First Lady of Song. She still performs until this very day.

Kate Bush

Born Catherine Bush, Kate is a record-breaking English singer, songwriter, and performer, who in 1978, topped the UK Singles Chart with her debut self-written single at just 19 years old.

Reddit // @Normal_Thought421

With the success of her song “Wuthering Heights”, she became the first female UK artist to achieve a number one hit for her own song. Since then, Bush has had 25 Top 40 singles in the UK, including hits like “Running Up That Hill” and “Don’t Give Up”.

Bonnie Tyler

Bonnie is a Welsh singer who is renowned for her unique husky voice. She rose to fame with her initial album in 1977, which had hits on it like “Lost in France” and “More Than a Lover.”

Instagram // @bonnietylerofficial

Then, in 1978, her song “It’s a Heartache” made it to number three on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number four on the UK singles chart. In the 1980s, she began to produce rock hits like her mega-successful song “Total Eclipse of the Heart”.


Born Helen Folasade Abu, Sade is a British singer and actress, who is known as one of the most influential British female artists in history for her great impact on contemporary music. Sade was the lead singer in her eponymous band.

Instagram // @helenadusade

Her debut album Diamond Life, released in 1984, become one of the greatest of that era. In 1985, she was one of the singers who performed at the renowned Live Aid Charity Concert. By 2002, she won the award of the OBE, for her dedication to music.

Minnie Julia Riperton Rudolph

Minnie was an American singer-songwriter, known in the media as the “Queen of The Whistle Register” because of her five-octave coloratura soprano singing range.

Instagram // @the_legacy_of_minnie_riperton

In April of 1975, Minnie released her hit song entitled “Loving You” which aided her rise to fame. The song came from her 1974 gold album, Perfect Angel. Unfortunately, she passed away at age 31.

Grace Barnett Wing

Better known as Grace Slick, Wing was a prominent singer in San Fransico’s psychedelic music scene in the mid-1960s. The now-retired singer-songwriter had a four-decade-long music career, performing with legends like Jefferson Airplane, The Great Society, and Jefferson Starship.

Instagram // @graceslickofficial

Her songwriting skills produced some of the most well-known songs in music history, including “Somebody to Love”, “White Rabbit”, “We Built This City” and lastly, “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.” She was also known by the names of “Gracie,” and “The Chrome Nun”.

Kim Carnes

Known for her raspy vocal ability with similarities to Rod Stewart, Kim Carnes rose to fame in 1980 after being commissioned by Kenny Rogers to co-write his album, Gideon. Their duet together entitled “Don’t Fall in Love with a Dreamer” hit number four on the Billboard Hot 100 and landed the pair a Grammy nomination.

Instagram // @kimcarnesofficial

Later, Carnes released the album Mistaken Identity, which featured the major hit “Bette Davis Eyes.” The song became the US’s best-selling single that year and scored Carnes a Grammy Award for Record of the Year.

Alanis Morissette

Known as the “Queen of Alt-Rock Angst” by Rolling Stones, Alanis has sold over 75 million records globally. The Canadian-American singer-songwriter and record producer is known in the music industry for her distinct mezzo-soprano vocals.

Instagram // @alanis

In 1995, she released her most notable and rock-related album entitled Jagged Little Pill, which sold over 33 million copies worldwide. The album was made into a rock musical in 2017, which scored over 15 Tony nominations, including Best Musical.

Sophie Michelle Ellis-Bextor

Sophie is an English singer-songwriter and model who rose to fame in the 1990s, as the lead singer of the Britpop and indie rock band Theaudience. After the band split up, Ellis-Bextor achieved solo success with her songs that combined mainstream pop and disco with 1980s electronic music.

Instagram // @sophieellisbextor

Her debut solo album in 2001 entitled Read My Lips reached number two on the UK Albums Charts and received double-platinum status. Her second album in 2007 reached number seven in the UK.

Kylie Ann Minogue

Known to the public as just Kylie, Minogue is an Australian singer-songwriter, actress, record producer, and TV judge. She is also referred to by the European media as the “Princess of Pop” for her constant reinvention in fashion and music.

Instagram // @kylieminogue

Minogue is the highest-selling female Australian artist in history, having sold more than 70 million records globally. She has also won many music awards including a Grammy, three Brit Awards, and 17 ARIA Music accolades.

Britney Spears

Spears is referred to in the US as the “Princess of Pop” due to her influential teen pop music in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The singer-songwriter and dancer had two of the best-selling albums of all time, entitled Baby One More Time (1999) and Oops!… I Did It Again (2000) which were certified diamond status and made her the best-selling teenage artist ever.

Instagram // @britspearsru

Rolling Stone named her debut track the greatest single of all time in 2020 and her second album held a 15-year record for selling over one million copies within its first week.

Paula Abdul

Abdul is a renowned American singer-songwriter, dancer, choreographer, actress, and TV personality. She rose to fame after choreographing music videos for Janet Jackson during the peak of the music video industry. After signing with Virgin Records, Abdul released her debut album entitled Forever Your Girl in 1988.

Instagram // @paulaabdul

It went on to be one of the most successful albums of that era, selling over seven million copies in the US and breaking a record on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, tying her with the legendary Diana Ross.


Shakira is known as the “Queen of Latin Music” for her diverse music selection. The Colombian singer-songwriter is also a renowned dancer, actress, and philanthropist. Shakira rose to fame in the English-language market with her 2001 album entitled Laundry Service, which sold over 13 million copies.

Instagram // @missuniversedits0

In this album were her international number-one hits, “Whenever, Wherever” and “Underneath Your Clothes,” which gave her leading status in the music industry worldwide

Fiona Apple

Fiona Apple is an eleven-time Grammy Award nominee and one-time winner. The American singer-songwriter has had four consecutive decades of music achievements with albums that have reached the top fifteen on the US charts.

Reddit // @xoxonicolle

Her debut album, Tidal was released in 1996 and won the Grammy Award for Best Female Vocal Rock Performance for its single “Criminal.” Her next album, When the Pawn… was also successful and even certified as platinum.


Born Florian Cloud de Bounevialle O’Malley Armstrong, Dido is an English singer who achieved global recognition in 1999 for her debut album No Angel. The album sold over 21 million copies worldwide and won several accolades such as the MTV Europe Music Award for Best New Act and two Brit Awards.

Instagram // @dido

Her next album in 2003 entitled Life for Rent, propelled her fame forward with tracks like “White Flag” and the cover song “Life for Rent.” Due to the success of her first two albums, Dido made UK chart history.

Tracy Chapman

Tracy is a multi-platinum and four-time Grammy Award-winning artist. The American singer-songwriter is best known for her renowned tracks including “Fast Car,” “Give Me One Reason” and “Crossroads”.

Instagram // @tracychapmanonline

Her debut album entitled Tracy Chapman earned her six Grammy nominations, of which she won three, including Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “Fast Car.” Since then, Chapman has released six more studio albums, such as her multi-platinum album New Beginning, for which she won her fourth Grammy.

Sheryl Crow

To say that Sheryl Crow has been a crossover hit over the years would be quite the understatement. Known primarily for her country music, Crow has ventured into a variety of other genres and mediums.

Instagram // @sherylcrow

Famous for songs such as “All I Wanna Do” and “If it Makes You Happy,” Crow had the honor of singing the theme song for the 1997 James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies. As of 2020, Crow has sold over 50 million albums globally and has a staggering nine Grammy Awards to her name.

Dionne Warwick

This might come as a surprise, but Dionne Warwick is actually one of the top 40 most successful singers of the latter half of the 20th century. With hit singles such as “Walk On By” and “I Say a Little Pray for You,” it’s not hard to see why.

Instagram // @therealdionnew

Between 1962 and 1998, 56 of Warwick’s singles made the Billboard Hot 100. Outside of music, Warwick is a successful philanthropist having been a United Nations Global Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization. Warwick’s second son, Damon Elliot, is also a talented record producer.

Gwen Stefani

Many music fans will know Gwen Stefani for her role as the lead singer of ’90s rock band No Doubt. Over the years though, the talented singer has transitioned into mainstream pop and built a successful solo career. Stefani had a myriad of huge hits such as “Hollaback Girl,” which became the first US download to sell one million copies.

Instagram // @gwenstefani

Stefani is still as relevant as ever, having been a host on The Voice over the last few years, as well as having a high profile relationship with country star Blake Shelton.

Lauryn Hill

A truly versatile performer, Lauryn Hill seems to have done it all in the entertainment industry, especially in the ’90s. Having originally made a name for herself alongside Wyclef Jean and Pras in the Hip-Hop group The Fugees, Hill eventually embarked on a successful solo career.

Instagram // @​​mslaurynhill

She received critical acclaim for her album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Over the last two decades though, Hill has been out of the public eye but has been in the headlines after pleading guilty to tax evasion.

Annie Lennox

One of the quintessential figures of the synthpop scene during the ’80s, Annie Lennox is best known for being one of half of the successful band Eurythmics. She was always known for pushing the envelope, most notably for wearing orange-dyed cropped hair and a suit in the music video for “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).”

Instagram // @officialannielennox

Lennox also had success as a solo artist and contributed songs to soundtracks of blockbuster movies such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Janet Jackson

There is no denying that Janet Jackson comes from musical royalty. Despite being the younger sister of Michael Jackson and the rest of the Jackson Five, this never stopped Janet from reaching for the stars.

Instagram // @janetjackson

She burst onto the scene as both a young actress and as a recording artist, starring in TV shows such as Good Times and Diff’rent Strokes. Jackson has sold over 100 million records worldwide and has numerous hit singles such as “Rhythm Nation” and “All for You.”

Mary J. Blige

Mary J. Blige is widely regarded as one of the most respected singers of the last 30 years. She has numerous hits such as “Family Affair” and “Without You,” with the latter being named by Billboard as the most successful R&B/Hip-Hop song of all time.

Instagram // @therealmaryjblige

Over the years, Blige has also ventured into the world of acting, having prominent roles in films such as Mudbound, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She also recently starred in the Netflix series The Umbrella Academy.

Stevie Nicks

There is no denying that Stevie Nicks has had a rollercoaster ride of a career. Famous for her work as a vocalist for Fleetwood Mac, Nicks’s role in the band became more prominent as the years progressed and she is front and center of the band’s most successful singles, “Dreams.”

Instagram // @stevienicks

Rolling Stone named Nicks as one of the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time. She has also had some acting credentials, having featured in shows such as Up All Night and American Horror Story.

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton actually got her start, not as a singer, but as a songwriter for other artists. That time spent helping other artists reach success worked out for her, as she saved some of her favorite lyrics for herself and became the worldwide sensation that she is today.

Instagram // @dollyparton

Her career reached its apex during the 1970s and ’80s, and even though it reached a bit of a low point in the ’90s, it seems as though Parton is making a comeback.

Judy Garland

Even though Judy Garland was a talented singer, most people don’t remember her as such. When asked, many people would likely respond that they recognize the name from one of the biggest films in history, The Wizard of Oz.

Instagram // @garlandofjudy

That being said, Garland was actually a very gifted singer with an incredible range. She had a very versatile approach to music, being able to easily pull off singing and performing jazz, soul, and blues. All this, we might add, she learned entirely on her own.

Shania Twain

Shania Twain isn’t just a singer — she’s also a Queen, although not the queen of any country or kingdom.

Instagram // @shaniatwain

According to her fans, Twain is the undisputed “Queen of Country Pop.” Her love for country runs deep, and in her own words, “Country music is still your grandpa’s music, but it’s also your daughter’s music. It’s getting bigger and better all the time, and I’m glad to be a part of it.” Since her new 2017 album, Twain has been busy touring the world.

Janis Joplin

Many consider Janis Joplin to be one of the most famous female rock stars of her era. She got her start on stage in front of live audiences, playing at numerous festivals before releasing two albums and earning her a spot at the historic Woodstock music festival.

Instagram // @janisjoplin

Many have considered her to be a major inspiration. According to Stevie Nicks, “Janis put herself out there completely, and her voice was not only strong and soulful; it was painfully and beautifully real.”

Nina Simone

Nina Simone didn’t get into the music industry because she dreamed of being in the spotlight and making millions. For her, it was a necessity since her family needed the money.

Instagram // @ninasimone

She began by playing piano in nightclubs before eventually getting spotted and offered a contract deal, which helped her to become a household name. During her career, she recorded over 30 studio and live albums. She had a talent for being able to “belt barroom blues, croon cabaret, and explore jazz.”

Lady Gaga

Ever wondered what Lady Gaga’s real name is? It’s Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta so, we can understand why she might have shortened it to a much more pronounceable stage name.

Instagram // @ladygaga

She has certainly made a name for herself as an incredible singer. Beyond that, though, her choice of costumes and wardrobe — as well as her alluring performances on stage — have made her a topic of many conversations. She got her start working at clubs throughout New York before taking to the world stage and becoming the icon that she is today.

Etta James

Etta James is more than just a talented musician and singer — for many, she is what incredible soul, jazz, and blues music is supposed to sound like.

Instagram // @ettajamesofficial

Her songs, “The Wallflower,” “Tell Mama,” “Something’s Got a Hold on Me,” “I’d Rather Go Blind,” and “At Last,” have become unforgettable hits. James is also credited for bridging the gap between R&B and rock and roll. By 1993, Etta James got her well-deserved spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Amy Winehouse

“If you don’t throw yourself into something, you’ll never know what you could have had.” These wise words are from Amy Winehouse, one of the most prolific singers and guitarists who earned praise from figures like Bob Dylan in which he described her as, “the last real individualist around.”

Instagram // @amywinehouse

Her time on stage and with the guitar resulted in two albums from which she became the first British woman to win five Grammy Awards. Some of her most popular songs are “Stronger Than Me,” “Love is Losing Game,” “Rehab,” and “Back to Black.”

Patsy Cline

One of the biggest artists to make a very successful genre cross, Patsy Cline began as a country music star before moving on to pop where she continued to entertain millions.

Twitter // @RealPatsyCline

Cline is still considered to be one of the most influential artists of the 20th century as many fans point to her diverse music styles and her “emotional expression and delivery of lyrics.” To this day, she has continued to be an inspiration for many artists.

Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys is considered to be the “Queen of R&B” although she didn’t begin as a pop or R&B star. In fact, Keys started out as a classically trained pianist who actually started writing her own music when she was just 12 years old.

Instagram // @aliciakeys

By age 15, she’d already been signed with a major record label and produced a debut album, Songs in A Minor, which earned her 16 million copies and a Grammy Award. Can you imagine being that young and successful?

Donna Summer

Born as LaDonna Adrian Gains, Donna Summer earned major fame and recognition during the disco music era. Not one to sit back and let others outshine her, Summer was the first artist in history to have back-to-back albums reach number one on the Billboard 200 chart in the United States.

Instagram // @officialdonnasummer

Some of her biggest hits are still played at disco parties and include “Love to Love You Baby,” “I Feel Love,” and “Hot Stuff.”

Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell isn’t afraid of blending together different sounds, and has experimented in a range of genres including folk, jazz, pop, and rock. Her music is often described as poetic, with particular attention being paid to her ability as both a singer and a songwriter.

Instagram // @jonimitchell

Her songs reflect deep and profound emotions including love, social, and personal critiques of society. Madonna once said of her, “I would have to say of all the women I’ve heard, she had the most profound effect on me from a lyrical point of view.”

Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday got her start in music by singing in music clubs in Harlem. It was there that she was discovered by John Hammond, a record producer who helped her record her first songs.

Instagram // @billieholidayofficial

She found immense success during the 1930s and 1940s with her song, “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” becoming a standard in the world of jazz. She never did have any formal musical education, but more than made up for it with improvisational skill and an incredible voice.


What else can be said about Madonna? Having been the quintessential pop star of the ’80s, the singer of hits such as “Material Girl” and “Like a Virgin” has constantly reinvented herself over the years. She has incorporated a variety of sounds into her music and is just as recognized for her image as she has been for her voice.

Instagram // @sinulle

Madonna has also had a fairly successful career in Hollywood, having starred in movies such as A League of Their Own and Evita.

Julie Andrews

Julie Andrews isn’t just a talented singer. In fact, she might be one of the most talented women in the entertainment industry. She is both a successful singer, starring on Broadway in shows like My Fair Lady and Camelot — earning the title of “Britain’s Youngest Prima Donna.”

Twitter // @filmartbox

Besides that, The Sound of Music star is an Academy Award-winning actress and a successful novelist as well. Andrews is considered to have a voice for opera, but she prefers to sing music that she describes as being more “bright and sunny.”

Tina Turner

Rising to fame as part of the band, Ike & Tina Turner Revue, Tina Turner became known by both her fans and her critics as the “Queen of Rock and Roll.” Over the course of her career, Turner won an astounding 12 Grammy Awards and a Life Achievement Award.

Instagram // @tinaturner

She is known for many things such as her incredibly energetic style and powerful voice. Some of her biggest hits include “Nutbush City Limits,” “Let’s Stay Together,” “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” and “Private Dancer.”

Karen Carpenter

Karen Carpenter grew up in New Haven, Connecticut where she ended up forming the band, The Carpenters, with her brother. She has received mountains of praise for her three-octave contralto vocal range and her drumming skills, which are remembered to this day.

Instagram // @thedrummerthatsings

Although most of her music was released as a member of the band, she did produce many solo works as well although they didn’t end up getting released until 1996. Legendary Paul McCartney even admitted that Karen had “the best female voice in the world: melodic, tuneful and distinctive.”

Christina Aguilera

Born and raised in New York, Christina Aguilera became a musical sensation during her teenage years when she released her single “Genie in a Bottle,” an international hit. Although she has made many pop albums throughout her career, she also experimented with other genres including jazz and blues.

Instagram // @xtina

Aguilera has been compared to Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston but finds Etta James to be her biggest influence with Aguilera even saying that she’s her “all-time favorite singer.”

Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand was raised by her mother in New York who had also been a soprano singer when she was growing up. With her help, Streisand’s interest in music grew and she took the first steps into her career.

Instagram // @barbrastreisand

Over the course of that career, the Funny Girl star has released 36 studio albums and has won numerous awards including 10 Grammy Awards, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award. Even though Streisand primarily sings pop music, her powerful voice has led her to be labeled as semi-operatic.

Ella Fitzgerald

Although she doesn’t have the official or unofficial title, it’s safe to say that Ella Fitzgerald could be referred to as the “Queen of Jazz Performance.” Often collaborating with musicians like Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong, Fitzgerald managed to stand out and earn 14 Grammy Awards for songs like “Cheek to Cheek,” “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” and “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing).”

Instagram // @firstladyofsong

By the end of her career, Fitzgerald earned the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


Adele didn’t begin her career in any professional capacity. In fact, she actually got her start playing in parks throughout the city of London. Imagine looking back now and being the club owner who turned Adele away.

Instagram // @adele

In 2008, she released her first studio album, 19. Three years later, her second album — 21 — was released. That album made her one of the biggest stars in music earning her incredible amounts of praise, not to mention the six Grammy Awards that came her way as well.


Also known as “Queen B,” Beyoncé has become one of the most beloved and popular R&B artists of all time. She’s so good that for years, fans would put out videos of them reacting in disbelief to friends who said that she wasn’t the best ever.

Instagram // @beyonce

After a successful career start with Destiny’s Child, Beyonce went on to start a solo career in 2006 where she earned the most Grammy Awards in history — a remarkable 26 times.

Celine Dion

Originally from Quebec, Canada, Celine Dion went on to find worldwide success. Her start in Canada helped her immensely, with many of her albums being sung in both French and English. In 1988, Dion got her biggest boost to fame when she won the Eurovision song contest in which she represented Switzerland.

Instagram // @celinedion

Although her albums got their start in only French and English, Dion has also recorded songs in Italian, Spanish, German, Chinese, Latin, and Japanese and has been bestowed with the title, “Queen of Adult Contemporary.” Sadly, the singer was diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome in 2022, leaving her unable to perform in the foreseeable future.

Aretha Franklin

No list of impressive female singers could ever be complete without the incomparable Aretha Franklin. Known as the “Queen of Soul,” Franklin actually got her career as a gospel singer in her church choir.

Instagram // @arethafranklin

Even though she probably never imagined becoming the musical sensation that she is today, she signed a deal with Columbia Records at age 18 and — throughout her life — has released 38 studio albums, as well as 131 singles. She became the first woman ever to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey is known for many things including her five Grammy Awards and over 200 million records sold. But, out of all those things, one of the most renowned aspects of her career is her incredible voice — which is able to hit an incredible range of five octaves.

Instagram // @mariahcarey

That unique ability has helped to propel her to incredible heights, with many considering her to be one of the original pioneers of contemporary pop and an inspiration to generations of singers.

Whitney Houston

Not only does Whitney Houston have an incredible voice but she also has the nickname of “The Voice.” Is there really much more we can add to that? To say that Whitney Houston is an award-winning artist is like saying the ocean is vast — both are true but neither capture the true scale of either thing.

Instagram // @whitneyhouston

Whitney Houston is actually in the Guinness World Record as the most awarded female artists of all time, with a total of 415 throughout her career.