And a quick commentary on segregation in music and the disappearing Black singer
I love all of these vocalists, but the only fair way to list them was in alphabetical order. I know all of these women could be Top 5, so fans please don’t come for me. Like my Top 10 All Time Female Vocalist list, this is based on pitch, vocal quality and range — not popularity.
But before we get to the list, I would be remised if I didn’t mention that I think it’s sad to see so many talented, Black vocalists disappearing from popular music considering they are the inspiration for every “soulful” artist’s run and rendition in popular songs everywhere.
I hate that music has become so segregated, and chosen to exclude or push Black vocalists to the background, again.
I say again, because musical history has been mostly segregated. However, for a brief moment in the 80’s and early 90’s when music videos started, radio stations played everyone. I could hear country, R & B, rap and pop music. Before there was Little Nas X there was Charlie Pride. I listened to The Pointer Sisters, Klymaxx, The Go-Go’s and Wilson Phillips. I loved and respected Anita Baker, Sade and Stephanie Mills and Phyliss Hyman, Vesta just as much as I loved Dolly Parton, Cyndi Lauper, Pat Benatar, Bonnie Rait and Lisa Stansfield. Now I only see legends like Patti Labelle and Glady’s Knight (thanks to Verzuz) or internet stars like Doja Cat (who is actually a fantastic young singer and dancer).
I’m hoping I’m just out of touch and the internet is bridging the gap, but I doubt it when Tick Tock kids steal R & B singer’s songs from legendary hip hop Princess, Ashanti and say “it’s their new song”. Then quickly say it’s a cover when they get caught.
So much has been stolen from Black music history from our actual lyrics and compositions to the cadence, vocal stylings and imitated soulful runs, riffs and growls — moans and scats. It’s like most aspects of Black life — everybody loves to be like us and take all the beauty and style, but none of the struggle.
To offset this, I beg everyone to learn more about American musical history. Learn about how segregation limited where Black singers and musician’s could perform and promote their music. Learn how many Black artist’s songs were often stolen and turned into “white washed” versions performed by white singers and played on white radio stations.
Secondly, don’t let social media and the internet revise history. Please upvote your favorite R & B and soul singers on lists like Ranker so people can know about them, too.
Now without further ado — here is my top 10+ list of modern female vocalist in alphabetical order.
- Erykah Badu
- Esperanza Spaulding
- Jennifer Hudson
- Jill Scott
- Keke Wyatt
- Kelly Price
- Kim Burrell
- Lalah Hathaway
- Lauryn Hill
- Le’Andria Johnson
- Mariah Carey
- Tamela Mann
- Yolanda Adams
The Best Current Female Singers
The best female singers currently performing and making some of the best pop songs of 2019 could easily be among the…
Here is my list of Top Female Vocalists of All Time
My Top 10 Female Vocalists Of All Time
A discussion — not a definitive list
Thank you for reading!