Famous 21st Century Rhythm & Blues Singers

Find out more about the greatest 21st Century Rhythm & Blues Singers, including Adele, Fetty Wap, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato and Future.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite 21st Century Rhythm & Blues Singers

 1 
Michael Jackson
(One of the Most Significant Cultural Figures of the 20th Century Popularly Known as the 'King of Pop')

Michael Jackson
5
Birthdate: August 29, 1958
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Gary, Indiana, United States
Died: June 25, 2009

The King of Pop and an international superstar, Michael Jackson was a musical entertainer whose work – both with Jackson 5 and solo – won accolades and hearts worldwide. Equally popular were his unique dance moves that created sensation and shaped future dance styles. Amongst the most successful entertainers of all time, Jackson was later accused of child molestation.  

 2 
Beyonce Knowles
(Singer-Songwriter)

Beyonce Knowles
7
Birthdate: September 4, 1981
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States

Beyonce Knowles is a singer, songwriter, and actress. She developed an interest in music as a child. As a teenager, she became the lead singer of Destiny's Child, one of the best-selling girl groups of all time. As of today, she is one of the world's best-selling recording artists. 

 3 
Rihanna
(One of the Best-Selling Female Pop and R&B Artist In History)

Rihanna
5
Birthdate: February 20, 1988
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saint Michael, Barbados

For anyone who has a penchant for music, Rihanna needs no introduction. Born as Robyn Rihanna Fenty, Rihanna is one of the most influential names in the music and fashion industry. Her effortless singing, catchy tunes and inimitable dance moves have won her eight Grammy Awards, eight American Music Awards, twelve Billboard Music Awards and two BRIT Awards.

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 4 
Whitney Houston
(Best-Selling Female R&B Artist of the 20th Century)

Whitney Houston
5
Birthdate: August 9, 1963
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States
Died: February 11, 2012

Amongst the best-selling recording artists of all time and an inspiration to millions of budding artists, Whitney Houston achieved stardom with her eponymous debut album. The success of her later albums consolidated her position and earned her a spot in the Guinness World Records as the most awarded female artist of all time. She struggled with drug abuse and troubled marriage and died of drowning in her hotel's bathtub. 

 5 
Aretha Franklin
(One of the Best-Selling Music Artists in the World & 'Queen of Soul')

Aretha Franklin
7
Birthdate: March 25, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Died: August 16, 2018

Widely regarded as the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin was a singer-songwriter, actress, and civil rights activist. Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Aretha was ranked number one on Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Singers of All Time list in 2010. Having sold over 75 million records, she is also one of the best-selling musicians ever.

 6 
Tina Turner
(The "Queen of Rock 'n' Roll")

Tina Turner
5
Birthdate: November 26, 1939
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Nutbush, Tennessee, United States

Known as the Queen of Rock 'n' Roll, Tina Turner is one of the best-selling recording artists of all time and has had a very long and successful career. Let's Stay Together, What's Love Got to Do with It, Private Dancer and Golden Eye are some of her chartbuster songs. She is also a songwriter and has acted in films too.

 7 
Alicia Keys
(Singer, Actress)

Alicia Keys
5
Birthdate: January 25, 1981
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hell's Kitchen, New York, United States

Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys has been active in the music industry since the mid-1990s. Her debut album was a super hit and earned her five Grammy Awards. She is one of the best-selling artists in the United States and has sold over 40 million albums worldwide. She is also known for her humanitarian work, philanthropy, and activism.

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 8 
Stevie Wonder
(Singer-Songwriter and Musician)

Stevie Wonder
4
Birthdate: May 13, 1950
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Saginaw, Michigan, United States

American singer and songwriter, Stevie Wonder, is one of most influential and the best-selling musicians of all time. That Girl, Gotta Have You, I Just Called to Say I Love You, Part-Time Lover and Happy Birthday are some of his chartbuster songs. He has won many awards and accolades, including 25 Grammy Awards.

 9 
Janet Jackson
(One of the World's Best-Selling Music Artists)

Janet Jackson
4
Birthdate: May 16, 1966
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gary, Indiana, United States

A member of the prominent Jackson family, Janet Jackson is a singer, songwriter, actress, and dancer. Popularly known for her innovative and socially conscious songs, she was considered a sex icon in her youth. Beginning her career as a teenager, she went on to become one of the world's best-selling music artists of all time.

 10 
Christopher Maurice Brown
(One of the World's Best-Selling R&B and Hip-Hop Music Artists)

Christopher Maurice Brown
6
Birthdate: May 5, 1989
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tappahannock, Virginia, United States

 11 
Diana Ross
(Lead Singer of 'the Supremes', the Best-Charting Female Group in History)

Diana Ross
5
Birthdate: March 26, 1944
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States

With several prestigious honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, under her belt, Diana Ross is one of the most popular and influential singers of all time. In 1976, Billboard named her the Female Entertainer of the Century. She has influenced popular artists like Madonna, Beyoncé, and Michael Jackson.

 12 
Ray Charles
(Singer-songwriter)

Ray Charles
5
Birthdate: September 23, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Albany, Georgia, United States
Died: June 10, 2004

Ray Charles went on to become a great singer-songwriter, composer, and pianist, despite suffering blindness due to glaucoma early in his life. One of the most respected and decorated musicians of all time, Ray Charles has been named in lists, such as 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. He pioneered the soul music genre, which remains his greatest contribution.

 13 
Lionel Richie
(Co-Lead Singer Of Funk Band The Commodores)

Lionel Richie
5
Birthdate: June 20, 1949
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Tuskegee, Alabama, United States

Lionel Richie is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and composer whose work with the band Commodores and his solo career established him as a successful balladeer of the 1980s. Having sold more than 90 million records, Lionel Richie is one of the best-selling musicians of all time. Also a philanthropist, Richie helped raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

 14 
Lauryn Hill
(One of the Greatest Rappers Of All Time)

Lauryn Hill
4
Birthdate: May 26, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States

Famous rapper and singer, Lauryn Hill, is widely regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all time and a pioneer in the Neo soul genre. The artist whose album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill won five Grammy Awards, is an inspiration for numerous singers and rappers. Earlier, she gained recognition as member of Fugees, an award-winning hip hop group.

 15 
Ariana Grande
(The Most Streamed Female Artist Ever)

Ariana Grande
11
Birthdate: June 26, 1993
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Boca Raton, Florida, United States

A talented youngster, Ariana Grande first stepped into the world of entertainment through Broadway musical 13 and later shot to fame with television series Victorious and its spinoff, Sam & Cat. Her television series also kick started her musical career which flourished with the release of her five commercially successful and critically applauded albums and collaborations with various other artists.

 16 
Erykah Badu
(Singer-Songwriter Know for Her Singles like "On & On," "Honey," and "The Healer.")

Erykah Badu
3
Birthdate: February 26, 1971
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dallas, Texas, United States

Widely regarded as the queen of neo-soul, Erykah Badu is an American singer-songwriter whose debut studio album Baduizm helped popularize neo-soul in the late-1990s. Thanks to her popularity, Erykah Badu serves as a subject for street art in several places, including Greater London, England. Also an actress, Badu has appeared in popular films, such as The Cider House Rules.

 17 
Mary J. Blige
(Rapper, and Actress Known as "Queen of Hip-Hop Soul")

Mary J. Blige
4
Birthdate: January 11, 1971
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bronx, New York, United States

Mary J. Blige is a popular singer-songwriter and actress. Having sold 80 million records worldwide, she is one of the best-selling female artists of all time. Referred to as the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, Mary is credited with influencing the fusion of R&B and hip hop. She often gets featured in lists like The 100 Greatest Women in Music.

 18 
Justin Bieber
(Singer-Songwriter and One of the Best-Selling Pop Music Artists of All Time)

Justin Bieber
6
Birthdate: March 1, 1994
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London, Canada

Canadian singer and songwriter Justin Bieber was discovered via YouTube and subsequently went on to become a teen pop sensation. By age 25 he became the youngest solo artist to achieve seven number-one albums in the US. Bieber has received many accolades, including a Grammy Award. He’s also had his share of controversies and run-in with the law.

 19 

Luther Vandross
3
Birthdate: April 20, 1951
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City
Died: July 1, 2005

Luther Vandross was an American record producer and singer-songwriter. As a background vocalist, Vandross contributed to the success of several songs recorded by artists like David Bowie, Diana Ross, and Judy Collins. Regarded as a singer with one of the greatest voices in recorded history, Luther Vandross' works have influenced many artists like D'Angelo, Jaheim, Ne-Yo, John Legend, and Usher.

 20 
The Weeknd
(Best Known for Singles "Can't Feel My Face" and "The Hills")

The Weeknd
4
Birthdate: February 16, 1990
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada

One of the most successful Canadian recording artists, singer-songwriter, the Weeknd, holds several chart records and has won numerous awards, including three Grammy Awards. Despite a difficult childhood marred by drug abuse and violence, he persevered and worked hard to emerge as a beloved music star. He is actively involved in philanthropy.

 21 
Usher
(Singer-Songwriter)

Usher
3
Birthdate: October 14, 1978
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dallas, Texas, United States

 22 
Chaka Khan
(Singer)

Chaka Khan
3
Birthdate: March 23, 1953
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois
Ten-time Grammy-winning funk/R&B/disco artist Chaka Khan, or the Queen of Funk, soared to fame as the frontwoman of the band Rufus. Known for her hit track I Feel for You, Khan has sold 70 million records and has ranked 17th on VH1’s 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll list.

 23 
Zayn Malik
(Singer)

Zayn Malik
4
Birthdate: January 12, 1993
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bradford, England
Popular singer Zayn Malik shot to fame with the television reality show The X Factor and later became a part of a hugely successful band One Direction. Afterwards, Zayn Malik set out to establish his solo career and released his debut album, Mind of Mine, which made him a star. The singer has also made an entry into fashion world.

 24 
Justin Randall Timberlake
(Billboard Best Performing Male Soloist in the History of the Mainstream Top 40)

Justin Randall Timberlake
4
Birthdate: January 31, 1981
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, United States

Justin Randall Timberlake is an American actor, singer-songwriter, and record producer. Regarded as a pop icon, Timberlake has sold more than 56 million singles worldwide, which makes him one of the best-selling music artists. In 2007 and 2013, he was named in Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world list. Timberlake is also known for his philanthropic activities.

 25 
Gladys Knight
(Singer-Songwriter)

Gladys Knight
3
Birthdate: May 28, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

 26 
John Legend
(Best Known for His Debut Album 'Get Lifted' and 'Once Again')

John Legend
4
Birthdate: December 28, 1978
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Springfield, Ohio, United States

John Legend is a singer, songwriter, actor, film producer and theatre director and his song All of Me from his fourth studio album was a Billboard Hot 100 number-one hit. He has released a host of successful albums. He has also won many awards, including an Oscar and a handful of Grammys. He is also an actor and a TV personality.

 27 
Bill Withers
(American singer-songwriter)

Bill Withers
3
Birthdate: July 4, 1938
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Slab Fork, West Virginia, U.S.
Died: March 30, 2020

Soul and R&B legend Bill Withers is best remembered for hits such as Ain't No Sunshine and Lean on Me. The three-time Grammy Award-winner also inspired the documentary Still Bill. A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Bill moved on to other jobs after his 15-year music career. 

 

 28 
Jamie Foxx
(Best Known for His Portrayal of Ray Charles in the Biopic 'Ray')

Jamie Foxx
4
Birthdate: December 13, 1967
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Terrell, Texas, United States

Actor, singer-songwriter, and comedian, Jamie Foxx became internationally famous for his portrayal of Ray Charles in the biographical film Ray, a role that earned him an Academy Award. He is also known for hosting his own television sitcom, The Jamie Foxx Show. Besides acting, he is also a Grammy Award-winning musician who has released four albums.

 29 
Smokey Robinson
(Ffounder and Front Man of the Motown Vocal Group 'The Miracles')

Smokey Robinson
3
Birthdate: February 19, 1940
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Singer, songwriter, and record producer, Smokey Robinson, first gained fame as the founder and frontman of the vocal group, The Miracles, in the 1950s. He embarked on an equally successful solo career after leaving the group. He is the recipient of many awards, including the prestigious Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement.

 30 
Pink
(Singer and Songwriter Known for Her Rock-Influenced Pop Songs, Distinctive Raspy Voice and Acrobatic Stage Presence)

Pink
4
Birthdate: September 8, 1979
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Doylestown, Pennsylvania, United States

Pink is an American singer-songwriter known for her acrobatic stage presence and raspy voice. Having sold more than 90 million records worldwide, Pink is one of the best-selling musicians in the world. A recipient of several prestigious awards, Pink was named in VH1's 100 Greatest Women in Music list. Her work has inspired many other artists like Taylor Swift.

 31 
Etta James
(Singer-Songwriter Know for Hits Such as "The Wallflower", "At Last", "Tell Mama")

Etta James
4
Birthdate: January 25, 1938
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: January 20, 2012

Etta James was an American singer whose powerful, deep voice bridged the gap between rock and roll and rhythm and blues. Her ability to perform in various genres earned her a spot in Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Singers of All Time list. Her work has influenced several musicians, including Christina Aguilera, Diana Ross, Janis Joplin, Adele, and Rita Ora.

 32 

Patti LaBelle
4
Birthdate: May 24, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
The Godmother of Soul Patti LaBelle is best known for her chartbusting song Lady Marmalade, released with her group Labelle. She has had a successful solo career, too, winning multiple Grammys. She has appeared on her own TV shows, released cookbooks, and has launched her line of food and bedding.

 33 
Queen Latifah
(Best Known as 'Queen of Rap')

Queen Latifah
6
Birthdate: March 18, 1970
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States

Queen Latifah is an American musician and actress whose song U.N.I.T.Y. played a major role in raising awareness about women's rights worldwide. Dubbed Queen of Jazz-Rap, Latifah has influenced several soul, R&B, and hip-hop artists like Remy Ma, Lil' Kim, Ivy Queen, Missy Elliott, Lauryn Hill, and Eve among other artists. As an actress, Latifah has won several prestigious awards.

 34 
Meghan Trainor
(Pop Singer-songwriter Known for her Debut Single 'All About That Bass')

Meghan Trainor
5
Birthdate: December 22, 1993
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Nantucket, Massachusetts, United States

Meghan Trainor is an American talent show judge and singer-songwriter. Trainor is credited with promoting body positivity through her music; her songs often have lyrical themes based on personal empowerment and body image. Also a well-known philanthropist, Meghan Trainor works closely with organizations, such as The American Cancer Society. She also takes an active part in several charity events.

 35 
Tom Jones
(Singer)

Tom Jones
4
Birthdate: June 7, 1940
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Treforest, Pontypridd, Glamorgan, Wales

Tom Jones is a Welsh singer who has sold more than 100 million records worldwide. His life and work inspired the 2016 musical, Tom: A Story of Tom Jones. In 2005, for his services to music, Tom Jones was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

 36 
Frank Ocean
(Rapper and Grammy Award Winner for His Album 'Channel Orange')

Frank Ocean
4
Birthdate: October 28, 1987
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Long Beach, California, United States

Regarded as one of the most acclaimed musical artists of his generation, Frank Ocean is recognized for his unconventional production techniques and wide vocal range. He is credited with revitalizing and popularizing jazz and funk-influenced R&B. He is also regarded as a representative of alternative R&B. He was named in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world list.

 37 
Jennifer Hudson
(Singer & Actress Known for Her Role in the Musical 'Dreamgirls')

Jennifer Hudson
4
Birthdate: September 12, 1981
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Jennifer Hudson shot to fame after reaching the finals of the third season of American Idol. She is known for her Academy Award-winning role of Effie White in Dreamgirls. She also won the Grammy twice, one for her self-titled debut album and the other for the musical The Color Purple

 38 
H.E.R.
(R&B Singer Known for Her Abum 'H.E.R')

H.E.R.
5
Birthdate: June 27, 1997
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Vallejo, California, United States

R&B singer Gabriella “Gabi” Wilson, better known to her fans as H.E.R., had initially released a few works under her real name. However, she gained fame only after the release of her first EP, H.E.R. Volume 1, in 2016. The two-time Grammy-winner performed at the 2020 Primetime Emmy Award ceremony.

 39 
Jhené Aiko
(Singer)

Jhené Aiko
5
Birthdate: March 16, 1988
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

American singer and songwriter Jhené Aiko's musical style is associated with PBR&B, a new wave of music viewed as an alternative to contemporary R&B. Her personal life, which includes an early pregnancy at the age of 20, the death of her brother Miyagi, a major car accident, and troubled relationships, has not affected her impressive music career.

 40 
R. Kelly
(One of the Most Successful and Best-Selling R&B Male Artists of the 1990s)

R. Kelly
7
Birthdate: January 8, 1967
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

One of the best known R&B artists, R Kelly, who’s sung many chart-topping songs and has sold millions of records, has been accused of sexual abuse by many women. He and is facing several state and federal charges in the US. He was arrested in July 2019 on charges of sex trafficking and child pornography.

 41 
Ciara
(Singer)

Ciara
5
Birthdate: October 25, 1985
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Austin, Texas, United States

Ciara is an American singer-songwriter whose debut single, Goodies, earned her the title Princess of Crunk&B. Her songs, Goodies and Yeah!, are credited with introducing the substyle of contemporary R&B and crunk music called crunk&B to music lovers. Also a dancer and model, Ciara has had a major impact on the American entertainment industry for the past 10 years.

 42 
Al Green
(Singer, Songwriter, Record producer)

Al Green
3
Birthdate: April 13, 1946
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Forrest City, Arkansas, United States

 43 
Akon
(Solo R&B and Hip-Hop Artist to Hold Both No.1 & No.2 Position at Billboard Hot 100 Simultaneously Twice)

Akon
4
Birthdate: April 16, 1973
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Akon is one of the most successful R&B, hip hop and rap singers in the world. His albums Trouble, Konvicted, Freedom, El Negreeto and Akonda have many chartbusters songs. He has also founded record labels Akonik Label Group, KonLive Distribution and Konvict Mizik. He courted controversy in 2007 for an onstage act involving simulated sex with a 15-year-old girl.

 44 
Bobby Brown
(Singer-Songwriter)

Bobby Brown
4
Birthdate: February 5, 1969
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Grammy-winning singer and New Edition member Bobby Brown was a pioneer of the new jack swing, a combination of R&B and hip-hop, and shot to fame with the album Don't Be Cruel and the hit My Prerogative. His marriage to Whitney Houston was plagued with domestic strife and drug issues. 

 45 
Khalid (Singer)
(Best Known for His Debut Studio Album 'American Teen')

Khalid (Singer)
6
Birthdate: February 11, 1998
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Fort Stewart, Georgia, United States

Khalid is an American singer-songwriter whose work in Logic’s hit single 1-800-273-8255 earned him a nomination at the Grammy Awards. He has also received prestigious awards, such as Billboard Music Awards, MTV Video Music Award, and American Music Awards. In 2019, he was named in Time magazine's list of 100 Most Influential People.

 46 
Kehlani
(Famous for Her Performance on America's Got Talent With The Band 'Poplyfe')

Kehlani
4
Birthdate: April 24, 1995
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Oakland, California, United States
Kehlani Ashley Parrish soared to fame on America's Got Talent, performing with the teen pop band Poplyfe. The Grammy-nominated artist is known for her chartbusting tracks 1st Position and Raw & True. She is pansexual and is known for her love for tattoos. She is also a sexual-assault survivor.

 47 
Janelle Monae
(Singer-songwriter)

Janelle Monae
6
Birthdate: December 1, 1985
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kansas City, Kansas, United States
Artist Janelle Monae initially sang with rapper Big Boi and is known for albums such as Dirty Computer. She has been nominated for the Grammys multiple times. Monae also appeared in films such as Hidden Figures and the Academy Award-winning drama Moonlight. She is both bisexual and pansexual.

 48 
Toni Braxton
(One of the Best-Selling Female R&B Artist In History)

Toni Braxton
3
Birthdate: October 7, 1967
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Severn, Maryland, United States
Soul and R&B sensation Toni Braxton initially performed with her sisters in The Braxtons. She won three of her seven Grammys with her debut album. Known for her Billboard-charters such as Un-break My Heart, she also collaborated with Babyface, competed in Dancing with the Stars, and produced Braxton Family Values.

 49 
Jill Scott
(Singer-songwriter)

Jill Scott
3
Birthdate: April 4, 1972
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

 50 
Tori Kelly
(Known for Her Debut Album 'Unbreakable Smile')

Tori Kelly
4
Birthdate: December 14, 1992
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Wildomar, California, United States

Tori Kelly was initially spotted on Star Search and won America's Most Talented Kid. She failed to make it to the "Top 24" of American Idol but later released Billboard Hot 100-charting singles such as Nobody Love. The two-time Grammy-winner has also voiced Meena in Sing and its sequel.