Famous American Gospel Singers

Find out more about the greatest American Gospel Singers, including Whitney Houston, Sam Cooke, Mahalia Jackson, Brian Littrell and Alan Jackson.

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 American Gospel Singers

 1 Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley.
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: January 8, 1935
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tupelo, Mississippi, United States
Died: August 16, 1977
The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, winner of 3 Grammys, and pioneer of the Pelvis move, Elvis Presley was a musical phenomenon of the 20th century. Known for his humbleness, love for God and devotion to his country, Presley had numerous gold, platinum and multi-platinum records to his credit, including 18 number 1 hits and 38 top ten hits.

 2 Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke.
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 22, 1931
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Clarksdale, Mississippi, United States
Died: December 11, 1964
The King of Soul Sam Cooke is best remembered for his hits A Change is Gonna Come, You Send Me, and Wonderful World. He began singing gospel as a child and later joined The Soul Stirrers. He was shot and killed by a motel manager in Los Angeles. 

 3 Mary J. Blige

Mary J. Blige.
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 11, 1971
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York City, New York

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.

 4 Dionne Warwick

Dionne Warwick.
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Famous As: Singer & Actress
Birthdate: December 12, 1940
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: City of Orange, New Jersey, United States

Dionne Warwick is an American singer, TV host, actress, and former FAO Goodwill Ambassador. Warwick was one of the most successful singers between 1955 and 1999, ranking among the 40 biggest hitmakers according to the Billboard Hot 100. 80 of her singles have been featured on Billboard's music charts, making Warwick one of the most-charted female singers in history. 

 5 Randy Travis

Randy Travis.
4
Famous As: Country & Gospel Singer
Birthdate: May 4, 1959
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Marshville, North Carolina
Randy Travis is a country music singer and songwriter. He is widely regarded as an important figure in country music history and his debut studio album Storms of Life played a major role in the neotraditional country movement. Randy Travis has sold more than 25 million records and has several prestigious awards under his belt.

 6 Shirley Jones

Shirley Jones
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 31, 1934
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Charleroi, Pennsylvania, USA

Shirley Jones is an American singer and actress whose portrayal of a prostitute named Lulu Bains in the 1960 film Elmer Gantry earned her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Thanks to her skills as a singer, Jones has appeared in several musical films like Oklahoma, The Music Man, and Carousel. She has also been a long-time supporter of PETA.

 7 Alan Jackson

Alan Jackson.
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Famous As: Gospel Musician
Birthdate: October 17, 1958
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Newnan, Georgia USA

Singer and songwriter Alan Jackson is famous for popularizing the “neotraditional country” genre of music that has elements of traditional honky-tonk and mainstream country-pop sounds. Having sold over 75 million records worldwide, he is one of the best-selling music artists of all-time. In 2017, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

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 8 MC Hammer

MC Hammer.
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Famous As: Hip-Hop Artist
Birthdate: March 30, 1962
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Oakland, California, United States
Rap legend MC Hammer, a pioneer of the pop-rap genre, became the first hip-hop artist to earn the “diamond” status. He is also known for his chartbusting tracks such as U Can't Touch This and his signature "Hammer pants." He later became a preacher and hosted his own reality show.

 9 Donna Douglas

Donna Douglas.
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 26, 1932
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pride, Louisiana, United States
Died: January 1, 2015
Donna Douglas is best known as Elly May Clampett from the sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies. After retiring from acting, she juggled with a number of careers, becoming a real-estate agent, a motivational speaker, and a gospel singer. She has also written a Bible-themed children’s book and a cookbook.

 10 George Jones

George Jones
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Famous As: Musician, singer, and songwriter
Birthdate: September 12, 1931
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Saratoga, Texas, United States
Died: April 26, 2013

George Jones was an American singer, songwriter, and musician. Renowned for his distinctive voice and phrasing, George Jones was widely regarded as the greatest living country singer during the last 20 years of his life. Jones is also remembered for staying painstakingly loyal to country music throughout his life. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992.

 11 Israel Houghton

Israel Houghton.
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: May 19, 1971
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Oceanside, California
Christian music singer Israel Houghton has won four Grammys for his traditional and contemporary gospel albums. He works with his backing band New Breed, and his albums are credited to Israel & New Breed. He has also been a worship leader for Champions for Christ and Promise Keepers.

 12 Della Reese

Della Reese.
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Famous As: Singer, Actress
Birthdate: July 6, 1931
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Black Bottom, Detroit
Died: November 19, 2017
Jazz and gospel singer and actor Della Reese, who was also an ordained minister, gained fame with tracks such as Don't You Know? and Some of her best-known films were Harlem Nights and A Thin Line Between Love and Hate. She played Tess in the series Touched by an Angel

 13 Mahalia Jackson

Mahalia Jackson.
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Famous As: Singer, Television Personality
Birthdate: October 26, 1911
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Died: January 27, 1972

Mahalia Jackson was an American singer. During her career, which spanned four decades, Jackson played a major role in popularizing gospel blues in black churches across the United States. Regarded as one of the 20th century's most influential vocalists, Mahalia Jackson is credited with inspiring rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and soul singing styles.

 14 Vic Mignogna

Vic Mignogna
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 27, 1962
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Greensburg, Pennsylvania, USA

Vic Mignogna is an American musician and voice actor. He is renowned for providing the English dubs for characters from Japanese anime shows and films like Dragon Ball, Ouran High School Host Club, Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, and Digimon Adventure tri. His voice-over work in Fullmetal Alchemist, where he voiced Edward Elric, earned him the American Anime Award in 2007.

 15 TobyMac

TobyMac.
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Famous As: Hip-hop Artist
Birthdate: October 22, 1964
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Fairfax

 16 Brenda Lee

Brenda Lee
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 11, 1944
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Brenda Lee is a singer best-known for performing country music and pop. One of the earliest pop singers to enjoy a contemporary international following, Lee was among the most-charted singers during the 1960s. A Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Lee is the only female performer to be inducted into both the Country Music and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame.

 17 Jeremy Camp

Jeremy Camp
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Famous As: Singer, Musician
Birthdate: January 12, 1978
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lafayette

Jeremy Camp is an American singer and songwriter who specializes in Contemporary Christian music and Christian rock genres. Over the years, he has won several awards, such as the GMA Dove Awards and ASCAP Songwriter of the Year Awards. Jeremy Camp's life and career have inspired the 2020 Christian romantic drama film, I Still Believe.

 18 Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Sister Rosetta Tharpe
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 20, 1915
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cotton Plant, Arkansas, USA
Died: October 9, 1973

Sister Rosetta Tharpe was an American recording artist, guitarist, and singer-songwriter. Characterized by a mixture of electric guitar and spiritual lyrics, Tharpe's music played an influential role in the development of rock and roll. Her music influenced several rock-and-roll musicians like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Chuck Berry. She is often referred to as the Godmother of rock and roll.

 19 Nathaniel Rateliff

Nathaniel Rateliff
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: October 7, 1978
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, U.S

 20 B. J. Thomas

B. J. Thomas
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: August 7, 1942
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Hugo, Oklahoma, United States
Died: May 29, 2021

 21 Cissy Houston

Cissy Houston
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Famous As: Gospel Singers
Birthdate: September 30, 1933
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, USA

 22 Lou Rawls

Lou Rawls
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 1, 1933
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: January 6, 2006

Lou Rawls was an American singer, composer, record producer, and actor. Rawls sold over 40 million records during his illustrious career. He was also renowned for his charity work; in 2004, he was honored by the popular philanthropic organization United Negro College Fund for his work with the organization for more than 25 years.

 23 Michael W. Smith

Michael W. Smith
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Famous As: Singer, Songwriter, Composer, Musician, Actor, Pianist
Birthdate: October 7, 1957
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kenova

 24 Josh Turner

Josh Turner
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 20, 1977
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Hannah, South Carolina, USA

 25 Dee Dee Warwick

Dee Dee Warwick.
3
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: September 25, 1942
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States
Died: October 18, 2008

Dee Dee Warwick was a soul singer whose career was largely marred by drug addiction. However, she found success later in her career, recording songs for Private Stock Records and RCA Records. In 1999, she was honored by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation with a Pioneer Award. Warwick is also remembered for being one of the first openly gay singers.

 26 Anita Bryant

Anita Bryant
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 25, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Barnsdall, Oklahoma, USA

 27 Chris Tomlin

Chris Tomlin
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Singer, Composer
Birthdate: May 4, 1972
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Grand Saline

 28 Betty Wright

Betty Wright
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: December 21, 1953
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Miami, Florida, United States

Bessie Regina Norris, better known as Betty Wright, ruled the American gospel, R&B, and soul scene for 6 decades. The Grammy-winning artist joined her family gospel group at age 2, gained fame with the track Clean Up Woman at 17, and had her own record label by the 1980s.

 29 Merry Clayton

Merry Clayton
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 25, 1948
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

From losing her child due to a miscarriage following the recording of the song Gimme Shelter with The Rolling Stones, to getting her legs amputated after a car accident, singer-actor Merry Clayton has been through a lot. The renowned backing vocalist and gospel singer was also featured in an Oscar-winning documentary.

 30 Yolanda Adams

Yolanda Adams
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Famous As: Gospel singer
Birthdate: August 27, 1961
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, USA

Initially a schoolteacher, four-time Grammy-winning contemporary gospel singer Yolanda Adams rocked the Billboard charts with her debut full-length single Just As I Am. She was also part of the Tony-nominated team that created the original score of the Broadway musical SpongeBob SquarePants. She has also penned a book on Christian life.

 31 Carlton Pearson

Carlton Pearson
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Famous As: Christian minister
Birthdate: March 19, 1953
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

Carlton Pearson is an American Christian minister and gospel vocalist whose singing skills have earned him two Stellar Awards and a nomination for the prestigious Dove Award. His life and career have inspired episodes of radio and TV programs like This American Life.

 32 CeCe Winans

CeCe Winans
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Famous As: Musician, Singer
Birthdate: October 8, 1964
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Detroit

Born to a gospel singer father, CeCe Winans and her nine siblings would often sing at church events. The 12-time Grammy-winning artist soared to fame with her debut solo album, Alone in His Presence. She is also known for her collaborative tracks with her brother BeBe and her friend Whitney Houston.

 33 Rich Mullins

Rich Mullins
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Famous As: Singer, Musician, Composer
Birthdate: October 21, 1955
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Richmond
Died: September 19, 1997

Contemporary Christian music artist Rich Mullins was also a multi-instrumentalist, with skills in the piano and the guitar. He toured around with the Zion Ministries till he got his first record deal. He died at age 41, in an accident while on his way to a benefit concert.

 34 Angie Stone

Angie Stone
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: December 18, 1961
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Columbia, South Carolina, United States

Motivated by her gospel singer father, Angie Stone began singing as a child. She later formed the rap/hip-hop act The Sequence and then became the lead singer of Vertical Hold. Her first solo album, Black Diamond, was a Billboard charter. She has also appeared in movies and campaigned against diabetes.

 35 Kelly Price

Kelly Price
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: April 4, 1973
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Queens, New York, United States

Starting her music career as a background vocalist for singers such as Mariah Carey and George Michael, Kelly Price later made her mark in the industry with albums such as Soul of a Woman and Mirror Mirror. The Grammy-nominated singer is also known for her breast cancer activism.

 36 Gloria Jones

Gloria Jones
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: October 19, 1945
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Died: June 9, 2006

Known as The Queen of Northern Soul, singer Gloria Jones soared to fame with the track Tainted Love. She also dated British rocker Marc Bolan and played the keyboard and sang for his band T. Rex. She was driving the car which met with an accident and killed Bolan.

 37 Carman

Carman
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: January 19, 1956
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Trenton, New Jersey, United States

Italian-American artist Carman performed as part of his mother’s band as a teenager. After becoming a born-again Christian at an Andrae Crouch concert, he gained fame as a contemporary Christian singer. The six-time Dove Award winner later met with a car accident and also suffered from cancer.

 38 Cleotha Staples

Cleotha Staples
2
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: April 11, 1934
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: near Drew, Mississippi, United States
Died: February 21, 2013

The eldest child of The Staple Singers patriarch, Roebuck "Pops" Staples, Cleotha Staples was part of her family gospel group’s eight US top 40 hits. After facing racism, while they toured around performing, Cleotha and her group ventured into Black protest music. Respect Yourself was one of their Billboard-charting tracks.

 39 Kari Jobe

Kari Jobe
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Singer, Composer
Birthdate: April 6, 1981
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Waco

 40 Rodney Jerkins

Rodney Jerkins
3
Famous As: Record producer
Birthdate: July 29, 1977
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Pleasantville, New Jersey, USA
Rodney Jerkins is a multiple Grammy Award winning American rapper and record producer who is popularly known by his stage name Darkchild. Over the course of his career, he has collaborated with a number of popular artists, such as Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber etc. In 2008, he co-founded an online music portal Music Mogul.com where artists can communicate with their fans.

 41 Steven Curtis Chapman

Steven Curtis Chapman.
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Musician
Birthdate: November 21, 1962
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paducah, Kentucky, U.S.

 42 Frankie Laine

Frankie Laine
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 30, 1913
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Died: February 6, 2007

 43 Joy Williams

Joy Williams
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Famous As: singer-songwriter, composer, guitarist, singer, pianist
Birthdate: November 14, 1982
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Santa Cruz

Joy Williams established herself as a talented contemporary Christian artist before forming the Grammy-winning folk duo The Civil Wars with John Paul White. She had apparently rejected a recording offer at 14 to enjoy her childhood. She is best known for her chartbusting tracks such as From This Valley.

 44 Deniece Williams

Deniece Williams
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: June 3, 1950
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Gary, Indiana, USA

The daughter of singer parents, Deniece Williams grew up singing gospel. Though she initially aspired to be a nurse and an anesthetist, she later took up music full-time and began performing at nightclubs. The Grammy-winning artist soared to fame with tracks such as They Say and I Believe in You.

 45 Percy Sledge

Percy Sledge
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: November 25, 1941
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Leighton, Alabama, United States
Died: April 14, 2015

Best known for his Billboard-charting and gold-certified hit When a Man Loves a Woman, Percy Sledge began his music career with The Esquires Combo while working as a nurse. He later scored more hits such as Warm and Tender Love and received the Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Award.

 46 Musiq Soulchild

Musiq Soulchild
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 16, 1977
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Philadelphia Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States U.S.

Taalib Johnson, better known as Musiq Soulchild, is famous for his music that mingles a range of genres, such as hip-hop, gospel, R&B, and jazz. The high-school drop-out was known as Music Boy in his early days, when he would perform at beatboxing events or open mic nights.

 47 Roy Acuff

Roy Acuff
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 15, 1903
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Maynardville, Tennessee, United States
Died: November 23, 1992

Popularly known as The King of Country Music, Roy Acuff was also a talented fiddler. Initially a budding baseball player, he ditched his sports career due to repeated injuries and focused on music instead. He was part of the radio broadcast Grand Ole Opry and later won a Grammy Lifetime Award.

 48 Shirley Caesar

Shirley Caesar
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: October 13, 1938
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Durham, North Carolina, USA

Twelve-time Grammy-winning gospel singer Shirley Caesar is also known as The First Lady of Gospel. She began her music career with The Caravans and later went solo, releasing phenomenal hits such as Faded Rose and I Remember Mama. She also established a non-profit to serve the needy.

 49 Maybelle Carter

Maybelle Carter
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: May 10, 1909
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Nickelsville, Virginia, United States
Died: October 23, 1978

 50 Sandi Patty

Sandi Patty
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: July 12, 1956
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA