Famous American Gospel Singers

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

Find out more about the greatest American Gospel Singers, including Whitney Houston, Sam Cooke, Mahalia Jackson, Brian Littrell and Alan Jackson.
Vote for Your Favourite American Gospel Singers
 1 
Johnny Cash
(One of the Best-Selling Music Artists of All Time)
Johnny Cash
4
Birthdate: February 26, 1932
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kingsland, Arkansas, United States
Died: September 12, 2003

Johnny Cash, the American singer, songwriter and actor, was known for sorrow, moral suffering and redemption themes in his music. His genre was country, rock and roll, blues, folk and gospel sounds and he is one of the best-selling artists of all time. Cash had issues with drinking and drug abuse. Later he was diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease.

 2 
Sam Cooke
(Singer-songwriter)
Sam Cooke
10
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 
Aretha Franklin
(One of the Best-Selling Music Artists in the World & 'Queen of Soul')
Aretha Franklin
4
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.

 4 
Dionne Warwick
(One of the Most-Charted Vocalists of All Time)
Dionne Warwick
8
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
(Country Singer Known for His Album 'Storms of Life' & Single 'Three Wooden Crosses')
Randy Travis
6
Birthdate: May 4, 1959
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Marshville, North Carolina, United States
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 
Donna Douglas
(Best Know for Her Role as 'Elly May Clampett' in the TV Series 'The Beverly Hillbillies')
Donna Douglas
6
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.
 7 
Mahalia Jackson
(Singer, Television Personality)
Mahalia Jackson
5
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.

 8 
Jeremy Camp
(Singer, Musician)
Jeremy Camp
4
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.

 9 
TobyMac
(Hip-hop Artist)
TobyMac
3
Birthdate: October 22, 1964
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Fairfax
 10 
Israel Houghton
(Singer-songwriter)
Israel Houghton
6
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.
 11 
Tichina Arnold
3
Birthdate: June 28, 1969
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Tichina Arnold started as a child actor, working in films such as Little Shop of Horrors. She then gained fame as Pamela James in Martin and as Rochelle in Everybody Hates Chris. She has also launched the We Win Foundation and was previously the owner of a designer headgear brand. 
 12 
Malcolm John Rebennack Jr.
(Grammy Award-winning musician and singer-songwriter who incorporated jazz, blues, zydeco, and funk into his music)
Malcolm John Rebennack Jr.
3
Birthdate: November 20, 1941
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New Orleans, United States
Died: June 6, 2019
 13 
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
(Gospel Singer-Songwriter and Guitarist Known for Using Heavy Distortion on Her Electric Guitar)
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
5
Birthdate: March 20, 1915
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cotton Plant, Arkansas, United States
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.

 14 
Cissy Houston
(Gospel Singers)
Cissy Houston
7
Birthdate: September 30, 1933
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, USA
 15 
Lou Rawls
(R&B Singer Famous for His Luxurious Baritone Singing Voice and Four-Octave Vocal Range)
Lou Rawls
5
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.

 16 
Nathaniel Rateliff
(Singer-songwriter)
Nathaniel Rateliff
3
Birthdate: October 7, 1978
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, U.S
 17 
Michael W. Smith
(Singer, Songwriter, Composer, Musician, Actor, Pianist)
Michael W. Smith
5
Birthdate: October 7, 1957
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kenova
 18 
Dee Dee Warwick
5
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.

 19 
Josh Turner
5
Birthdate: November 20, 1977
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Hannah, South Carolina, USA
 20 
Chris Tomlin
(Singer-songwriter, Singer, Composer)
Chris Tomlin
3
Birthdate: May 4, 1972
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Grand Saline
 21 
Heather Headley
3
Birthdate: October 5, 1974
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Barataria, Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidadian-American singer-actor Heather Headley is best known for her Tony- and Drama Desk-winning performance in the musical Aida. The Northwestern University drop-out was also part of the theatrical version of Whitney Houston’s movie The Bodyguard and won a Grammy for her gospel album Audience of One.

 22 
CeCe Winans
(Musician, Singer)
CeCe Winans
5
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.

 23 
Yolanda Adams
(One of the Best-Selling Gospel Artists of All Time)
Yolanda Adams
3
Birthdate: August 27, 1961
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States

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.

 24 
Kelly Price
(R&B and Gospel Singer Known for Her Big, Powerful, and Emotional Voice)
Kelly Price
3
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.

 25 
Anita Bryant
(Singer)
Anita Bryant
3
Birthdate: March 25, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Barnsdall, Oklahoma, USA
 26 
Kari Jobe
(Singer-songwriter, Singer, Composer)
Kari Jobe
8
Birthdate: April 6, 1981
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Waco
 27 
Merry Clayton
(Gospel Singer Known for Her 1969 Duet with Mick Jagger on the Rolling Stones Song ‘Gimme Shelter')
Merry Clayton
3
Birthdate: December 25, 1948
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

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.

 28 
Carlton Pearson
(American Christian Minister)
Carlton Pearson
3
Birthdate: March 19, 1953
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: San Diego, California, United States

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.

 29 
Carman
(Singer)
Carman
3
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.

 30 
Cleotha Staples
4
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.

 31 
Frankie Laine
2
Birthdate: March 30, 1913
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Died: February 6, 2007
 32 
Steven Curtis Chapman
(Singer-songwriter, Musician)
Steven Curtis Chapman
2
Birthdate: November 21, 1962
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paducah, Kentucky, U.S.
 33 
Percy Sledge
(Known for the Song ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’, a No. 1 Hit in 1966)
Percy Sledge
4
Birthdate: November 25, 1940
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.

 34 
Rich Mullins
(Former Singer best known for his worship songs)
Rich Mullins
3
Birthdate: October 21, 1955
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Richmond, Indiana, United States
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.

 35 
Shirley Caesar
(Singer-Songwriter Best Known as the 'First Lady of Gospel Music' And 'The Queen of Gospel Music')
Shirley Caesar
2
Birthdate: October 13, 1938
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Durham, North Carolina, United States

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.

 36 
Joy Williams
(singer-songwriter, composer, guitarist, singer, pianist)
Joy Williams
2
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.

 37 
Natalie Grant
2
Birthdate: December 21, 1971
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Seattle
 38 
Blake McIver Ewing
(Singer-Songwriter & Actor, Known for Playing 'Derek' on the Sitcom 'Full House')
Blake McIver Ewing
3
Birthdate: March 27, 1985
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
 39 
Maybelle Carter
(Musician)
Maybelle Carter
2
Birthdate: May 10, 1909
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Nickelsville, Virginia, United States
Died: October 23, 1978
 40 
Sandi Patty
(Singer)
Sandi Patty
2
Birthdate: July 12, 1956
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA
 41 
BeBe Winans
(Gospel and R&B Singer and Member of the Noted 'Winans Family')
BeBe Winans
2
Birthdate: September 17, 1962
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Best known for his collaborative work with his sister CeCe, BeBe Winans is a Grammy-winning gospel and R&B singer. He is also known for his chartbusting solo tracks such as In Harm's Way and I Wanna Be the Only One. He also released a memoir on close friend Whitney Houston.

 42 
Blind Willie Johnson
(Former gospel blues singer, guitarist and evangelist)
Blind Willie Johnson
2
Birthdate: January 25, 1897
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pendleton, Texas, United States
Died: September 18, 1945
 43 
Phoebe Snow
(Singer-songwriter)
Phoebe Snow
2
Birthdate: July 17, 1950
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City, U.S.
Died: April 26, 2011
 44 
Mat Kearney
(Singer-songwriter, Singer, Composer)
Mat Kearney
2
Birthdate: December 1, 1978
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Eugene
 45 
Sara Carter
(Singer-songwriter, Singer)
Sara Carter
2
Birthdate: July 21, 1898
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Copper Creek, Virginia
Died: January 8, 1979
 46 
Phil Wickham
(Songwriter)
Phil Wickham
2
Birthdate: April 5, 1984
Sun Sign: Aries
 47 
Blind Lemon Jefferson
(Blues & Gospel Singer-Songwriter)
Blind Lemon Jefferson
4
Birthdate: September 24, 1893
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Coutchman, Texas, United States
Died: December 19, 1929
 48 
Ruth Brown
(Singer-songwriter)
Ruth Brown
2
Birthdate: January 12, 1928
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Portsmouth, Virginia, United States
Died: November 17, 2006
 49 
Don Moen
(Singer-songwriter, Singer, Composer, Radio personality, Record producer, Violinist, Pianist)
Don Moen
2
Birthdate: June 29, 1950
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Minneapolis
 50 
Mandisa
(Singer)
Mandisa
4
Birthdate: October 2, 1976
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Citrus Heights