Famous American Soul Singers

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

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 1 Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin
6
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
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.

 2 John Legend

John Legend
6
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
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.

 3 Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder
4
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter and Musician
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.

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 4 Diana Ross

Diana Ross
6
Famous As: Entertainer
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.

 5 Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: April 2, 1939
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
Died: April 1, 1984

American singer Marvin Gaye is one of the most successful black artists ever and his albums have sold in millions. His success reached great heights with the 1972 song What's Going On. The 1982 single Sexual Healing was the biggest hit of his career and was a chartbuster. He was tragically shot dead by his father after a family altercation.

 6 Ray Charles

Ray Charles
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
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.

 7 James Brown

James Brown
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: May 3, 1933
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Barnwell, South Carolina, United States
Died: December 25, 2006

Referred to by honorific nicknames, such as Godfather of Soul, James Brown was a prominent figure of 20th century music. A progenitor of funk music, Brown influenced the development of many music genres. An inductee of the Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame, Brown is ranked seventh in Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Artists of All Time list.

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 8 Bobby Brown

Bobby Brown
4
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
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. 

 9 Jhené Aiko

Jhené Aiko
4
Famous As: Singer
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.

 10 Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer Hudson
4
Famous As: Actress, Singer
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

 11 Christopher Stapleton

Christopher Stapleton
4
Famous As: Named ‘Artist-Songwriter Of the Decade’ by ACM
Birthdate: April 15, 1978
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lexington, Kentucky, United States

Five-time Grammy-winning country artist Chris Stapleton is best known for hits such as Parachute. He has also co-written tracks such as Kenny Chesney's Never Wanted Nothing More. Before going solo, he was part of the bands The SteelDrivers and The Jompson Brothers. His music blends country with bluegrass and soul.

 12 Elle King

Elle King
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Famous As: American Singer-Songwriter & Multi-Instrumentalist
Birthdate: July 3, 1989
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

American singer, Elle King, made her mark in showbiz when her debut single Good To Be A Man was released in March 2012 as a digital download. Her 2014 single Ex's & Oh's became one of the top songs in US. Under the Influence, America's Sweetheart, Good Girls, Different for Girls, Wild Love are some of her other popular songs.

 13 Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
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.

 14 Donna Summer

Donna Summer
4
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: December 31, 1948
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: May 17, 2012

 15 Vanessa Williams

Vanessa Williams
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 18, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bronx, New York, United States

 16 Etta James

Etta James
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
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.

 17 Isaac Hayes

Isaac Hayes
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: August 20, 1942
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Covington, Tennessee, United States
Died: August 10, 2008

 18 Berry Gordy

Berry Gordy
4
Famous As: Record Executive
Birthdate: November 28, 1929
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Detroit, MichiganDetroit, Michigan, United States

 19 August Alsina

August Alsina
3
Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: September 3, 1992
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

A singer-songwriter whose music generally falls into the Alternative R&B category, August Alsina is a young man who is applauded not just for his musical talents but also for his zest for life. He suffers from an autoimmune disease that attacks his liver, and he is constantly fighting to live a normal life.

 20 Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys
0
Famous As: Singer, Actress
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.

 21 Robin Thicke

Robin Thicke
4
Famous As: Famous for His 2013 Single 'Blurred Lines'
Birthdate: March 10, 1977
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

The son of late actor, Alan Thicke, and actress, Gloria Loring, Robin Thicke followed in the footsteps of his parents to become a popular singer-songwriter, actor, dancer, record producer, and musician. Over the years, Robin Thicke has played a significant role in contributing to the success of artists like Christina Aguilera, Nicki Minaj, Usher, Jennifer Hudson, and Mary J. Blige.

 22 Jon Batiste

Jon Batiste
3
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: November 11, 1986
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kenner, Louisiana, United States

 23 Daryl Hall

Daryl Hall
3
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: October 11, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pottstown, Pennsylvania, USA

 24 Teddy Pendergrass

Teddy Pendergrass
3
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 26, 1950
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kingstree, South Carolina, USA
Died: January 13, 2010

 25 Macy Gray

Macy Gray
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 6, 1967
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Canton, Ohio, United States

 26 Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin
0
Famous As: Known for Her Powerful Mezzo-Soprano Vocals
Birthdate: January 19, 1943
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Port Arthur, Texas, United States
Died: October 4, 1970

Best known for her powerful mezzo-soprano voice, Janis Joplin was one of the most successful rock stars of her era. Before dying at the age of 27, she achieved so much that Rolling Stone magazine included her in its 100 Greatest Artists of All Time list in 2004 and 100 Greatest Singers of All Time list in 2008.

 27 Andra Day

Andra Day
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: December 30, 1984
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Spokane, Washington (state) Washington, U.S.

 28 Al B. Sure!

Al B. Sure!
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: June 4, 1968
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, USA

 29 Boz Scaggs

Boz Scaggs
3
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: June 8, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Canton, Ohio, USA

 30 Thundercat

Thundercat
3
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: October 19, 1984
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

 31 Israel Houghton

Israel Houghton
3
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.

 32 Jill Scott

Jill Scott
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: April 4, 1972
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

 33 Leon Bridges

Leon Bridges
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: July 13, 1989
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.

 34 Roberta Flack

Roberta Flack
3
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: February 10, 1939
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Black Mountain, North Carolina, United States

 35 Jackie Jackson

Jackie Jackson
3
Famous As: Singer best known as a founding member of the Jackson 5
Birthdate: May 4, 1951
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gary, Indiana, United States

 36 Taylor Dayne

Taylor Dayne
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: March 7, 1962
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Baldwin, Long Island, New York, USA

 37 Tichina Arnold

Tichina Arnold
3
Famous As: Actress
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. 

 38 Bobby Womack

Bobby Womack
3
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 4, 1944
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Died: June 27, 2014

Bobby Womack began his career with his family band The Valentinos, after gaining a record deal with The Soul Stirrers singer Sam Cooke. He later began a solo career and became famous for tracks such as Lookin’ for a Love. He also contributed to the soundtrack of Across 110th Street.

 39 D'Angelo

D'Angelo
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: February 11, 1974
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Richmond, Virginia, United States

 40 Rebbie Jackson

Rebbie Jackson
5
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: May 29, 1950
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Gary, Indiana, United States

 41 Cissy Houston

Cissy Houston
3
Famous As: Gospel Singers
Birthdate: September 30, 1933
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, USA

 42 Reggie Watts

Reggie Watts
3
Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: March 23, 1972
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Stuttgart Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

 43 Eddie Kendricks

Eddie Kendricks
3
Famous As: Co-founder of the Motown Singing Group 'The Temptations'
Birthdate: December 17, 1939
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Union Springs, Alabama, United States
Died: October 5, 1992

 44 R. Kelly

R. Kelly
0
Famous As: Most Successful R&B Male Artist of the 1990s & One of the Best-Selling Music Artists
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.

 45 Gary Clark, Jr.

Gary Clark, Jr.
3
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: February 15, 1984
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Austin, Texas Austin, Texas, U.S.

 46 Sly Stone

Sly Stone
3
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: March 15, 1943
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Denton, Texas, United States

 47 James Ingram

James Ingram
3
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: February 16, 1952
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Akron, Ohio, USA
Died: January 29, 2019

 48 Brian McKnight

Brian McKnight
3
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter with Thrid Most Grammy Nominations Without a Win
Birthdate: June 5, 1969
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Buffalo, New York, United States

Brian McKnight is a singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist in R&B and soul genres. Associated with labels like Motown, Mercury, and Warner Brothers, he is known for his albums, Back at One, and Anytime. The co-writer of the song Wait also hosted radio shows.

 49 LeToya Luckett

LeToya Luckett
3
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 11, 1981
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States

 50 Nathaniel Rateliff

Nathaniel Rateliff
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: October 7, 1978
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, U.S