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.
Known for her five-octave vocal range and melismatic singing style, singer-songwriter Mariah Carey is one of the best-selling music artists of all time. She holds the record for the most number-one singles by a solo artist and a female songwriter. She was ranked second on VH1's list of the 100 Greatest Women in Music in 2012.
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.
The singer of chartbuster songs like The Boy Is Mine, I Wanna be Down and Sittin' Up in My Room, Brandy Norwood is known for her raspy and husky voice. Most of her songs are about love, relationships and heartache. She was involved in a car accident in 2006, leading to multiple lawsuits, which were eventually settled out of court.
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.
Florence Foster Jenkins was an American socialite who was often ridiculed and mocked for her poor singing ability, which in turn made her popular. Known as the world's worst opera singer, Jenkins became a musical cult-figure in New York City due to her technical incompetence as an amateur soprano. Her life inspired several plays and films, including Florence Foster Jenkins.
Maren Morris is an American record producer, singer, and songwriter. Many of her songs and albums have performed well on Billboard charts; her album Hero peaked at the fifth position on Billboard 200. As a songwriter, Maren Morris has contributed to the success of several songs recorded by artists like Kelly Clarkson, Tim McGraw, Jessie James Decker, and Aubrey Peeples.
10 Faith Hill
16 Sheila E.
17 Linda Perry
18 Teddy Geiger
19 Macy Gray
21 Bebe Rexha
Bebe Rexha is an American singer-songwriter. As a songwriter, Rexha has contributed to the success of songs recorded by artists like Eminem, Nick Jonas, and Selena Gomez. Her debut album Expectations did well in the US. Having described her sexual orientation as fluid, Rexha serves as an inspiration to the LGBTQ+ community; she is also a supporter of the community.
23 Ester Dean
24 Teena Marie
31 Joan Osborne
33 Jody Watley
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.
35 Sylvia Massy
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.
38 Paula Cole
40 Angie Stone
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.
41 Lari White
45 Blu Cantrell
46 Karen O
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.