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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
12 CeCe Winans
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.
13 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.
14 Kelly Price
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.
15 Gloria Jones
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.
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.
18 Percy Sledge
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.