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.
2 Sade Adu
Nigerian-British singer Helen Folasade Adu, or Sade Adu, often blends Afro-Cuban tunes with soul and smooth jazz in her music. The Grammy Award winner had initially studied fashion designing and been a model. The founder of the band Sade, she has released iconic tracks such as No Ordinary Love.
Ella Fitzgerald was an American jazz singer. Referred to as the Queen of Jazz, First Lady of Song, and Lady Ella, Fitzgerald was renowned for her impeccable diction, purity of tone, timing, and intonation. The winner of Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Arts, Fitzgerald's legacy lives on several years after her death.
Johnny Mathis is an American singer and songwriter. Best known for his contribution to popular music, Mathis has been honored with many awards including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and the Society of Singers Lifetime Achievement Award. Johnny Mathis is also renowned for his philanthropic efforts; he has supported such organizations as the American Cancer Society and Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Lena Horne was an American singer, actress, dancer, and civil rights activist. Horne's 70-year acting career was embellished with several prestigious awards, such as Grammy Awards. Her life and career were depicted in many stage shows, where she was portrayed by actresses like Leslie Uggams, Nikki Crawford, and Ryan Jillian.
Bessie Smith was an American singer who gained popularity during the Jazz Age. Dubbed the Empress of the Blues, Smith was one of the most famous blues singers of the 1920s and 1930s. Counted among the greatest singers of her generation, Bessie Smith was a major influence on several other singers. Her life and work inspired the TV film Bessie.
Jazz singer and dancer, Cab Calloway, was a famous vocalist of the swing era. From the early 1930s to the late 1940s, he led a very popular band that included musicians like Dizzy Gillespie, Jonah Jones, and Adolphus "Doc" Cheatham. A man of color, he became the first African-American musician to sell a million records from a single song.
10 Bobby Womack
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.
12 Al Jarreau
13 Nina Simone
Widely regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Nina Simone was a pioneering recording artist whose career was characterized by improvisational genius and fits of outrage. Nina continues to be an important musician and has influenced several artists like Elton John, Adele, David Bowie, Madonna, and Aretha Franklin. She was also a civil rights activist.
16 Roy Ayers
17 Ruth Brown
20 Jimmy Scott
21 Concha Buika
Concha Buika is a Spanish singer who has been active in the music industry for two decades. She is the daughter of writer Juan Balboa. As a singer and composer, she derives inspiration from a wide range of genres including jazz, flamenco, pop, soul, and African polyrhythm. She is internationally famous and has performed in US, Europe, and Latin America.
24 China Moses
25 Doc Cheatham
26 Gloria Lynne
Dorothy Masuka was a jazz singer whose music gained popularity in South Africa during the 1950s. Masuka's music had a strong influence on the people of South Africa, so much so that the government banned her song Dr. Malan which was about difficult laws in the country. She was exiled in 1961 when she performed a song for Patrice Lumumba.