Rhythm & Blues Singers

An R&B singer may refer to a particular type of singer who is involved in the generation of production a particular style of music that is a blend of both jazz music and blues and this genre of music is characterized by strong back beats. Usually abbreviated R&B, Rhythm and blues music has been constantly seen a lot of various from the time of its existence, be it the development of rock’n’ roll, a genre of music that took birth from R&B.R&B is typically a genre of music mainly performed by African-Americans and this type of music originated during the 1940’s. with the migration of a larger number of African-American to urban communities in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Detroit, there emerged a new market for jazz and blues music. Initially, the term R&B was used by recording labels and companies in order to describe urban African-American music that had elements of jazz, repeated variations and also exhibited the feature of instrumental phrases. Explore more fascinating facts about some of the most popular and famous R&B artist who have made a great impact in the field of music. Continue to read some detailed biographies of R&B artist that include trivia, interesting facts, timeline and life history.

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 Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson
5
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: August 29, 1958
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Gary, Indiana, United States
Died: June 25, 2009

The King of Pop and an international superstar, Michael Jackson was a musical entertainer whose work – both with Jackson 5 and solo – won accolades and hearts worldwide. Equally popular were his unique dance moves that created sensation and shaped future dance styles. Amongst the most successful entertainers of all time, Jackson was later accused of child molestation.  

 2 Beyonce Knowles

Beyonce Knowles
7
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: September 4, 1981
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States

Beyonce Knowles is a singer, songwriter, and actress. She developed an interest in music as a child. As a teenager, she became the lead singer of Destiny's Child, one of the best-selling girl groups of all time. As of today, she is one of the world's best-selling recording artists. 

 3 Rihanna

Rihanna
5
Famous As: One of the Best-Selling Female Pop and R&B Artist In History
Birthdate: February 20, 1988
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saint Michael, Barbados

For anyone who has a penchant for music, Rihanna needs no introduction. Born as Robyn Rihanna Fenty, Rihanna is one of the most influential names in the music and fashion industry. Her effortless singing, catchy tunes and inimitable dance moves have won her eight Grammy Awards, eight American Music Awards, twelve Billboard Music Awards and two BRIT Awards.

 4 Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston
5
Famous As: Best-Selling Female R&B Artist of the 20th Century
Birthdate: August 9, 1963
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States
Died: February 11, 2012

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. 

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 5 Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin
7
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.

 6 Tina Turner

Tina Turner
5
Famous As: The "Queen of Rock 'n' Roll"
Birthdate: November 26, 1939
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Nutbush, Tennessee, United States

Known as the Queen of Rock 'n' Roll, Tina Turner is one of the best-selling recording artists of all time and has had a very long and successful career. Let's Stay Together, What's Love Got to Do with It, Private Dancer and Golden Eye are some of her chartbuster songs. She is also a songwriter and has acted in films too.

 7 Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys
5
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.

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 8 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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 9 Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson
4
Famous As: One of the World's Best-Selling Music Artists
Birthdate: May 16, 1966
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gary, Indiana, United States

A member of the prominent Jackson family, Janet Jackson is a singer, songwriter, actress, and dancer. Popularly known for her innovative and socially conscious songs, she was considered a sex icon in her youth. Beginning her career as a teenager, she went on to become one of the world's best-selling music artists of all time.

 10 Diana Ross

Diana Ross
5
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.

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 11 Christopher Maurice Brown

Christopher Maurice Brown
6
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: May 5, 1989
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tappahannock, Virginia, United States

 12 Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye
7
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.

 13 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.

 14 Ray Charles

Ray Charles
5
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.

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 15 Lionel Richie

Lionel Richie
5
Famous As: Co-Lead Singer Of Funk Band The Commodores
Birthdate: June 20, 1949
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Tuskegee, Alabama, United States

Lionel Richie is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and composer whose work with the band Commodores and his solo career established him as a successful balladeer of the 1980s. Having sold more than 90 million records, Lionel Richie is one of the best-selling musicians of all time. Also a philanthropist, Richie helped raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

 16 Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande
11
Famous As: Pop Music Sensation
Birthdate: June 26, 1993
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Boca Raton, Florida, United States

A talented youngster, Ariana Grande first stepped into the world of entertainment through Broadway musical 13 and later shot to fame with television series Victorious and its spinoff, Sam & Cat. Her television series also kick started her musical career which flourished with the release of her five commercially successful and critically applauded albums and collaborations with various other artists.

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 17 Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill
4
Famous As: One of the Greatest Rappers Of All Time
Birthdate: May 26, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States

Famous rapper and singer, Lauryn Hill, is widely regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all time and a pioneer in the Neo soul genre. The artist whose album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill won five Grammy Awards, is an inspiration for numerous singers and rappers. Earlier, she gained recognition as member of Fugees, an award-winning hip hop group.

 18 Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
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. 
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 19 Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber
6
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 1, 1994
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London, Canada

Canadian singer and songwriter Justin Bieber was discovered via YouTube and subsequently went on to become a teen pop sensation. By age 25 he became the youngest solo artist to achieve seven number-one albums in the US. Bieber has received many accolades, including a Grammy Award. He’s also had his share of controversies and run-in with the law.

 20 The Weeknd

The Weeknd
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: February 16, 1990
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada

One of the most successful Canadian recording artists, singer-songwriter, the Weeknd, holds several chart records and has won numerous awards, including three Grammy Awards. Despite a difficult childhood marred by drug abuse and violence, he persevered and worked hard to emerge as a beloved music star. He is actively involved in philanthropy.

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 21 Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu
3
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter Know for Her Singles like "On & On," "Honey," and "The Healer."
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.

 22 Mary J. Blige

Mary J. Blige
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 11, 1971
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bronx, New York, United States

Mary J. Blige is a popular singer-songwriter and actress. Having sold 80 million records worldwide, she is one of the best-selling female artists of all time. Referred to as the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, Mary is credited with influencing the fusion of R&B and hip hop. She often gets featured in lists like The 100 Greatest Women in Music.

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 23 Zayn Malik

Zayn Malik
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: January 12, 1993
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bradford, England
Popular singer Zayn Malik shot to fame with the television reality show The X Factor and later became a part of a hugely successful band One Direction. Afterwards, Zayn Malik set out to establish his solo career and released his debut album, Mind of Mine, which made him a star. The singer has also made an entry into fashion world.

 24 Aaliyah

Aaliyah
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: January 16, 1979
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: August 25, 2001

Aaliyah was an American singer, actress and model, who became famous when her debut album, Age Ain't Nothing but a Number sold three million copies in the US. Her subsequent albums also sold in millions and won her numerous accolades. She also acted in some films. She tragically died in an airplane crash in the Bahamas, at the age of 22.

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 25 Otis Redding

Otis Redding
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 9, 1941
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dawson, Georgia, United States
Died: December 10, 1967
The King of Soul Otis Redding, who had performed with the Pinetoppers, among others, is remembered for his track (Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay, released after his death in a plane crash. It became the first posthumous Billboard R&B- and Hot 100-topping record. He also won two posthumous Grammys

 26 Luther Vandross

Luther Vandross
3
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: April 20, 1951
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City
Died: July 1, 2005

Luther Vandross was an American record producer and singer-songwriter. As a background vocalist, Vandross contributed to the success of several songs recorded by artists like David Bowie, Diana Ross, and Judy Collins. Regarded as a singer with one of the greatest voices in recorded history, Luther Vandross' works have influenced many artists like D'Angelo, Jaheim, Ne-Yo, John Legend, and Usher.

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 27 Usher

Usher
3
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: October 14, 1978
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dallas, Texas, United States

 28 Justin Randall Timberlake

Justin Randall Timberlake
4
Famous As: Billboard Best Performing Male Soloist in the History of the Mainstream Top 40
Birthdate: January 31, 1981
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, United States

Justin Randall Timberlake is an American actor, singer-songwriter, and record producer. Regarded as a pop icon, Timberlake has sold more than 56 million singles worldwide, which makes him one of the best-selling music artists. In 2007 and 2013, he was named in Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world list. Timberlake is also known for his philanthropic activities.

 29 John Legend

John Legend
4
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.

 30 Jamie Foxx

Jamie Foxx
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 13, 1967
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Terrell, Texas, United States

Actor, singer-songwriter, and comedian, Jamie Foxx became internationally famous for his portrayal of Ray Charles in the biographical film Ray, a role that earned him an Academy Award. He is also known for hosting his own television sitcom, The Jamie Foxx Show. Besides acting, he is also a Grammy Award-winning musician who has released four albums.

 31 Chaka Khan

Chaka Khan
3
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 23, 1953
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois
Ten-time Grammy-winning funk/R&B/disco artist Chaka Khan, or the Queen of Funk, soared to fame as the frontwoman of the band Rufus. Known for her hit track I Feel for You, Khan has sold 70 million records and has ranked 17th on VH1’s 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll list.

 32 Dionne Warwick

Dionne Warwick
3
Famous As: Singer & Actress
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. 

 33 Pink

Pink
4
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: September 8, 1979
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Doylestown, Pennsylvania, United States

Pink is an American singer-songwriter known for her acrobatic stage presence and raspy voice. Having sold more than 90 million records worldwide, Pink is one of the best-selling musicians in the world. A recipient of several prestigious awards, Pink was named in VH1's 100 Greatest Women in Music list. Her work has inspired many other artists like Taylor Swift.

 34 Selena

Selena
9
Famous As: The 'Queen of Tejano Music'
Birthdate: April 16, 1971
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lake Jackson, Texas, United States
Died: March 31, 1995

Known as the queen of Tejano music, Selena became the most famous Mexican-American entertainers during the late 20th century, thanks to her contributions to fashion and music. She is one of the most influential Latin artists ever. Her rags-to-riches story, which includes struggle, fame, and finally death at the age of 23, was showcased in the 1997 film, Selena.

 35 Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah
6
Famous As: Best Known as 'Queen of Rap'
Birthdate: March 18, 1970
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States

Queen Latifah is an American musician and actress whose song U.N.I.T.Y. played a major role in raising awareness about women's rights worldwide. Dubbed Queen of Jazz-Rap, Latifah has influenced several soul, R&B, and hip-hop artists like Remy Ma, Lil' Kim, Ivy Queen, Missy Elliott, Lauryn Hill, and Eve among other artists. As an actress, Latifah has won several prestigious awards.

 36 Bill Withers

Bill Withers
3
Famous As: American singer-songwriter
Birthdate: July 4, 1938
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Slab Fork, West Virginia, U.S.
Died: March 30, 2020

Soul and R&B legend Bill Withers is best remembered for hits such as Ain't No Sunshine and Lean on Me. The three-time Grammy Award-winner also inspired the documentary Still Bill. A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Bill moved on to other jobs after his 15-year music career. 

 

 37 Gladys Knight

Gladys Knight
3
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: May 28, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

 38 Smokey Robinson

Smokey Robinson
3
Famous As: Ffounder and Front Man of the Motown Vocal Group 'The Miracles'
Birthdate: February 19, 1940
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Singer, songwriter, and record producer, Smokey Robinson, first gained fame as the founder and frontman of the vocal group, The Miracles, in the 1950s. He embarked on an equally successful solo career after leaving the group. He is the recipient of many awards, including the prestigious Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement.

 39 Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: October 28, 1987
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Long Beach, California, United States

Regarded as one of the most acclaimed musical artists of his generation, Frank Ocean is recognized for his unconventional production techniques and wide vocal range. He is credited with revitalizing and popularizing jazz and funk-influenced R&B. He is also regarded as a representative of alternative R&B. He was named in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world list.

 40 Meghan Trainor

Meghan Trainor
5
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: December 22, 1993
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Nantucket, Massachusetts, United States

Meghan Trainor is an American talent show judge and singer-songwriter. Trainor is credited with promoting body positivity through her music; her songs often have lyrical themes based on personal empowerment and body image. Also a well-known philanthropist, Meghan Trainor works closely with organizations, such as The American Cancer Society. She also takes an active part in several charity events.

 41 Etta James

Etta James
4
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter Know for Hits Such as "The Wallflower", "At Last", "Tell Mama"
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.

 42 Tom Jones

Tom Jones
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: June 7, 1940
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Treforest, Pontypridd, Glamorgan, Wales

Tom Jones is a Welsh singer who has sold more than 100 million records worldwide. His life and work inspired the 2016 musical, Tom: A Story of Tom Jones. In 2005, for his services to music, Tom Jones was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

 43 Barry White

Barry White
5
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 12, 1944
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Galveston, Texas, United States
Died: July 4, 2003

Barry White was an American musician, composer, singer-songwriter, and record producer. Renowned for his bass-baritone voice, White was one of the most popular vocalists of his generation. Having sold more than 100 million records worldwide, Barry White is counted among the best-selling musicians of all time.

 44 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

 45 Patti LaBelle

Patti LaBelle
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: May 24, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
The Godmother of Soul Patti LaBelle is best known for her chartbusting song Lady Marmalade, released with her group Labelle. She has had a successful solo career, too, winning multiple Grammys. She has appeared on her own TV shows, released cookbooks, and has launched her line of food and bedding.

 46 Jhené Aiko

Jhené Aiko
5
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.

 47 Willow Smith

Willow Smith
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: October 31, 2000
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

The daughter of popular American actors, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, Willow Smith has established herself as a singer-songwriter and rapper. Mentored by rapper Jay-Z, Smith became the youngest artist to be signed to the former's label Roc Nation in 2010. In 2019, she came out as bisexual and expressed her desire to be in a polyamorous relationship.

 48 Vanessa Paradis

Vanessa Paradis
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 22, 1972
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, France

French singer and actress, Vanessa Paradis, became a celebrity at the age of 14 with the French song Joe le taxi in 1987. She tasted further success with English songs like Be My Baby and many other French songs. She has also acted in several French films and has modelled regularly for high-end fashion products by Chanel like perfume and handbags.

 49 H.E.R.

H.E.R.
5
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: June 27, 1997
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Vallejo, California, United States

R&B singer Gabriella “Gabi” Wilson, better known to her fans as H.E.R., had initially released a few works under her real name. However, she gained fame only after the release of her first EP, H.E.R. Volume 1, in 2016. The two-time Grammy-winner performed at the 2020 Primetime Emmy Award ceremony.

 50 Little Richard

Little Richard
4
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: December 5, 1932
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Macon, Georgia, United States
Died: May 9, 2020
The Architect of Rock and Roll Little Richard is best known for his track Tutti Frutti, which was included in the National Recording Registry. His music was characterized by energetic piano and back beats. His songs broke all racial barriers and were equally appreciated by white and black listeners.