This year witnessed a range of successful and influential black female singers that rose to prominence. Following the footsteps of some of the legendary artists in the industry, the year-end charts witnessed the breakthrough of a bunch of new black female r&b singers.
The rhythms and blues artists have emerged and grown tremendously since the beginning of the music genre in the late 1940s. The industry has witnessed several exceptionally talented and euphonious voices from Aretha Franklin, Prince, Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Mary J. Blige, and Lionel Richie.
Some of the finest voices in the rhythm and blues industry belong to the talented and rising black female singers.
Who are the current top black female r&b singers that you should check out?
If you’re looking for a list of current top female r&b singers who have a voice that can capture your attention in a couple of seconds, you’re in the right place.
From the legendary icons such as Whitney Houston to the famous girl group Destiny’s Child, many black female r&b artists have made their mark on the rhythm and blues industry.
The industry itself has transformed and evolved over the years. R&B has become a broad category that has often been fused with soul music, contemporary music, and alternative music.
Modern blues singers, classic blues singers, great soul singers, and jazz singers have highly influenced the current R&B artists of our time. Famous female blues singers have heavily influenced the R&B of the current generation of female artists.
Here are the names of the talented black female r&b singers who are currently popular and rising in the industry.
This solo artist has proven to be one of the most promising artists in the industry after she rose on top of the charts with her critically acclaimed album release of ‘Ctrl’ in 2017.
S.Z.A. is famous for her enchanting, dark high-medium soprano vocals and vivid songwriting abilities. She primarily indulges in the ‘alternative R&B’ category, and her passion for music is evident in her songs. She’s one of the most famous artists as of 2021.
Songs to check out by S.Z.A.:
Love Galore (2017), Drew Barrymore (2017)
A four-time Grammy-winning artist and a child prodigy, H.E.R. is one of the most successful female singers and an exceptionally talented vocalist.
H.E.R. got her breakthrough with the release of the self-titled album ‘H.E.R.,’ which received a ton of support from many of her famous labelmates and other influential artists, thus exposing her to a greater audience.
This self-titled debut album of hers received a lot of critical acclaim and thus made her mark on the music industry after securing two Grammys for it.
Songs to check out by H.E.R.:
Best Part feat. Daniel Caesar (2017), Hard Place (2019)
She has been active in the industry for almost a decade now but earned her mark in this new music industry with her 2020 album ‘Chilombo’ receiving Grammy nominations in some prime categories.
Jhené’s passionate, sweet yet alluring voice has explored neo-soul and hip-hop genres but mostly revolves around R&B. Her continuous growth in the industry has made her into a successful solo artist.
Songs to check out by Jhené Aiko:
While We’re Young (2017), Triggered (2020)
This proficient artist had a rough and tumble life at the beginning of her career as she faced homelessness at some point but made ends meet after releasing ‘Cloud 19’ in 2014.
Kehlani found solo success with her second mixtape, ‘You Should Be Here,’ which received a Grammy nomination in 2016. She appealed to the mainstream audience with her hit song ‘Gangsta,’ featured in the Suicide Squad movie soundtrack.
Her first album ‘SweetSexySavage’ consists of many chart-topping songs and marked her place as one of the most unforgettable artists in the R&B industry. Her passionate voice and magnetic stage presence have resulted in a successful solo career still thriving.
Songs to check out by Kehlani:
Nights Like This (2019), CRZY (2017)
She was just a girl taking piano lessons at eight years old, unaware of how she was going to become one of the most recognizable figures in the R&B industry in the future years.
In a public interview, Jorja Smith found worldwide exposure when global icon Drake praised her second single, ‘Where Did I Go?’. She is a talented vocalist trained in classical singing and she’s a best-selling female performer in England predominantly.
Her music genres often combine R&B with soul music’s and her jazzy vocals are compared to some of the first major blues artists.
Songs to check out by Jorja Smith:
Blue Lights (2018), Where Did I Go? (2018)
This London native was studying at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute (BIMM) before she found commercial success with the release of her debut single ‘Boo’d Up’ in 2018 from her extended play ‘Ready.’ This recognition allowed her to tour with Kehlani and perform as her opening act during the ‘SweetSexySavage’ World Tour.
After her initial breakthrough, many popular music magazines labeled her as the ‘next big thing’ in the R&B industry. Ella Mai is one of the freshest, most potent, influential black female singers in the R&B industry and embarked on a record-breaking solo career to release her self-titled debut album in 2018.
This album featured many hit songs combined with complete duet recordings with John Legend, H.E.R., and Chris Brown.
Songs to check out by Ella Mai:
Trip (2018), Shot Clock (2018)
Victoria Monét is a popular songwriter along with being a well-known voice in the R&B industry. She has penned lyrics for a number of artists and pop-music hit songs such as the mega pop hit ‘Thank U, Next by Ariana Grande. She even received Grammy Nominations for her participation in that work.
She collaborated with Ariana Grande on her song ‘Monopoly’ in 2019, which became a chart-topping hit and gave her more recognition for her vocals than her remarkable songwriting abilities. Her extended play ‘Jaguar’ was released in 2020 and was deemed one of the year’s finest records, with many critics praising her artistry and vocals.
Songs to check out by Victoria Monét:
Jaguar (2020), Experience (2020)
Chloe x Halle
They are an R&B duo consisting of siblings Chloe and Halle, who have equally powerful and harmonious nature.
They’ve been active in the industry since 2011 where they started their musical journey by uploading covers on their YouTube channel. This duo was later recognized and signed into Beyoncé’s record label ‘Parkwood Entertainment.’ Along with being talented vocalists, they are also actresses who had secured minor roles in many movies.
Their album ‘Ungodly Hour’ released in 2020, explores the sounds of soul music, hip-hop, pop music, and it received worldwide attention from various music critics. They’ve been nominated for the Grammys multiple times.
They’ve named Billie Holiday, a popular jazz singer, as one of their musical inspirations.
Songs to check out by Chloe x Halle:
Do It (2020), Don’t Make It Harder On Me (2020)
She’s a talented dancer, actress, and singer. She has been active in the entertainment industry for a long time but found a name for herself in the music industry with her debut mixtape ‘In Case We Die’ in 2012. She independently released her fifth music album titled ‘333’, and it became one of her most highly rated albums of all time.
Tinashe’s music often consists of American pop vocals combined with alternative R&B. She’s a talented songwriter and frequently participates in writing most of her music. She’s a perfect example of combining pop music with R&B sounds.
Songs to check out by Tinashe:
No Drama (2018), Save Room For Us (2019)
This Atlanta native artist found her breakthrough after releasing her first mixtape, ‘Last Day of Summer’ in 2018. She found commercial success after releasing a remix of ‘Girls Need Love’ with Drake, and that song debuted high on multiple worldwide charts, including U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
Walker is known for her soulful vocals and raw emotion-inciting tracks. She released her debut solo album ‘Over It’ in 2019, which was met with universal acclaim. In 2021 she released the sophomore album titled ‘Still Over It,’ and many believe it to be her best work to date after appearing on many year-end music charts.
Songs to check out by Summer Walker:
Playing Games (2019), Unloyal (2021)
Janelle Monáe is an artist like no other on this list. Her initial musical style was heavily influenced by science fiction, infusing the elements of psychedelic rock, pop, and soul music.
Her album ‘The ArchAndroid’ (2010) deals with theatrical science fiction concepts combined with a mix of energized retro-futuristic sound, progressive electronic music, r&b, pop music, and progressive soul.
All of her three studio albums have been well-received by music critics. Her 2018 album ‘Dirty Computer’ received two nominations at the 2019 Grammys and performed well on the year-end charts. She has received praise for her funky and mysterious mezzo-soprano vocals.
Songs to check out by Janelle Monáe:
Make Me Feel (2018). I Like That (2018)
She’s a talented choreographer, dancer, actress, singer, and songwriter. Teyana has worked with influential black artists such as Missy Elliot, Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Trey Songz.
Teyana’s debut studio album ‘VII’ (2014) was a top-charting album in the Billboard U.S. Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. Her 2020 release ‘The Album’ earned her a spot in the U.S. Billboard 200’s top ten list for the first time. It was well-received by the music critics and general audience alike.
Although Teyana announced her retirement from the music scene after ‘The Album,’ she later clarified she wouldn’t be quitting music entirely.
Songs to check out by Teyana Taylor:
Gonna Love Me (2018), Issues/Hold On (2018)
Ari Lennox first gained attention after being one of the first female artists to be signed into J. Cole’s ‘Dreamville’ record label. She delivered her debut E.P. ‘Pho’ in 2016 following this event, and she was eventually deemed to be one of the future breakthrough artists.
She released her debut studio album in 2019 titled ‘Shea Butter Baby’ which performed well on the US R&B chart and was received well by the public alike. Ari Lennox has a rich, empowering, and soulful voice with honest ballads that she pens down while writing her own lyrics.
Songs to check out by Ari Lennox:
Pressure (2021), Night Drive (2016)
Beyoncé had such an immense impact on the R&B industry that she’s still one of the top most influential black female singers of all time, and her songs garner millions of streams every year.
Beyoncé has sold over 110 million records worldwide in her career. That doesn’t even include the records she sold when she was a part of one of the most legendary girl groups of all time: Destiny’s Child. She’s an artist now that many of the other famous black women on this list admire and look up to.
Beyoncé is the most awarded female singer in the history of the Grammys, along with being the most awarded singer overall. Her album ‘Lemonade’ (2016) is considered one of the best albums of all time as it dabbles with infidelity, heartbreak, political symbolism, black feminism, and black culture overall.
After making her mark in the industry with many masterpieces to her name, Beyoncé continues to make music, albeit low-key. Her newest release was a single for the movie ‘King Richard’ titled ‘Be Alive’ (2021), and it ended up being nominated for several awards, including a Golden Globe.
Songs to check out by Beyoncé:
Hold Up (2016), Best Thing I Never Had (2011)
Before emerging in the R&B scene, Kiana Ledé became a Kidz Star winner in 2011. That was the beginning of her journey to becoming one of the newest and the most promising black female voices in the R&B industry.
Kiana released her debut studio album in the year 2020 titled ‘Kiki’ which earned her an entry to the Billboard album charts for the first time. Her 2018 extended play ‘Selfless’ consisted of hit tracks such as ‘Ex’ which ended up getting platinum certifications by RIAA.
As of 2021, Kiana participated in a duet with Kehlani titled ‘Ur Best Friend’ and continues to produce music with her mellifluous voice.
Songs to check out by Kiana Ledé:
Mad At Me. (2020), Ur Best Friend (2021)
‘A Seat at the Table’ was highly received by music critics upon its release in 2016. It’s the third studio album by one of the most popular names in the rhythms and blues industry.
Solange has been active in the music industry since the early 2000s and often participated in Destiny Child’s background activities before signing to a record label herself. She used to work for Destiny’s Child during their prime time and got the opportunity to do so as her older sister Beyoncé was the lead singer.
She made a name for herself after the release of her 2016 album and followed its success with her fourth studio album ‘When I Get Home’ (2019) which received universal acclaim upon its release and featured a bunch of powerful musical icons.
Songs to check out by Solange:
Almeda (2019), Borderline [An Ode To Self-Care] (2016)
Jazmine found commercial success with the release of her 2008 debut studio album ‘Fearless’. At the beginning of her career, Jazmine’s vocals and musical styles were compared to that of Alicia Keys’. Her debut album was a huge success and helped her secure five nominations at the 2009 Grammy Awards.
Her sophomore album ‘Love Me Back’ (2010) was also received well by the public and critics alike, heavily influenced by pop and hip-hop soul along with the rhythms and blues background. Jazmine’s third studio album ‘Reality Show’ (2015) was released after a long break from her previous record but proved her eminence in the industry as it received worldwide recognition from critics.
Songs to check out by Jazmine Sullivan:
Lions, Tigers, and Bears (2008), Pick Up Your Feelings (2021)
She released her debut album in 2016 titled ‘Diary of Me’ but her second studio album ‘Love and Compromise’ (2019) is often labeled to be her proper debut work. She’s one of the newer artists to emerge in the R&B lists and one of the most promising ones. Mahalia has a way of capturing her listeners’ attention with the raw emotions she elicits in her songs with her powerful vocals.
Mahalia signed her record deal at the young age of 13 but found her commercial breakthrough in 2017 after a video of her performing her single ‘Sober’ went viral on the YouTube channel ‘Colors’. She’s included in the 2021 edition of Forbes’ 30 under 30 lists.
Songs to check out by Mahalia:
I Wish I Missed My Ex (2019), Simmer (2019)