Who is the Singer’s Singer? Top 5 Female Vocalists

Aretha Franklin
VoiceCouncil Magazine now has a huge community of singers of contemporary genres – so we thought it would be fun to discover your ultimate singers.

Our survey in June simply asked you to identify the singers that inspire you. So, here is the countdown of your top 5 female artists – along with some of the reasons you mentioned as to why they stand out. Read about the top male singers here.

5. Björk

Björk is an alternative icon who pushes the creative boundaries beyond most people’s imaginations! Thom Yorke of Radiohead said “she was born with a voice that’s very sexual but at the same time very childlike. Very vicious and powerful but with no sense that she would ever do damage”. She has just released her 9th studio album and shows no signs of conforming.

4. Mariah Carey

Mariah is known for her dynamic ballad performances and inspired a whole generation of millennial vocalists. You say her voice is “silky yet powerful” and you envy her “riffs and runs”. Beyoncé, Mary J Blige, Kelly Clarkson, Anastacia, Britney Spears, P!nk and Christina Aguilera all cite her as a major influence.200x280-HayleyWilliams

3. Hayley Williams

The lead singer of Paramore is idolised by her huge teenage fan base because of her gutsy attitude and powerful voice. You say “she gives it her all” and delivers “emotive power”. She was one of Brett Manning’s celebrity students and now tours the world with the discipline of an athlete to protect her energetic larynx.

2. Aretha Franklin

A monumental Queen of Soul. She has collaborated with other world class singers such as Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and George Michael. For you, it’s all about her “belt range” and “fearlessness”. She topped the Rolling Stones chart of the world’s greatest singers.

1. Beyoncé

Beyoncé is our reigning vocal Queen. You love her for her “unshakeable confidence” and “out of this world melisma skills”. Her artistry has developed from Destiny’s Child to embodying Etta James in the biopic, Cadillac Records. Her celebrity fans include Madonna, Michelle Obama and Serena Williams. Watch her belting out Love on Top below.

Close runners up were Nina Simone, Jessie J, Ella Fitzgerald, Janis Joplin and Joni Mitchell. The cloud below gives an insight into the vocal traits most sought after, from the technical high notes and dulcet tones to emotional delivery and song interpretation.

Favourite vocal traits for female singers

See also: Summer 2015 Singing Competition Winner Announcement and 10 Looping Artists You Need to Know About

  • Kim Chandler

    Wow, no mention of Whitney Houston – I’m stunned!

  • Just to add: Whitney, Marla Glenn, Tracy Chapman (Björk is a bit … to read at top…)

  • Harri Maki

    Whitney Houston not being on the list is laughable,come on!!

  • So many great vocalists out there! Annie Lennox, Pat Benatar, Ann Wilson, and what about Donna Summer, Barbara Streisand and Celine Dion, this list is endless! So many of them have inspired us. Is it possible to narrow it down to just 5?

  • Mignon Grayson

    Too many to name, however, I will add to the other comments that Whitney should have been on the list… Aretha could and can blow like no other…who was asked to participate in this poll? I agree with the other comments on their mention of top vocalists. I also must add Ella Fitzgerald, Patti Austin, Jill Scott, Ledisi, CeCe Winans, Yolanda Adams, Gladys Night, CHAKA KHAN, Patti LaBelle, Minnie Ripperton, Donnie Hathaway, Luther Vandross….. However, to keep it contemporary… there haven’t been much singer’s, singers since Ledisi and Jill Scott have come on the scene… Because of popularity I understand why Beyonce made the list. IMHO she sings nice, but doesn’t make my top five. The other 4 in the article do. @cosimaybarra:disqus your list is on point too!!

  • Mignon Grayson

    Just thought of some more… recent artists — Kiki Wyatt, Faith Evans, Kelly Price. Older artist — how about Stevie Wonder!!!??? The list is LONG.

  • Freya Astrella

    I was also surprised to see Whitney lower in the ranks, but the people of facebook spoke!

  • Freya Astrella

    We shared these surveys far and wide via facebook and email mailing lists. There were many singers on the poll – including Chaka, Whitney, Ella, Patti and of course Whitney! There could only be a top 5 this time – maybe we could do a top 10 next time and share more talent.

  • Freya Astrella

    Even choosing a personal favourite top 10 would be impossible!

  • Freya Astrella

    I think Hayley Williams got the youth vote and stormed ahead!

  • Mignon Grayson

    Hi Freya. Thanks for responding to my post. I’m a new member so I probably wasn’t around when the survey was shared. A survey can only reflectresults based on who answers… so I understand. Personally, art is art and it touches us in different ways so I’m sure if you did the same survey 10 different times you would have different results. I’m excited for this vocalist outlet and appreciate the work you are doing at voice council!! Much needed and much appreciated. :^)

  • What about Edith Piaf? ( Who???? I hear you cry !) …….now go and Google up her, all you young- uns !

    And if you bypass Doris Day and Jane Powell……….I’ll marmalize the lot of yah !

  • Yep………once a singer falls from grace……..no matter how angelic the voice…….the devil in the minds of humans will take over and it is as if they never existed !

    How I wish I had lived next door to Whitney……..she needed not admirers as much as she needed a true friend in life !

  • Freya Astrella

    You are most welcome! And welcome to the community!

  • keith cummings

    what a dated list. No surprise I guess. To my thinking there are more superb female vocalists in the first half of the 20th century than since, again, as mention in a previous comment, Edith Piaf being the likely best. I’d be much more interested in a list of best female vocalists as decided by a panel of professional vocalists than facebook popular recent divas. For comparison, if I asked facebook for the best restaurant, voters would probably say McDonalds.

  • Freya Astrella

    We did ask professional vocalists only! The survey was shared among the Voice Council community and as many singing peers as I could get hold of! We shall be returning to this project again in the future for more input.

  • Toni Lee

    What about the most natural, clearest, pitch perfect, heavenly voice of Karen Carpenter??? A voice that was and is so rare. What a vocal range too?? Perfection!!!