Rising to fame with James Brown’s revue, Lyn Collins fought for female artists during a difficult period, leaving a trail of soul and funk classics behind.
Today, legends are ten a penny. When Billie Holiday was given the accolade it meant something: she was one of, if not the, best jazz singers of all time.
Billie Eilish has gone from tinkering in her bedroom to racking up billions of streams worldwide, setting a new path to fame in a post-genre landscape.
By staying true to her roots and refusing to compromise, Jessie Reyez has perfectly set the stage for her introduction to the world.
From singing in Motown’s biggest girl group to earning Oscar nods and becoming a fashion icon, Diana Ross set the template for future stars to follow.
From subversive subject matter to affairs of the heart, the best female songwriters are often the most insightful, as this list proves.
A pioneer who influenced everyone from Chuck Berry to Keith Richards, Sister Rosetta Tharpe “played rock’n’roll way before anyone else”.
Women have long dominated the rock scene, whether they’ve been acknowledged for it or not. Here are some of the best female rock singers to grace the stage.
“I found out hosts got to listen to music every day and talk about it, I knew at that moment I needed to be in radio.”
“To witness such a young, bright and fiercely independent young female blossom over the years and come into her own and find her voice has been beyond fulfilling.”
For every anthem and romantic ballad, female artists have also asserted their independence through empowering lyrics, challenging the constraints of gender stereotypes, bad relationships or the music industry itself.
“I don’t know what I’d do without music, and you can find me often in my car with the speakers blasting.”
A coming-of-age tale set to thumping bass and wheezing synths, ‘Kaleidoscope’ saw Kelis set the standard for a new era of experimental R&B.
"Music is in my constant day-to-day,” shares Dixon. “I can’t really operate well if I’m not being audibly pleasured.”
The best female guitarists of all time prove that the guitar isn’t just for phallic fretwork and cock-rock grandstanding.