My Favorite Female Vocalist
For day two of music week I would like to talk about my favorite female vocalist. The female songstress has always been special to me because even as a child her vocals and expressions have kept me in touch with my feminine side. They have help to give me a respect for the beauty and grace of the woman. As these women sing of love, heartache, redemption or simple fun – the female vocal is one that is a direct expression of God’s love and nurturing. I will list my 10 favorite female vocalist and a few notables that I had a hard time leaving off the list. Who are some of yours?
Aretha Franklin – The daughter of the late Rev. C.L. Franklin, Detroit’s own is simply the Queen of Soul
Gladys Knight – A true diva even back in the day, and still going strong. No one has a voice that sounds like her. One of my favorite songs of all time still… Neither One Of Us, (Wants to be the First To Say Goodbye.)
Chaka Kahn – Ok so I am showing my age here with all of these mature sisters. But you can’t beat the longevity factor of the first three noted here. Khan could also be ranked tops among the most beautiful singers of all time. Musically her voice is off the chain and she has demonstrated the ability to mix Rock and Roll with Funk as she did with Rufus, as well as knock out a ballad or a jazz number with ease.
Natalie Cole – This songstress has some of the most significant songs of my life. I remember when my mom would play her 8-Tracks during Saturdays when we had to clean the house. I still know all the words to my favorite two albums of hers, “Unpredictable” and “Thankful,” both released in 1977. She reinvented herself by following in her father’s footsteps in doing music from the standard jazz songbook. I hear she has had some physical challenges nowadays. Get well Natalie!
Phyllis Hyman – Talk about a true diva, a virtuous songstress. OMG! One of the best ballad singers of all time – This woman voice was deep and sensual. It was easy to tell that she sang from her heart and many of her ballads held personal value. Though her life ended tragically her music lives on. She was and always will be a treasure to me.
Nancy Wilson – Performing since the age of 15, this songstress comes with a resume as fat as the lard at a southern fried chicken contest! Such an elegant voice, she is a ladies lady who personified class and grace. Though her catalogue is most extensive, she can’t go anywhere without the song that starts with the line… “You’re so late – getting home from the office. Did you miss your train? Were you caught in the rain? No don’t bother to explain…” (Guess Who I Saw Today)
Stephanie Mills – She is the little woman with the big voice. I grew up on this iconic figure as she belted out her music with a voice stronger than any on the market. She sounds like a grown woman with the soul of a teenager. My favorite song from Stephanie, “I Feel Good.” “Home” is not far behind.
Teena Marie – I truly came of age on the music of Lady T. 100% performer she gives one of the best concerts one will ever witness. Her ballads are timeless and though many have enjoyed Teena’s music over the years, she has a cult following as well of people like myself who have all of her music and will follow her wherever she goes. She truly has a voice from heaven and sings with loads of love, compassion, and attitude.
Minnie Riperton – Only Mariah Carey comes to mind when I think of the octaves this incredible artist possessed. Her voice was truly an instrument and she sang like a horn. She will remain in our hearts.
Sade – Sade Adu is a gift to all of us. An incredible artist whose music takes the imagination to far away places, I have been fortunate to see her for her only two performances in St. Louis. A truly original artist, from the beginning Sade came with a brand and stuck with it. No pop for this lady – she ain’t trying to make you dance. But you must pay attention!
So goes it for my top 10. This list was no easy task and I had to drop some great divas – some of whom I am still conflicted about. These notables who could crack any list of mine had I not been retricted to ten include, Rachelle Ferrell, Roberta Flack, Denise Williams, Mariah Carey, Chante’ Moore, Anita Baker and CeCe Winans. And don’t sleep on Stevie Nicks, Annie Lennox and Randy Crawford!
Tomorrow – Discussion of the great artist, pop music, and the musical legacy of Whiney Houston.