R&B draws from African American experiences and is a cross-genre combination of jump blues, big band swing, gospel, boogie, and blues. R&B music first gained prominence during the era of racial segregation. Even though women were a minority in minority, many female R&B singers paved the way for generations of singers by smashing glass ceilings. Additionally, those women and others who came after them went on to amass large fortunes in the industry. These are the 20 Richest R&B Female Singers of All Time
20. Gloria Gaynor – Net Worth $20 Million
Gloria Gaynor was born on September 7, 1943, in Newark, New Jersey. Her most well-known song is I Will Survive, a disco song commonly played in nightclubs. It has also been used for charity events for different causes, including benefits for Aids. I Will Survive was the only one of Gaynor's songs to win a Grammy Award for best disco recording in 1980. Gaynor's 1974 version of the Jackson 5's Never Can Say Goodbye is the first disco hit.
19. Kelly Rowland – Net Worth $20 Million
Kelly Rowland was born on February 11, 1981, in Atlanta, Georgia. Her early musical inspiration was Whitney Houston. Like Houston, she sang her first musical performance in the church choir at age 7. Her mother left her father because he was abusive. Once in Texas, she met Beyoncé and formed the group Girls Time, competing on Star Search. In 1997 the group signed with Columbia under the name Destiny's Child. After the group disbanded, she continued to work with Knowles, even at Coachella in 2018. Additionally, she was a coach on Chasing Destiny and a Judge on the Australian version of The Voice. In 2009 she appeared as Gladys Knight in the BET series American Soul
18. Jennifer Hudson - Net Worth $20 Million
Jennifer Hudson was born on September 12, 1981. She is a singer and an award-winning actress for her roles in Dream Girls and The Secret Life of Bees. She made her film debut in Dreamgirls, which won her an Oscar. Jennifer Hudson signed her first recording contract in 2002 with Righteous Records. Even though she signed a five-year contract, she was released and appeared on American Idol in 2004. Including her Academy for Dream Girls, she's won a Grammy for her first album.
17. Whitney Houston – Net Worth $20 Million
On August 9, 1963, Whitney Houston was born in Newark, New Jersey, to a musical family. Her mother was Cissy Houston, who was part of the Drinkards, a Gospel quartet. Her cousin is Dionne Warwick. When Whitney Houston was a teenager, she was already singing in New York and performing with Michael Zager, Chaka Khan, Herbie Mann, and the Neville Brothers. According to Whitney Houston, she had the record-setting achievement of being the only artist with seven consecutive number one Hot 100 hits, including Saving All My Love For You, The Greatest Love of All, and I Wanna Dance With Somebody Who Loves Me.
16. Mary J. Blige – Net Worth $20 Million
Mary J Blige was born on January 11, 1971, in Bronx, New York. She is now known as the Queen of Hip Hop. During her childhood, she lived in Savannah, Georgia, as well as New York. Much of her early music influence was from the Pentecostal Church and her mother's collection of Soul records. At age 17, she was discovered while singing Anita Baker's Caught Up in the Rapture. In 1988 Uptown records signed Blige to a recording contract, even though she was a high school dropout. She sang backup until 1992 when she released her solo album. Sean Puffy Combs produced What's the 411. Much of the album was catharsis from incidents in her childhood. Blige has made several television show appearances throughout her career, including Rock of Ages, Black Native, and Mudbound about racism in 1940s Mississippi. In 2020 she did the TV show Power Book II, which was a spinoff of the popular crime drama Power; she played a drug queen pin
15. Ciara – Net Worth $20 Million
Sarah Harris was born on October 25, 1985, in Austin, Texas. She lived in a military family during her childhood and moved from New York to California then to Germany. Her earliest career goal was to be a lawyer. However, as she grew, her love of music overshadowed her aspirations, and she became a member of the group Hearsay. Her debut single as a solo was Goodies, released in June 2004. It helped her rise to the top of the charts. In 2016 she married Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, and they had a daughter a year later. She recorded a new single level up the same year, which peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot R&B song charts.
14. Gladys Knight – Net Worth $20 Million
Curtis night was born on May 28, 1944. She began singing with her siblings at 8 years old. The group was called the Pips. They opened for various Motown role R&B legends at eventually crossed over to pop music. The group, now known as Gladys Knight and the Pips, recorded their most famous song Midnight Train to Georgia, in 1973. Knight left the Pips in 1989 to pursue her career as a solo artist. She is now known as the Empress of Soul
13. Chaka Khan – Net Worth $35 Million
On March 23, 1953, Chaka Kahn was born in Great Lakes, Illinois. She is known as the Queen of Funk. Her career spans over five decades, and she has won 10 Grammys. Additionally, she established the Chaka Khan foundation to help children from lower socio-economic families and those suffering from Autism. Chaka Khan has also acted in several movies, including the musical Mama I Want To Sing.
12. Fergie – Net Worth $45 Million
Later known as Fergie, Stacy Ann Ferguson was born on March 27, 1975, in Hacienda Heights, California. Her parents divorced when she was a teenager, which created many complications on her rise to stardom. Her first appearance was as a child actress on Kids Incorporated. Later she became part of Wild Orchid. They released two albums, but after the third, the record label released the group. Several years later, she was invited to become A to work with the Black Eyed Peas group. In 2006 she released her first solo album, The Duchess, fulfilling her childhood dream of becoming a solo artist.
11. Patti LaBelle – Net Worth $60 Million
On May 24, 1944, Patti LaBelle was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. she has often been referred to as the Godmother of Soul. LaBelle is known for hits like If You Only Knew, New Attitude, and Stir It Up. Her first group was the Bluebells. They earned national fame at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. However, the group fell apart over time, and LaBelle began a solo career. Her first album was released in 1978. In addition to her music career, she has had roles in films like a soldier story and Beverly Hills Cop.
10. Donna Summer – Net Worth $75 Million
Summer was born on December 31, 1948, in Boston, Massachusetts. Her style of R&B, soul-pop, funk-rock, and disco, as well as avant-garde Electronica, helped her rise to fame in the mid-1970s. She was inducted into the rock and roll Hall of Fame on April 18, 2013, the same year she ranked at #24 on Billboard magazine's 50th anniversary Hot 100 Artists of All Time
9. Aretha Franklin - Net Worth $85 Million
Aretha Franklin was born on March 25, 1942. According to The Famous People, she is known as the Queen of Soul. Additionally, she is the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Franklin was first signed in 1963 after she asked her father for permission to record music. Her first song, Today I sang the Blues, was released that year. She was honored with an honorary degree from Yale University and is now working under RCA Records.
8. Maxine Brown – Net Worth $90 Million
Maxine brown was born on April 27, 1931, in Louisiana. She began singing with her younger brother Jim Ed Brown on the Barnyard Frolic, a weekly radio show in Little Rock, Arkansas. The Browns first chart signal Here Today and Gone Tomorrow peaked at #7 in 1955. In 1956, I Take The Chance went to #7. The group was best known for the song Three Bells.
7. Rihanna – Net Worth $90 Million
According to Rihanna Now, Rihanna was the youngest solo artist to score 14 number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100. Additionally, she was the fastest to do so. She is a best-selling artist digital artist on iTunes with over 100 million gold and platinum songs certifications. Her earliest musical influences were Madonna and Bob Marley.
6. Alicia Keys – Net Worth $150 Million
Alicia Keys was born on January 25, 1981, in Manhattan, NY. She began piano lessons when she was seven, even though Keys didn't want to take them. She learned quickly and was later accepted into Manhattan's Professional Performance Art Studio. Keys graduated valedictorian at age 16. In 1988, she signed with Arista Records in wrote and produced her own albums. Her 2001 debut album Songs in A Minor won five Grammys
5. Janet Jackson - Net Worth $190 Million
Janet Jackson was born on May 16, 1966, in Gary, Indiana. She and her brothers formed the Jackson 5. During her time with the group, Jackson got the part of Penny Gordon on Good Times in 1977. Even though she had a string of albums that didn't chart, she was determined to continue her solo career. Jackson recorded Rhythm Nation 1984, which sold 9 million copies in the United States. The longest gap in her career was 7 years. During that time, she filmed movies like why did I get married in 2015. She returned to the studio and return to the road in 2017
4. Tina Turner - Net Worth $270 Million
Turner was born on November 26, 1939, in Nutbush, Tennessee. She began performing with Ike Turner in the 1950s, known as Ike and Tina Turner Revue. Even though she was barely in her teens, she quickly became part of the St. Louis R&B scene. In 1969 they were the opening act for The Rolling Stones. The couple separated in the mid-70s. In 1983 her solo career took off when she remade Al Green's Let's Stay Together. In October 2008, she published the memoir My Love Story. According to Biography, Turner will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in October 2021.
3. Beyonce – Net Worth $350 Million
Beyonce Knowles was born on September 4, 1981. She first gained fame with Destiny's Child. After the group fell apart, Beyoncé started her solo career. She has won 22 Grammys and sold over 100 million albums. In 2002, Beyoncé was the featured vocalist on 3 Bonnie and Clyde by Jay-Z. This was when Destiny's Child was on hiatus. Additionally, she has starred in TV roles like Carmen A Hip Hopera. Her most significant role was as Etta James in 2008's Cadillac Records
2. Mariah Carey – Net Worth $500 Million
Mariah Carey was born on Long Island, New York, on March 27, 1969. In 1990, she recorded her first album, which debuted on Billboard at number 73 but became number 1. Her 1993 album Music Box went ten times platinum. In 2008, her single Touch My Body became her eighteenth single, which surpassed Elvis' record. Today, she is the only artist since the Beatles to have that many number one singles. Since she is still recording, she will likely exceed that number.
1. Diana Ross – Net Worth $500 Million
Diana Ross was born on March 26, 1944, in Detroit, Michigan. Her singing career started in a church gospel group who later became known as The Supremes. After Florence Ballard left the group, they signed to Motown Records as The Supremes. In 1969, Ross left the group to pursue a solo career. Her first film Lady Sings The Blues, about Billie Holiday, was nominated for an Academy Award. Throughout her career, she had ups and downs, including bouts of substance abuse. According to IMDB, these days, she is working on a book Upside Down: Wrong Turns, Right Turns and the Road Ahead.
Written by Allen Lee
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