Rihanna. Katy Perry. Selena Gomez. Lana Del Rey. These pop divas are household names with hit records around the globe. But what if we told you there are other super talented ladies out there who can sing even BETTER!? Is it blasphemy? Perhaps. But hear us out.
There are so many incredible female vocalists who haven’t been able to break into the mainstream. When you hear their voices, you’ll realize it’s really a crime. As we kick off Women’s History Month, we’ve decided to give some shine to these unsung ladies who can seriously sing. Read on and see who made our list of the most underrated female vocalists of the decade. Let the debate begin!
A singer who writes nearly all of her songs herself is hard enough to find these days, but one who can sing live as well as she can write? She’s a rare gem and her name is Emeli Sande. The Scottish singer made her official debut with Our Version of Events (“Next to Me”) in 2012, but her vocals didn’t get nearly as much shine stateside as they deserve. Sande is a master of controlled riffs and soulful ballads, and her alluring, often pained voice packs more in one verse than most singers do in a full album.
Seems like just yesterday Keke was just a cute little spelling bee champ, but she’s certainly all grown up. And although you must’ve been living in a cave if you’re unaware of her role in Broadway’s Cinderella, then Scream Queens, then Grease: Live!, you probably know little about her music. She’s released multiple songs along with intensely choreographed videos, but none of them appear to be major hits. Maybe it was the songs, the writing or the production, but it certainly wasn’t because of her voice. Don’t think this means the chick can’t sing—she’s torn down a handful of national anthems.
Teyana Taylor originally stepped on the scene in 2007 on MTV’s show My Super Sweet 16. Although introduced as Pharrell’s fly girl protégé, many seem to forget that that girl can SANG! She is currently signed to Kanye’s GOOD Music label, and the name is a bit of an understatement for the type of tracks she puts out. Her EP V11 #thecassettetape 1994 is FILLED with some of the best R&B songs you have ever heard in your life. Listen to “Your Wish Is My Command” then go smack your best friend for not telling you how great of a singer Teyana is. You’re welcome.
Yes, everyone knows who she is, but unfortunately, it’s for all the wrong reasons. She’s a beautiful young woman who was immediately labeled a Rihanna wannabe just because Rihanna was going through her blonde phase when Rita stepped on the scene. Then, she dated Rob Kardashian (before getting slut shamed by him), innocently fueled rumors that she was Jay Z’s mistress, dated and broke up with Calvin Harris, and got slut shamed again, but by A$AP Rocky. Aside from the tabloid controversies, she has a deal with Adidas. But what about her songs? Isn’t she a singer? The answer is yes. Actually, she’s a great singer. She’s underrated despite being a star because none of her songs were huge hits (at least not in the U.S.), but she’s got pipes. And you can’t deny that, no matter what you think about her personal life. Listen here and tell us we’re wrong.
Anyone who knows Solange solely as a fashion icon, that one girl from Bring It On or (I cringe) Beyonce’s little sister hasn’t heard her pipes. You’d be surprised how much Solange has influenced her sister’s music, especially 2013’s Beyonce, and while she’s underrated as an artist—”T.O.N.Y.” and “Losing You” are choice—she’s also overlooked as a vocalist and performer. She exudes even more prowess and flair live than she does in her albums. Never underestimate the “little sister”—this, coming from a little sister.