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100 Best Female Pop Singers of the ‘80s and ‘90s

I have been an online writer for over six years. I am passionate about books, philosophy, music, and the music industry.

Madonna

Madonna

Pop music reinvented itself theatrically in the ‘80s and ‘90s. As the use of digital recording grew prominent, non-traditional instruments such as synthesizers became the signature sound across numerous electronic genres. Synth-pop and new wave took the world by storm in the ‘80s. Artists associated with these genres had a great deal of success globally. Female pop singers created a new identity and ideology with their music and image in the ‘80s and ‘90s, paving the way for a new wave of female artists in the decades to follow.

The list below showcases the best female pop singers of the ‘80s and ‘90s. If you are a fan of all things pop, you will have a lot to say. Feel free with you views, opinions, and suggestions in the comments section.

10 Best Female Singers of the ‘80s and ‘90s

1. Madonna

2. Whitney Houston

3. Mariah Carey

4. Celine Dion

5. Janet Jackson

6. Gloria Estefan

7. Cyndi Lauper

8. Kylie Minogue

9. Barbara Streisand

10. Diana Ross

Female Pop Singers of the ‘80s

The ‘80s are remembered for showcasing some of the biggest selling music artists in pop history. As the sounds of disco started diminishing in popularity, genres such as dance-pop, R&B, and synth-pop gained new ground. Female pop singers stamped their authority with their dance friendly synthesized sounds and rhythms. Synthpop productions fueled by dance beats and catchy lyrics formed an integral part of pop music. Teen pop emerged with a bang in the mid-80s. A great number of artists associated with this style of music became excessively popular with teen audiences globally.

As electronic dance music gained momentum through the ‘80s, a number of young female singers began implementing electronic elements in their scheme of pop. Women singers of the ‘80s employed dance-oriented rhythms that focused on melodies, hummable choruses, and catchy hooks to connect with younger audiences. Themes about love and romantic relationships were exceedingly popular with pop artists in the decade. Contemporary R&B which came into being in the ‘80s became a rage in the realms of mainstream pop. The highly sophisticated production techniques that incorporated synth sounds and disco-like beats with elements of soul, hip hop, and rhythm and blues struck a chord with older audiences globally.

Musicians associated with R&B had tremendous chart-topping success with their albums and singles in the decade. Quiet storm, a radio format associated with R&B was marketed and promoted in a big way. This jazz-influenced style of romantic and smooth R&B became excessively popular with urban African-American audiences. New styles of R&B enriched with rhythmic elements of funk, disco, and soul made their way in mainstream pop in the latter part of the decade. A number of artists from the country genre achieved widespread success with their style of country pop. The melodic pop structure infused with the nasal twang of country appealed to the mainstream audiences in the ‘80s

#11—20

11. Tina Turner

12. Aretha Franklin

13. Linda Ronstadt

14. Cher

15. Laura Branigan

16. Chaka Khan

17. Tracy Chapman

18. Sade Adu

19. Donna Summer

20. Sheena Easton

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston

Female Pop Singers of the ‘90s

Teen pop and dance-pop trends became magnanimous in the ‘90s. The new wave of female pop singers started experimenting with fusion genres such as neo-soul, new jack swing, g-funk and blue-eyed soul. This experimentation paved the way for new sounds in contemporary R&B. As electronic music grew popular with urban audiences, certain musicians explored new musical directions that incorporated elements of rave, techno, house, and drum and bass in their music. The singer-songwriter movement became epic in the decade.

The ‘90s witnessed the revival of the reggae and ska movement in a big way. Both reggae and ska which remained isolated from mainstream in the ‘80s, suddenly found success in the ‘90s owing it to artists fusing sounds from diverse dance genres. Although numerous girl groups emerged with their stylistic blend of of dance-pop and R&B in the realms of pop, only few among the many managed to achieve widespread commercial success. Certain women pop singers released critically acclaimed albums that became hugely successful globally. As R&B ballads grew in popularity, the Urban adult contemporary radio format became prominent playing a diverse mix of R&B hits.

A number of songs in the Adult contemporary format became hugely successful on radio charts. With American cable channel MTV airing music videos and segments of emerging pop acts, a significant number of female acts were able to reach out with their music to a wider audience. A number of Latin pop artists with their style of electrifying dance rhythms and catchy beats took the pop world by storm in the ‘90s. Soul-inspired vocal harmonies and gospel vocal traditions found their way in songs of mainstream pop artists. A number of female artists displayed the characteristic emphasis on melisma through their R&B flavored tunes.

#21—40

21. Sinead O’ Connor

22. Roberta Flack

23. Shania Twain

24. Debbie Gibson

25. Patti LaBelle

26. Belinda Carlisle

27. Bjork

28. Kate Bush

29. Jennifer Rush

30. Annie Lennox

31. Kim Wilde

32. Amy Grant

33. Brandy

34. Natalie Cole

35. Trisha Yearwood

36. Dionne Warwick

37. Rita Coolidge

38. Olivia Newton-John

39. Bette Midler

40. Sarah McLachlan

Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey

Electronic Pop Music in the ‘90s

As computers and technology made a big impact in the ‘90s, a number of musicians started embracing digitized sounds in their songs. With use of computers, music production techniques changed considerably bringing a new flavor in music. Certain female musicians who started experimenting with slow-paced music, such as ambient, downtempo and chill-out made a statement with their hypnotic electronic dance songs.

Electronic dance music became excessively popular in mainstream in the latter part of the decade. A number of house acts emerged from Chicago, while the major techno movement spread from Detroit. Experimental electronic artists from Europe, especially from Germany, Britain, France, Belgium, and Italy exploded onto the pop scene with their energized synth elements and electronic sampling. The HI-NRG and Eurodance movement that emerged from these countries became a global phenomenon in the ‘90s.

#41—60

41. Paula Abdul

42. k.d. Lang

43. Debbie Harry

44. Selena

45. Kim Carnes

46. Alison Moyet

47. Taylor Dayne

48. Jennifer Holiday

49. Des’ree

50. Faith Hill

51. Tiffany

52. Vanessa Williams

53. Gloria Gaynor

54. Shawn Colvin

55. Faith Evans

56. Carole King

57. Stephanie Mills

58. Lulu

59. Anita Baker

60. Chante Moore

#61—80

61. Shanice

62. Irene Cara

63. Sophie B. Hawkins

64. Gladys Knight

65. Diana King

66. Tanita Tikaram

67. Fiona Apple

68. Cathy Dennis

69. Gabrielle

70. CeCe Peniston

71. Tina Arena

72. Joan Armatrading

73. Sandra

74. Jody Watley

75. Beverly Craven

76. La Toya Jackson

77. Samantha Fox

78. Deborah Cox

79. Pebbles

80. Martika

#81—100

81. Julee Cruise

82. Karyn White

83. Crystal Waters

84. Lauryn Hill

85. Shannon

86. Tasmin Archer

87. Caron Wheeler

88. Neneh Cherry

89. Teena Marie

90. Vanity

91. Rebbie Jackson

92. Siobhan Fahey

93. Angela Winbush

94. Lara Fabian

95. Paula Cole

96. Evelyn “Champagne” King

97. Tracie Spencer

98. Amanda Marshall

99. Karen Woodward

100. Thelma Houston

Other Notable Female Pop Singers of the ‘80s and ‘90s

  • Mica Paris
  • Cynthia Johnson
  • E.G. Daily
  • Jennifer Paige
  • Maxine Jones
  • Tara Kemp
  • Cherelle
  • Juice Newton
  • Alisha
  • Cheryl Lynn
  • Dina Carroll
  • Regina Belle
  • Ultra Nate
  • Marie Osmond
  • Rebecca St. James
  • Lil Suzy
  • Donna Lewis
  • Miki Howard
  • Linda Clifford
  • Adina Howard
  • Sonia
  • Barbara Weathers
  • Nicole Wray
  • Betty Boo
  • Merril Bainbridge
  • Lisa Lisa
  • Martha Wash
  • Barbara Mandrell
  • Stacey Q
  • Melanie Thornton
  • Joya
  • Keedy
  • Melissa Manchester
  • Lisette Melendez
  • Mona Lisa
  • Deniece Williams
  • Wendy Moten
  • Brenda K. Starr
  • Gina Thompson
  • Yazz
  • Rockell
  • Ana Rodriguez
  • Marilyn Martin
  • Chantay Savage
  • Ruth-Ann Boyle
  • Jane Child
  • Regina
  • Mari Wilson
  • Rachel Sweet
  • Jeanie Tracy
  • Michelle Gayle
  • Debelah Morgan
  • Princess
  • Ammi Stewart
  • Tina Moore
  • Shana
  • Danni Minogue
  • Rozalla
  • Gina G
  • Nancy Martinez
  • Meli’sa Morgan
  • Sybil
Celine Dion

Celine Dion

© 2022 Ansel Pereira