7 of the Most Popular and Influential 21st Century Female Musicians

Female singers and musicians have helped shape the music industry for decades. They’ve also been known to stir up scandals and controversies on and off stage.

Are you curious about the most influential female musicians of the 21st century? Read on for our top seven picks!

Seven of the 21st Century’s Most Influential Female Musicians

From pop to R&B to country, women have been rocking the stage in their own right. Here are our top seven choices for the 21st Century’s most influential female artists.

1. Beyoncé

From music to cultural influence, no one can beat Beyoncé. A musical powerhouse, she’s been creating record hits since her 90’s band Destiny’s Child. She then went on to dominate as her single-name solo artist act.

Award winner, entrepreneur, stateswoman of R&B – Beyoncé does it all!

2. Taylor Swift

Swift created a name for herself as a teenage pop-country star but has proven herself to be so much more. She is a bona fide chart-topper and songwriter who has pushed the direction of pop music in myriad ways. Swift doesn’t shy away from controversy and has become an outspoken advocate for fair artist compensation in the digital age.

3. Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga’s career has had storied highs as well as huge controversies. Do you remember the Lady Gaga Satanist scandal? You may also have heard of her wild meat dress.

However, with 27 million record sales to her name, Gaga is one of the top-selling female artists ever. She has also branched out into acting and garnered an Academy Award nomination. She is definitely an artist to watch!

4. Janelle Monae

Once the mentee of Prince, Monae has taken his mantle and run with it. Gender-bending and sexually non-conforming, Monae’s Afro-futurist aesthetic sets her apart. As she states about herself, she’s “young, Black, wild and free” and no one can stop her.

In addition to her amazing musical output, Monae has become a cultural influencer. She defines what’s cool in a hip, feminist, avant-garde way.

5. Madonna

Few pop stars are able to claim the longevity that Madonna has. From her Material Girl days in the 80s, Madonna continues to sing, record and tour. Madonna has been a cultural icon and role model for generations of artists, both male, and female!

Madonna holds the distinction of being the fourth-top selling artist behind Elvis, the Beatles, and Michael Jackson – and she’s still going!

6. Aretha Franklin

No list of female musicians would be complete without mentioning the Queen of Soul. Her origin as a church gospel singer would influence her long and illustrious career, setting the stage for generations of R&B singers to come after her. During a music career that spanned more than 60 years, Franklin became the definition of the word “diva.”

7. Sinead O’Connor

Perhaps one of the most controversy-laden stars of the past century, Sinead O’Connor sets the gold standard. Praised and vilified for her religious and political stances, O’Connor could be said to have created her own path – or stood in its way.

Sinead’s iconic bald head and memorable Saturday Night Live appearance make her one of the most recognizable stars of the 21st century. She was even named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Women of the Year for 1992.

Learn More!

Sadly, female artists rarely get the same recognition as their male counterparts. Women make up less than 8% of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees. This must change!

Don’t stop here – there are plenty of female musicians to learn about! Find out your new favorite artist today.

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Tariq Gardezi

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Tariq Gardezi has 49 posts and counting. See all posts by Tariq Gardezi


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