From Beyoncé to Badu: The 20 greatest female recording artists since 1993


For much of the second half of the 20th century, the artists that most dominated popular music tended to be men. From Frank Sinatra to Elvis Presley to The Beatles to Michael Jackson, more often than not, the title of “biggest pop star in the world” tended to be handed to male superstars.

That all began to change in the 1980s. With the emergence of Madonna, Whitney Houston and Janet Jackson, more female artists began to stand elbow-to-elbow with men, not only in terms of chart success–but also in terms of their influence and dominance of pop culture. From the mid-1980s through today, women have been at the forefront with dominating record sales, sellout tours and blockbuster endorsement deals.

In the last 20 years, in particular, it has been unquestionably the women at the vanguard of popular music — in a myriad of genres.

In celebration of the queens that have been at the forefront of that shift and in recognition of the great music that they created while knocking down doors, we’ve decided to list the Twenty Greatest Female Recording Artists Since 1993.

Stereo Williams
Stereo Williams

Todd "Stereo" Williams, entertainment writer based in New York City. He co-founded Thirty 2 Oh 1 Productions, an indie film company.

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