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Top 10 Iconic Female Singers of the ‘90s

VO: E.B.
Script written by Hannah Godden. Time to turn up the volume and bring out your old baggy jeans! In this video, MsMojo counts down our picks for the Top 10 Female Singers of the ‘90s. For this list, we’re looking at female solo artists who were household names during the decade of the 1990s. So what’re you waiting for? Grab that cassette player and press play! Special thanks to Abel Lewis and Andrew Seif for submitting this idea on our interactive suggestion tool at

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Script written by Hannah Godden.

Top 10 Female Singers of the ‘90s

Time to turn up the volume and bring out your old baggy jeans! Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for Top 10 Female Singers of the ‘90s.

For this list, we’re looking at female solo artists who were household names during the decade of the 1990s. So what’re you waiting for? Grab that cassette player and press play!

#10: Sheryl Crow

A unique blend of pop, rock, country and blues was combined to give Sheryl Crow her first smash hit “All I Wanna Do” in 1994. Its subtle pop beat was transformed with her rockier second album, which included the catchy radio hit “If It Makes You Happy”. Then, her top 5-reaching Billboard 200 album was re-released with what would become an iconic cover of Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child o’ Mine.” This version even netted her a Grammy for “Best Female Rock Vocal Performance”, and continued to achieve further, worldwide success throughout the noughties.

#9: Mary J. Blige

Despite angering her mother by dropping out of high school in 1987, we can safely say all is forgiven – several years later, Mary J. Blige released her first album, and changed the direction of R&B forever. From background singer to multi-platinum star, Mary J. Blige was rocketed to fame in 1994 with her second album “My Life”. Her powerful yet sensitive vocals explored everything from depression to relationships, and took the world by storm. Later in the decade, Blige came out with other pulsing R&B tracks like “Love Is All We Need” and “Everything”.

#8: Toni Braxton

Feeling blue after a break-up? Our ‘90s top ten wouldn’t be complete without Toni Braxton’s decade-defining tunes, most notably her signature song, “Un-Break My Heart”. Braxton has been showered with many titles, including “Queen of R&B”, and it’s easy to see why. Alongside her heart-wrenching classic, she has given us many steamy, funky tunes like “You’re Makin Me High” and “Seven Whole Days”. Her voice, and songs such as these, helped her become one of the decade’s best-selling female artists.

#7: Alanis Morissette

From her early beginnings as a dance-pop teen star, Alanis Morissette made a stunning transformation and captured worldwide attention with edgy, alternative rock album, Jagged Little Pill, in 1995. Her iconic single, “Ironic”, hit the nail on the head for millions of people around the world, neatly summing up life in an almost four-minute, pop rock package. Meanwhile, her powerful sound, clever lyrics and general loveliness made her one of the nineties’ most popular alternative rock artists. She was even invited to sing with the legendary Ringo Starr before the decade was up. Rock on!

#6: Shania Twain

Our list wouldn’t be complete without Shania Twain’s twanging country-pop vocals. She is the best-selling female country music artist of all time, and boy does she deserve it! After a slow but positive start, it was her third album, Come on Over, released in 1997, which shot her to global fame. Her music saturated the decade – so much so that it became impossible to turn on the radio and not hear “Man! I Feel Like a Woman”, or go to a school disco and not dance to “That Don’t Impress Me Much”. With catchy tracks like that, we’ll forgive her for the leopard suit…

#5: Janet Jackson

The youngest of the Jackson clan, Janet Jackson’s incredible career has spanned over four decades, during which time she’s earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Despite her initial desire to become a horseracing jockey, Janet released her debut album way back in 1982 with the help of her father. Fast-forwarding ten years later, she had become a household name in R&B, and was on her way to becoming known as an actress and as a sex symbol. In 1993, her fifth studio album, Janet, went multi-platinum, and included the sultry, chart-topping singles, “That’s The Way Love Goes”, “You Want This” and “Again”.

#4: Madonna

Well, what more can we say about the Queen of Pop that hasn’t already been said? Her ever-changing style, controversial music and incredible stage presence have whipped her up into one of the decade’s, and indeed one of the century’s, most iconic stars. From the theatrical beat of “Vogue” in 1990 to the mysterious melancholy of “Frozen” in 1998, Madonna really made the nineties her own. She has never been afraid to experiment, and has cemented her place in pop culture with ventures outside of music, including acting. But it’s her status as one of the best-selling female recording artists ever that cannot be denied.

#3: Celine Dion

No nineties list would be complete without Celine Dion and her classic, tear-jerking song, “My Heart Will Go On”. After recording music in French in the eighties, Celine’s career really began to take off after she switched to English during the nineties, and especially with her Peabo Bryson collaboration “Beauty and the Beast” for the Disney movie. And from there, the rest is history! Her beautiful ballads and stunning vocals have earned her so much popularity that she is another of the top-selling female artists of all time.

#2: Whitney Houston

You didn’t think we’d forget her, did you? Get out your tissues! By the late eighties, young Whitney Houston had already broken the world record for consecutive number ones, and she was ready to lead the way into a new decade. The nineties saw Whitney enjoy a huge international breakthrough as both a singer and actress with The Bodyguard movie and “I Will Always Love You” from its soundtrack. With many other hits, from her rendition of “Star Spangled Banner” to the beautiful “When You Believe”, she was a truly talented and much-loved artist.

Before we unveil our top picks, here are a few honorable mentions:

• Lauryn Hill

• Brandy

• Monica

• Melissa Etheridge

• Gloria Estefan

• Aaliyah

#1: Mariah Carey

Here she is… Everybody’s favorite diva! And with those spectacular vocal cords, how could we not pick her? She has the looks, the voice and the songs - and with all those, she took the nineties by the reins and cracked her whip! After starting with sneaking the radio into her bed to sing along to at the age of four, she has blossomed into one of the world’s most successful artists. Whether you’re in the mood for a thoughtful ballad or some perky pop, Mariah Carey’s got her finger on the play button. For a woman who suffers from stage fright, we can only applaud you and your success. Congratulations, Mariah!

Do you agree with our list? Who is your favourite female singer of the 1990s? For more fabulous top 10s published each day, be sure to subscribe to MsMojo.

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