Top 10 White Female R&B Singers (That Sound Black)

Here Are My Favorite White Female R&B Singers!

The presence of white female R&B singers in music is nothing new.  While we may have initially felt that some of these singers sounded black on the radio, these talented artists have found a way to defy our expectations and carve out their own space in music.  Here are the best of the best.

Best White Female R&B Singers Ever

Let’s begin with Teena Marie.

Teena Marie

Teena Marie is one of the many talented white female singers that sound black.

It’s impossible to have a list of the best white female R&B singers and NOT include Teena Marie.  At first, Teena was probably one of the biggest cases of mistaken identity.  In fact, if you looked up white singers that sound black in the Dictionary, you’d probably see a smiling photo of Ms. Teena Marie.

But once the shock of Marie’s skin color wore off, you quickly realized this was an amazingly talented singer.  She could jam with the best of them, like on infectious songs such as “Square Biz,” and her connection to Rick James fast tracked the love affair she had with black music fans.

No matter how you slice it, my friends, Teena Marie was one of the best singers to hit the R&B scene.  And according to Teena herself, she once said: “I’m a black artist with white skin.”

Lisa Stansfield

Is Lisa Stansfield one of the best white female R&B singers?

If Teena Marie was the grandmother of “I thought you were a black singer!”, then Lisa Stansfield is definitely the grandchild.  Lisa had an amazingly soulful voice that just hit different back in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  

In fact, you couldn’t turn on the radio back in the day and NOT hear “All Around the World,” and I have no doubt that everyday people across the nation lost money betting on the incorrect assumption that Stansfield was a black woman.

But Stansfield was no flash in the pain or one hit wonder.  After her debut album “Affection” made our lives happier, she came back two years later and dropped “Real Love,” which has one of my favorite Stansfield’s tracks: “It’s Got to Be Real.”

Sheena Easton

In my opinion, Sheena Easton is going to be one of the more interesting singers on this list.  This is a talented woman that came into the music game heavy in the pop realm.  Easton found a ton of success in that space, too.

But, I really like Sheena’s transition to R&B music come the late 80s and early 90s.  It pretty much begins with her album “The Lover in Me,” which offers up tasty R&B and funk inspired jams.  By the time the album “The Lover in Me” drops a couple years later in 1991, Easton is offering up some New Jack Swing.  It was infectious and kept every R&B fan’s head nodding so much that you had to buy a neck massager from Bookstore at your local mall to ease the pain.


This photo was taken by Michael for Devoted to Vinyl

Okay, I’ve hit you with a bunch of wonderful throwback artists that you need to track down on vinyl (or CD) immediately.  But maybe you’re more new school.  If so, you’re probably wondering who are some newer school white singers that make good R&B or soul music. 

Well, let’s begin with the biggest name in music: Adele.  Now Adele certainly fits the bill for pop music, but she’s also soulful singer who clearly takes her inspiration from R&B music. 

When I listen to Adele, I hear Regina Belle, Anita Baker, and a ton of other talented black female R&B singers that carried the genre forward for so many years.  What makes Adele notable, I think, is that as the listener, you feel she bares her soul a bit more than the average artist.  

While great singers move you emotionally, Adele always provides a beautifully imperfect vocal performance that comes across as raw, aching, and honest.  And that’s exactly what we want out of great R&B and soul music.  


Now if you’re interested in some soulful, alternative R&B, you better begin shifting your attention to the talents of Niia.  As of today, Niia has only dropped three albums (I, II, and If I Should Die), but trust me—all three will leave you with a very positive first impression. 

In fact, my favorite Niia song is probably “Hurt You First” off of her debut album.  This is a song R&B fans will love, as Niia sings about the irony of having a great, reliable boyfriend.  On this track, Niia sings about being a toxic, damaged person—someone who kill the relationship first because she’s afraid of vulnerability and commitment. 

The lyrics bring a unique spin to the typical relationship song you always hear in R&B music.  It’s definitely worth a listen.

Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse was such an R&B and Soul music throwback, she rocked a 1960s beehive hairstyle and one of her most popular songs (“Me and Mr. Jones) was inspired by a classic Gamble and Huff track (“Me and Mrs Jones” by Billy Paul) from 1972.

Amy passed away far too soon, but the music she left us with is not only great on its own, but pays homage to so many R&B and soul music acts that preceded it.  If you’ve never listened to Amy Winehouse before, I highly recommend you rectify that oversight today.


Kimbra came to prominence in 2011 with the release of her debut studio album entitled Vows.  The album featured R&B and pop elements, but what made it stand out to me was its bass heavy influence.  The bass lines strike you to the core on this album, and it’s Kimbra’s unique, soulful voice that makes her stand out in a crowded field of talented artists.

Kimbra perhaps doesn’t drop new albums as often as we might like, but when she does, she and her team provide interesting arrangements that’ll make your ear perk up and take notice.

Jessie Ware

Oddly enough, Jessie Ware dropped her first album around a similar time as Kimbra.  Releasing her album “Devotion” in 2012, Ware burst onto the scene with a sparkling debut.  There’s a beautiful longing you hear in her music, like in tracks such as “Wildest Moments” or “First Time” off the album “Glasshouse.”

We all know Adele will absolutely crush a ballad, but don’t sleep on Jessie Ware’s ability to make you feel highly emotional whenever that slow jam comes on.

Dusty Springfield

If there was a singular image that the world agreed upon when it came to the term “Blue-Eyed Soul,” it would probably be a photo of Dusty Springfield.

Dusty had a wonderful laid back, soul voice.  It had a soft, breathy quality to it that was quite endearing to listen to and evoked a sense of longing and desire.  Springfield made music for decades—from the late 1960s to the mid 1990s—but she’s no doubt most known   worldwide for her hit track “Son of a Preacher Man.”  

Joss Stone

If Dusty Springfield was the classic case of what a blue-eyed soul singer looked like, then I’d argue Joss Stone is the modern day example.

Joss Stone has an entirely different vocal tone and performance compared to Dusty, but comes across just as soulful.  While Stone can have a soft, airy quality to her voice (like in the song “Sleep Like a Child”), she also has the ability to have quite a bit more edge to her voice (like on tracks such as “Parallel Lines” or “You Got the Love”).

In my opinion, if you’re seeking one of the best white female R&B singers of the 2000s, Joss Stone is at the top of that list.

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