Unlike specific genres of music like classical, jazz, or rock and roll, popular music refers to any genre of music that appeals to a large enough audience.
And because of that diverse musical space, studying pop singers is a great way to learn about people from all different backgrounds and with various skills.
So if you’re wondering who they are, keep reading to learn about 15 of the greatest and most famous female pop singers in music history!
Due to her current popularity, English singer and songwriter Adele does not need much of an introduction. Born in London in 1988, she has sold over 150 million records worldwide despite her young age and short career.
She attended the Brit School for Performing Arts and Technology and began quickly putting out songs after graduating. She eventually signed a deal with XL Recordings for her debut album titled 19 and later won a Grammy for Best New Artist.
Adele has since released three more albums—all chart-toppers—and has collected even more awards for her artistry, including 12 Brit Awards and 15 Grammys. In terms of live performances, her 2016 tour broke global records for attendance.
2. Taylor Swift
With over 100 charting songs, singer-songwriter Taylor Swift should not need much of an introduction. Since her start in 2004, she has sold over 200 million records—and she’s only just 33!
Swift’s output is significantly influenced by country music but includes a range of other genres that appeal to fans. In fact, 9 of her ten released studio albums topped charts, not just in the US but in other countries.
Though some say “You Belong to Me” was her best work, the dance-pop single “Shake It Off” has actually won Swift 8 awards, including Best Music Video and Song of the Year in 2015.
Among her accolades, Swift’s been named the greatest pop star in 2015 and 2021 and the most influential person on Twitter from 2018 to 2019 and 2021. She has also broken a jaw-dropping 84 Guinness World Records!
The American icon Beyoncé—an incredibly successful singer, songwriter, and actress—has the full name of Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter. She first became famous as the lead singer of Destiny’s Child in the 1990s.
From 1996 to 2006, Destiny’s Child was one of the leading female groups, releasing several hit songs like “Say My Name.” Shortly after they disbanded, Beyoncé embarked on her solo career, reaching even greater fame.
Beyoncé has had many hits in terms of solo studio albums, with all seven topping the charts, including Dangerously in Love and I Am… Sasha Fierce. Over her career thus far, she has won 28 Grammy awards.
4. Lady Gaga
We all know Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta—she’s Lady Gaga, and fans go absolutely gaga for the songs she’s released since her start in 2005.
Before her success as a singer, Lady Gaga was already an established songwriter, having written for other pop artists like Britney Spears and Fergie. After “Poker Face” and “Just Dance” from her debut album shot to #1 on the charts, there was no going back for her.
She has since released four #1 studio albums, and several hit singles, including the 2018 “Shallow,” which she sang together with Bradley Cooper in the romantic drama movie A Star Is Born.
5. Katy Perry
If you have “I Kissed a Girl,” “Firework,” and “Roar” in your playlist, then chances are you’re a Katy Perry fan. These are just a few of her #1 songs that we’ve danced to.
Perry had a slow start back in 2000; her debut album was not very successful. It was not until eight years later that she had her breakthrough. One of the Boys was just a top-ten hit, but it had enough commercial success to push the singer to one of her greatest album, Teenage Dream, in 2010.
This third album had five chart-topping singles, including the title track, “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.),” and the aforementioned “Firework.” Her work has been so influential that she has been called the Queen of Pop.
6. Ariana Grande
“Thank You, Next” singer Ariana Grande is iconic for her four-octave voice and, like Mariah Carey, the ability to sing in the whistle register. Skillful in singing, dancing, and acting, she’s also what’s called a triple threat.
Grande’s career didn’t immediately start as a songstress. She was first an actress, seen in Nickelodeon’s TV series Victorious, and voiced characters in animated films.
Then in 2013, she released her debut album, Yours Truly. It peaked at #1 in the US charts, and since then, she has been topping charts in the US and abroad, breaking Guinness World Records (over 30!), and winning awards (800 so far, and still going strong!).
7. Kelly Clarkson
Texas-native singer Kelly Clarkson wowed the world in 2002 after winning the very first season of the TV talent show American Idol with “A Moment Like This.”
Though her debut album after her Idol win was successful (hitting the top of the US charts), her second album, Breakaway, became her most commercially successful to date, winning Clarkson a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album. The title track also became the singer’s signature song.
Clarkson is the first music artist to top all of Billboard‘s charts—pop, adult pop, country, adult contemporary, and dance—during her career. Currently, she has had over 100 singles chart at #1 on Billboard.
8. Selena Gomez
Like Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez first began as an actress. She starred in the Disney TV series Wizards of Waverly Place and also had roles in several films, like Another Cinderella Story and Monte Carlo.
In 2008, she formed Selena Gomez & the Scene and released three top-10 albums between 2009 and 2011. After the last album, the group soon disbanded.
Gomez then went solo, which would be pivotal to her career. Her debut album, Stars Dance, was a great hit. It peaked at #1 on the US and Canada charts. She followed this with two more albums, both of which topped the charts.
One of her latest singles, “Lose You to Love Me,” is a multi-Platinum international hit. It won Gomez two ASCAP Pop Music Awards and a BMI Pop award.
9. Camila Cabello
The musical career of Cuban-born American singer Camila Cabello began with the girl group Fifth Harmony, or 5H. After the release of their second album, Cabello left the group in 2016 to pursue a solo career.
Two years later, the release of her debut album, Camila, shot Cabello to fame, with the lead single “Havana” helping to push it to #1 on the charts. The song itself topped the charts in the US and in 23 other countries.
Another song she’s notable for is 2019’s “Señorita,” in collaboration with Shawn Mendes. It surpassed “Havana” and became #1 in 40 countries, not including the US. For this, Cabello received two MTV Video Music Awards, a People’s Choice Award, and an American Music Award.
10. Miley Cyrus
Daughter of country music icon Billy Ray Cyrus, Miley Cyrus has followed in her father’s footsteps and gone out to make a name for herself. She started as a young Disney star in the TV series Hannah Montana. Her soundtrack for the series has reached #1 on US Billboard 200.
After Hannah Montana, the singer-actress switched to more mature sounds and released Can’t Be Tamed, though it was not as successful as her soundtrack albums. This changed with Bangerz in 2013, which contained her greatest single, “Wrecking Ball.”
From sweet teen idol, Cyrus’s name has been attached to a number of controversies. She’s known for her racy, sometimes risqué, performances; however, she’s considered one of the most influential artists of her time, with 49 Teen Choice Awards nominations.
11. Billie Eilish
Next up, we have the youngest singer on our list. Billie Eilish was born in 2001 to musician parents. During her teens, she often collaborated with her singer-songwriter brother, Finneas O’Connell, which helped her become one of the greatest pop artists there since her start in 2015.
Eilish has released two studio albums, and both have topped charts in the US as well as in other countries. Her debut album contains one of her greatest works, “Bad Guy.”
The dance-pop single has won 10 awards, including 2 Grammy Awards: Song and Record of the Year. With this success, Eilish became the first music artist born in the 21st century to release a single that topped the charts.
If you’ve sung to “Just Give Me a Reason” and “So What,” you most likely know the singer behind these hit songs. Pink has been giving us eargasms since the year 2000 with nine charting albums.
The powerhouse singer’s greatest success came in the form of Missundaztood, her second album. It ranked #2 in the UK and #6 in the US but has sold 12 million units worldwide.
Pink’s many accolades include 3 Grammy Awards, 5 World Music Awards, 7 Billboard Music Awards, and 7 MTV Video Music Awards. She also received her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2019.
13. Britney Spears
“… Baby One More Time” singer, Britney Spears, has often been referred to as the Princess of Pop. With a career spanning three decades and six #1 albums, she could very well be.
The aforementioned single shot the songbird to fame in 1998, and she has continued releasing songs for the past three years. She did it again with other singles that have been smash hits—”Womanizer” and “3,” the former winning the 2009 MTV Music Video Awards for Best Pop Video.
Despite personal issues marring her career, Spears is credited for being one of the defining voices who helped usher in a new era for pop.
14. Amy Winehouse
British singer and songwriter Amy Winehouse is another great artist deserving to be on this list. She was well known for having a deep tone in her expressive voice and uniquely blended various music genres.
Her debut album was a commercial success and was certified three times Platinum; however, her second release, Back to Black, surpassed it to become certified 14-times Platinum by the British Phonography Industry. Two of Winehouse’s best singles featured in it, “Rehab” and “Back to Black.”
Sadly, the talented singer passed away too young, at the age of 27, in 2011. Her untimely death was due to alcohol poisoning. However, in her short career, Winehouse won 5 Grammys and cemented herself firmly in the annals of influential musicians.
Born in Michigan in 1958, Madonna has earned the role of a pop culture icon for everything ranging from her music to her clothing style, gaining the title Queen of Pop early in her career (though Katy Perry is now called this).
From her first #1 hit, “Like a Virgin,” she dominated the dance-pop charts from the mid-1980s through the 1990s, all the way to the 2020s. The single “I Don’t Search, I Find” is her latest chart-topper.
With a career spanning over five decades, Madonna has more than a handful of accolades—Grammys, Billboard Music Awards, MTV Music Awards, and even Golden Globe Awards. In 2008, she was added to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Summing Up Our List Of Women Pop Singers
In a musical culture that has long appreciated the contribution of men, it is great to learn about the impactful contributions of women in the space of popular music.
Hopefully, we have helped you learn a lot more about these famous names in music or maybe even learned about new artists. Either way, let’s appreciate these great female artists for their unique contributions to pop music over the years!