The first years of the 21st century saw some dark times, and the tragedy of the terrorist attacks of 2001 blots out much of the color from that period when you flip through a history book. But, the 2000s were also marked by an explosion of talented female singers who defined the era and whose voices became synonymous with those years.
The collision of vocal talent, ground-breaking performances, and strong female personalities was a powder keg for success. Amid the dying days of the MTV era of music videos, these ladies exploded onto the airwaves on the strengths of their diverse talents. They made it clear that girl power had staying power, and they redefined the role of women as musical performers.
To celebrate these women, in this post, we’re going to take a look at the lives and careers of 15 of the greatest and most famous female singers of the 2000s.
Related: For more, read our list of other famous female vocalists here.
1. Beyonce Knowles
Beyonce Knowles, or Queen Bey, as she is known, is one of the most famous singers and performers in the world.
She’s collaborated with some of the most prominent acts in soul, rock, rap, hip-hop, and pop music.
In her early career, she was a member of the trio Destiny’s Child as the featured lead singer.
When she separated from that group, her 2003 debut album Dangerously in Love catapulted her to new levels of success and stardom.
She is the only performer to debut in the number one position on the charts with their first six studio albums.
Famous Colombian singer Shakira was born in Barranquilla, Colombia. Her music has enjoyed worldwide success, with millions of records sold globally.
A blend of pop and Latin music rhythms and melodies, her sound is distinctive, and she penned most of her lyrics herself.
Take all that and add in hip-shaking performances, and you have one of the biggest stars of the 2000s and arguably the most influential female singer from Latin America in history.
3. Britney Spears
Probably the most recognized female singer of the 2000s is Britney Spears who had a number of major hits right at the turn of the millennium.
Her breakout song “Hit Me Baby One More Time” and the follow-up “Oops I Did It Again” are synonymous with the early noughties.
Britney’s fame was so electric that she’s still constantly in the news today, even though she hasn’t released any new singles for a number of years.
Her career began where she grew up in McComb, Mississippi. She auditioned for a revival of the Mickey Mouse Club, and despite her rejection for that role, she caught the eye of talent scouts and, as the saying goes, the rest is history.
She’s also the sister to Jamie Lynn Spears, a less famous singer, though a talent in her own right.
P!nk was born Alecia Moore in the fairly small Eastern Pennsylvania town of Doylestown.
Her striking spiked haircut and tough, punk attitude isn’t part of an act. P!nk’s appearance, like her music, is fiercely independent and a bit brash and in your face.
Some critics say her success came despite her edginess, but her mainstream success with albums like Can’t Take Me Home is, in fact, largely because of her genuine connection with fans. Her hard edge is genuine, and that resonates with her audience.
Her willingness to challenge some of the expectations for a female singer has helped inspire a whole new generation of female singers and songwriters.
5. Christina Aguilera
Another popular artist throughout the first decade of the 21st century, Christina Aguilera first hit the charts in 1999 with her self-titled debut album.
She delivered hit after hit, building on the success of her single “Genie in a Bottle” with follow-ups like “Come on Over Baby” and “What a Girl Wants.”
Her soulful voice and evocative lyrics were a platform for forays into social issues, and she has enjoyed a lasting career that continues to deliver hit songs that resonate with her fans.
6. Avril Lavigne
Famous female singer from Canada, Avril Lavigne isn’t known for flashy videos or gyrating dance moves like some other female singers who enjoyed prominence in the 2000s.
Instead, it was her hard-edged blend of pop music and punk lyrics that earned her fame and fortune.
Released in 2002, her first studio album, Let Go, featured two tracks that would become teen anthems of the decade.
“Complicated” and “Sk8r Boi” blew up on the airwaves worldwide, driving the album to success that makes it one of the best-selling records of the 21st century by a Canadian artist.
Dido was born in Kensington, England, on Christmas Day in 1971. She has given the gift of her voice on albums like No Angel and Life for Rent.
Her hit song “Thank You” helped propel the No Angel album to the top of the charts, selling more than 20 million records and earning Dido commercial success.
Dido was already world-famous, but when Eminem sampled “Thank You” in his explosive hit, “Stan,” Dido became a household name, and her lyrics were sung by a whole new legion of fans.
Fergie is perhaps best known as a singer in the band Black Eyed Peas. But, she has also enjoyed plenty of solo success in a career that spans many years.
When her first album, The Dutchess, hit the charts in 2006, her powerful voice and fun-loving spirit were apparent.
The mega-hits “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Fergalicious” were chart-toppers, and their success naturally fed into even bigger hits with the Black Eyed Peas.
Her second studio album, Double Dutchess, wasn’t released until 2017, ten years after her first.
9. Jennifer Lopez
Next, we have Jennifer Lopez who is known for her dancing, acting, and singing talents.
She’s one of the most famous celebrities in the world, but she came from humble roots, growing up in New York City, where she is still ‘Jenny from the Block.’
J-Lo, as Lopez is often called, has such reach that she even earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in recognition of her musical accomplishments.
She had a number of number-one hits in the 2000s including “I’m Real,” “Ain’t It Funny” and “All I Have.”
As well as singing she’s also had quite a career in Hollywood starring in The Wedding Planner, Shall We Dance? and 31 other films.
10. Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus starred in the hit Disney TV show Hannah Montana. The show’s successful run included number-one hits for Cyrus, singing as the lead character of the same name.
She built on that success with a string of successful albums, with songs like “Can’t Be Tamed,” “Party in the U.S.A.,” “The Climb,” and “See You Again.”
Her father, Billy Ray, is also famous for his breakout one-hit-wonder “Achy Breaky Heart.” The song and its music video were so popular that they inspired a resurgence of line dancing.
So, it’s fair to say that musical success runs in the Cyrus family.
11. Amy Winehouse
The story of Amy Winehouse is one of a meteoric ascent to stardom and a tragic ending.
Her music was a blend of pop, jazz, and blues, with poignant lyrics that were oftentimes ironic and deeply personal.
Her final studio album, Back to Black, featured the smash-hit “Rehab,” a missive about resisting the calls of her friends to clean up her act and quit using drugs.
Unfortunately, her demons won out, and she died of a drug overdose at the tender age of 27. However, her spirit lives on in her music.
12. Hayley Williams
Next up is singer Hayley Williams who is the lead vocalist for the pop rock group Paramore. She’s usually hard to miss, and not just for her typically bright red hairdo.
Their album Riot!, released in 2007, exploded onto the pop music scene when she was only nineteen. The top hits from that album, “Misery Business” and “That’s What You Get,” saw the band rise in influence and fame, and brought stardom to Williams.
Growing up in Meridian, Mississippi, her voice was a largely undiscovered talent. But, after moving to Tennessee and meeting her bandmates Zac and Josh Farro, and Jeremy Davis.
Together, they would release their first album before Williams was old enough to drive.
13. Amy Lee
Amy Lee might not enjoy the same level of name recognition as some of the top female singers in the world. But once you hear her voice, you’ll recognize the lead singer of the symphonic metal band Evanescence.
Their 2004 album, Fallen, was a breakthrough smash hit, though it wasn’t the band’s first record. It spent almost a year in the top ten of the record charts on the success of songs like Bring Me to Life and My Immortal.
Lee is also a talented pianist, and she has a successful career as a solo artist and songwriter outside of her work with the band.
She’s also a proud Christian and is married to Shaun Morgan of the alternative band, Seether.
14. Hilary Duff
Hilary Duff released her first studio album in 2002 when she was only 15. But long before that, she had gained fame as the star of Disney’s show, Lizzie McGuire.
Even though she was already a star, her first release didn’t rocket up the charts, perhaps limited in appeal due to its Christmas theme.
But, when her follow-up album Metamorphasis hit the airwaves, it rose to prominence on the back of the hit single “Come Clean.”
She continues to work, but not only as a singer. She has enjoyed success as an actress on both the big and little screens and as an author.
15. Ashlee Simpson
Ashlee Simpson might not be as famous as her sister, Jessica. But, she’s extraordinarily well-known as a singer, and it might be fair to say it’s because of her superior vocal talent.
Her voice stands on its own and shines on tracks like “Pieces of Me,” her most prominent hit.
Her debut album Autobiography was her coming-out party, but the show goes on with releases in 2005 and 2008.
Now, she enjoys success as a singer and reality television star alongside her husband, Evan Ross.
Summing Up Our List of Great Female Singers of the 2000s
The first decade of the new millennium saw some ladies with serious singing talent enjoy major success.
Even though there are female performers who came before them, many of these women were mold-breakers, redefining the role of women in music.
Their success has seen them delve into social issues, activism, and more as they continue to redefine femininity in today’s world.