by Blair Thomas
Halsey was born Ashley Frangipane on September 29, 1994, in Clark, New Jersey. Her stage name is a rearrangement of her first name, Ashley. She is known in the music industry as a biracial, bisexual, alternative singer who is not afraid to be bold. Her career began during her college days, when she was so broke that music was what kept food on the table. She posted one of her first songs, “Ghost”, to SoundCloud, where it gained a lot of popularity in 2014. She went on to release her first album, Badlands in 2015, and promoted it by doing interviews on late night talk shows. Following the success of that, she released 3 more albums – hopeless fountain kingdom, Manic, and If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power – that have all been on the Billboard Top 100 Charts. She has earned awards from MTV, Billboard, and People Choice Awards and her success only continues to grow.
2. Alanis Morrissette
Alanis Morrissette was born June 1, 1974, in Ottawa, Canada. In the music world, she is known for her alternative-rock arrangements and her lyricism. Alanis has been interested in music for majority of her life, as she started playing piano when she was 5 and began composing when she was 7. At age 14, she signed a record deal after previously working with Nickelodeon. She released 2 dance-pop albums with them in 1991 and 1992, which earned her a few awards. However, her breakout album, Jagged Little Pill, with an emotionally raw, rock sound. This album proceeded to win Morrissette 4 Grammy awards. Each of her albums after that explored different types of sounds, like Eastern musicals, Spiritual music, and more. She is still well-loved and continues to amaze us today.
3. Lauryn Hill
Even though Lauryn Hill has only released one solo album, she was and is still a very influential and prominent singer, especially in the black community. Hill was born on May 26, 1975, in East Orange, New Jersey. She was fascinated in music from a young age and at the age of 13, she began performing at Harlem’s Apollo Theater. Soon after that, she met Pras Michel, and his cousin Wyclef Jean and they created a group called The Fugees. They went on to release 2 albums, with the second, The Score, being a smash hit and selling over 17 million copies. This made them the best-selling rap group of all time and earned them 2 Grammy Awards. Shortly after this, she released her one and only solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, making her an established artist and selling over 19 million copies. The album was and still is highly favored because of its neo soul sound with splashes of reggae. It garnered her worldwide success, winning 5 Grammys, 3 AMA’s, a Billboard Award, a Soul Train Award, and an MTV Music Award. Even though she only released one album, she still achieved great success.
4. Victoria Monet
You may not know Victoria Monet’s name, but you definitely know some of her work. Monet was born May 1, 1993, and she was interested in music at a young age. Victoria participated in the youth choir at her church, as well as participating in the city dance team. She mostly works in the pop music scene, writing for Ariana Grande, Coco Jones, Nas, Chris Brown, T.I, and more. Her passion for songwriting began with poetry as she exchanged it with her older cousin. While exploring this passion, she also began exploring the world of production and the behind the scenes of music. After her girl group never got off the ground, songwriting became her main source of income. Victoria would use her own voice on demo tracks in the hopes that someone would want to sign her, and that is exactly what happened. The CEO of Atlantic Records offered her a deal and she signed it that day. When it comes to her own music, she focuses more on a pop-R&B sound. Her debut EP, Nightmares & Lullabies – Part 1 was released back in 2014, along with the follow up EP, Nightmares & Lullabies – Part 2. For about 3 years, Monet spent her time touring and opening for acts such as Fifth Harmony and Little Mix. In 2020, Victoria Monet released her debut album Jaguar, and her career is building slowly but steadily and gracefully.
5. Lindsey Stirling
Lindsey Stirling does not sing like the rest of these women. She is an instrumentalist, specifically a violinist, and was born on September 21, 1986. Her specific focus combines all of her specialties, because when she performs it is a choreographed violin performance. She does a wide range of music styles, from classical to pop to EDM etc. When she isn’t doing original songs, she performs covers on YouTube, which accounts for a major part of her success. Her music video of the song “Crystallize” was the eighth most watched video in 2012, and her cover of “Radioactive” with Pentatonix won the Response of the Year reward at the first YouTube music awards back in 2013. Stirling managed to sell her first million records worldwide in 2014 and her career has been heightened ever since. Stirling was featured in Forbes’ 30 under 30 back in 2015. Her second album was number 2 on the Top 100 charts and she has over 9 million subscribers on YouTube. In 2017, Lindsey released a holiday album called “Warmer in the Winter”. All in the same year, she also competed on the 25th season of “Dancing with the Stars” and announced her fifth studio album, “Artemis”. Her career continues to grow more and more as her audience continues to grow.
6. Whitney Houston
The final dynamic woman on our list is the late and great Whitney Houston. Whitney was born August 9, 1963 in Newark, New Jersey. It seemed to her that it was her destiny to sing as her mom and cousin were well known figures in American Gospel. She started out young, singing in the choir at her church. By the time Whitney turned 15, she was performing with her mother in the hopes of getting a record deal of her own. She was soon scouted by a photographer and became a very popular teen model, becoming one of the first black women to appear on the cove Seventeen magazine. However, music was still what she wanted to do the most. In 1985, Whitney released her debut album, Whitney Houston, which stayed at the top of the Hot 100 charts for 14 nonconsecutive weeks. She won a Grammy Award for the song “Saving All my Love for You” off of the album and it was presented to her by her cousin, Dionne Warwick. There was continued success with her sophomore album, “Whitney”. The record went platinum multiple times and also won a Grammy for the song, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody”.
As her career continued, Houston segued into acting. She often participated in the making of the soundtracks, which helped with the success of the movies. This was the trend for The Bodyguard, Waiting to Exhale, and The Preacher’s Wife. She went on to make more albums, such as My Love is Your Love, which also won a Grammy. She was acknowledged as the most awarded of all time in 2006 by the Guinness Book of World Records. The last album she released was one that provided healing for her after her struggles with drug addiction. Houston died of an accidental drowning on February 11, 2012. She was an angel and her light shined bright. She will always be greatly missed.