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Monday, February 4, 2019

Trailblazing R&B Artists Who Changed the Music Industry

Aretha Franklin

Nationwide — Our favorite modern-day artists would not be the big stars they are today without the support and inspiration from legendary artists from the past. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of trailblazing R&B artists who transformed the industry with their hit singles, numerous awards, and millions of fans.

Check out just a few of these incredible artists below:

Michael Jackson

Crowned the “King of Pop,” Michael Jackson is one of the most celebrated entertainers of all time. After getting his start with his family’s group (The Jackson 5) Michael decided to go solo. Throughout his career, he went on to earn 13 Grammy Awards.

Stevie Wonder

Blind since birth, Stevie Wonder is the epitome of not letting any obstacles prevent you from reaching your dreams. As one of the greatest singers in the 20th century, Wonder’s fifty-year career produced such songs as “Isn’t She Lovely”, “Sir Duke”, and “Part Time Lover”.

Smokey Robinson

This legendary singer and songwriter started out as the front man in the Motown group The Miracles. Robinson would later go solo and produce hit singles such as “Cruisin,” Being with You,” and “Just to See Her.”

Ray Charles

Ray Charles is a beloved singer, songwriter, musician, and composer who, like Stevie Wonder, suffered from blindness. Charles is the mastermind behind R&B classics such as “Hallelujah I Love Her So,” “What’d I say,” and “Hit the Road Jack.”

Aretha Franklin

Known for hits like “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Think,” and “Call Me,” Aretha Franklin is the epitome of what it means to be an R&B powerhouse. One listen and you’ll understand why so many dub Franklin as the “Queen of Soul” for her elusive vocals.


Prince is known best for fusing together genres such as R&B/Soul, funk, rock, and jazz in order to create a unique sound. “I Wanna Be Your Love” would become his first song to hit the R&B charts. From there, Prince went on to create iconic albums like 1999, Purple Rain, Sign O the Times, and Diamonds and Pearls.

Whitney Houston

With a mother who sang backup vocals for Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston was destined to enter the R&B world from an early age. Houston’s career is one that inspires and influences artists today with her powerful vocals and emotional ballads.

Mary J. Blige

At 18-years old, Mary J. Blige signed with Uptown Records becoming the label’s youngest and first female artist. After kickstarting her career in 1992, every single piece she released from then on would further cement her place among the best R&B artists of all time.

James Brown

James Brown will forever remain the “Godfather of Soul” due to his six-decade long career. The R&B world is sure to remember iconic songs such as “I Got You (I Feel Good),” “Please, Please, Please,” and “Papa’s Got a New Bag” for years to come.