If you ask anyone, they will tell you that the 90s was probably the best era ever. This era gave birth to music legends and icons who would be remembered for the rest of their lives. Each one of us has had their favorites and spent almost the entire childhood listening to them. Female singers of this era blazed through and set fire to the world through their voices and talents. Regardless of what type of music you were in, it was about skill, passion, and class that attracted the fans. Let us rewind and remember the iconic singers of the 90s, to relive an era that passed too soon.
Perhaps the biggest icon that the 90s gave birth to was Madonna. There was a time when her solo tracks such as ‘Frozen’ and ‘La Isla Bonita’ were being played on every radio channel. Critics were also off the view that her voice was like a magnet, pulling anything that would come close to it.
Her lyrics were ahead of time, and the music itself was nothing less than an art. Madonna, by starring in films such as Evita, significantly added to her popularity and won her the Golden Globe Award for the best actress. Furthermore, Madonna has sold over 300 million records worldwide, which makes her a certified best-selling recording artist of all time as well.
While the 80s were coming to an end, Bjork was a star who was rising fast and about to stand shoulder to shoulder with indie darlings The Sugarcubes. The Sugarcubes were a big hit at the time. However, no one was able to predict the level at which Bjork would ascend in the coming few years.
Although Bjork had been involved with indie and punk groups all her life, it was only until when she let her self-loose as a solo artist, that the world was able to see what she really was capable of. Bjork was everyone’s artist. What this means is that her singing ability and music altogether settled well with any crowd, and with earth-shattering videos from Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry, it was as if the world had not something like it ever before.
1991 gave birth to new English talent when she came out with her debut single ‘Dress.’ This was actually a signal that something huge was coming up, and the world better be prepared for it. The following year, another banger ‘Sheela-Na-Gig’ was released and took the world off its feet. Not only that, but it also allowed us to be introduced to this blazing personality and singer who was named Polly Jean Harvey.
She was only 23 when she released her album. Studying and taking lessons from the greats such as Bob Dylan and Captain Beefheart, there was no doubt that she would not be a huge hit. In total, she released four albums, and each had a story to tell. Although her era may have passed her, abilities remain as strong today as ever.
How could anyone forget Mariah Carey? Referred to as the “Songbird Supreme” by Guinness World Records, she got fame by signing to Columbia Records and releasing her debut album. The album topped the U.S Billboard 200 for eleven consecutive weeks. From ‘Vision of Love’ to ‘Emotions,’ Mariah Carey was the only artist ever to have her five singles at the top of the U.S Billboard Hot 100.
The year 1993 saw Mariah Carey marrying the head of Sony, Tommy Mottola, who helped her to sign with Columbia records as well. Her follow-up albums, Music Box, Merry Christmas, and Daydream would add to her successful career and offer the world a number of hit singles to groove. Her single “One Sweet Day” remained number for 16 weeks in the U.S and became Billboard’s song of the decade as well.
Toni Braxton is as acclaimed as any female R&B singer would ever be. She has sold over 67 million records worldwide in addition to 41 million albums. Toni Braxton initiated her music career in the 80s by performing with her sisters in a music group known as The Braxtons. Then in 1993, Braxton released her self-titled debut album. The album reached number 1 on the Billboard 200 and sold over 10 million copies worldwide.
The album alone brought three Grammy Awards to Braxton, including the Grammy for Best New Artist. Braxton’s success continued with her albums and hit singles such as Secrets, You’re Makin Me High/Let It Flow, and Un-Break My Heart in addition to the Heat released in 2000.
Whitney Elizabeth Houston was not only a singer but an actress as well. She was termed as the most awarded female artist of all time by Guinness World Records. Not only that, but she also remains the best-selling music artist of all time as she had sold over 200 million records worldwide.
Whitney Houston, throughout her career as a singer, had released seven studio albums and two soundtrack albums. All of these albums have either been certified diamond, Platinum, Gold, or multi-platinum by RIAA. She signed to the label when she was 19 years old and introduced her first two albums, Whitney Houston and Whitney. Both albums reached number one on the Billboard 200 and are amongst the best-selling albums of all time.
Celine Dion is a Canadian singer who is known for her powerful singing ability. She remains the best-selling Canadian artist to date and one of the best-selling artists of all time. Celine Dion has been able to sell 200 million copies worldwide, which undoubtedly places her in the list of one of the most iconic singers. Celine rose to fame during the 1990s. She came out with some best-selling English albums such as ‘Falling into You’ and ‘Let’s Talk About Love’.
Both albums were certified diamond in the U.S. Not only did Celine release albums in English but also in French as well. Her French album ‘D’eux’ earned the title of the best-selling French-language album of all time whereas ‘S’il suffsait d’aimer,’ ‘Sans aatendre,’ and ‘Encore un soir’ all were certified diamond in France.
Lauryn Hill is one of the few female artists who is lauded for blending soul and reggae with hip-hop. In the huge world of hip-hop, she is both greatly admired and adored. Lauryn achieved success with the Fugees as well as her Miseducation album, which was beyond sensational. The album spoke of love, fame, womanhood, strength, tenderness, and spirituality.
Lauryn stepped into the game when Hip-hop, particularly gangsta rap, was largely dominated by men. Gangsta rap of that time used women and displayed them as sexual objects. Lauryn Hill’s impact took the genre to a whole new level. Therefore, it would be safe to say that Lauryn Hill was one of the best female artists introduced during the 90s.
Missy Elliott was an artist the world had been desperately waiting for. She held Hip-hop from one end and turned it completely around in the 90s. When her album Supa Dupa Fly came out in 1997, nobody expected that her rhymes, presence, and spectacular production would change the way people look at Hip-hop.
Her sound was way ahead of its time, her work was futuristic and her collaboration with Timbaland, set the bar so high, that no one would be able to top it for at least the next decade. Missy Elliott was someone who had total control over herself. She would say what she wanted to say, never surrendered to dull beauty ideals, and wore whatever she wanted. Therefore, all we could say is, All hail Missy.
Aaliyan was amongst the wonders of the 90s and a sad ending as well. Aaliyah introduced herself to the world in 1994 by releasing her single ‘Back & Forth.’ The song was written and produced by R.Kelly, and while their partnership in the studio matured, it created a controversy when it was revealed that Aaliyah, who was underage at the time, had married her ‘Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number’ collaborator.
Aaliyah got down to work and worked with some of the biggest names of the 90s until she landed in the hands of Timbaland, who not only gave her some serious hits but cemented her status as the Queen of slow-burn R&B as well. The year 2001 saw the death of Aaliyah when her plane crashed in the Bahamas. She had just done filming her ‘Rock the boat’ video when life decided to take a turn for the worst.
Concluding, diving back into the nostalgia of the 90s, the music industry boomed, and many female singers took the front stage during this time. While some voices have left us forever, but their musical deeds follow us as we grow together.