Most underrated female recording artists..

I'm always looking for female singers who make my 2 channel system seem worthwhile for all l have spent...the list includes Nora Jones, Diana Krall , Sade and many others.... there are some fabulous singers out there but not recorded very well...lm adding Bonnie Raitt to my top list..The Bonnie Raitt collection red book cd...tracks 16 and 17 are spectacular on my system...  I'f anyone could add a suggestion it would be appreciated..


If you haven’t listened to Melody Gardot or Lissie you might want to give them a try.

Spin a copy of "Love's been Hard On Me" by Etta James.  Her voice only improved with age.  

Lily Kershaw, Lydia Ainsworth, Lydia Gray, Sophie Zelmani, Christel Alsos, Laura Fygi, Eva Cassidy, Sara K, Freya Ridings, Chantal Chamberlain, Malia, Dido, Enya,  Emily Barker, Ma Muse, Blossom Dearie, Silje Nergaard, Ela Vos, Anette Askvik.


Hope you like them!

Beth Hart , Imelda May, Jill Barber, Madeleine Peyroux, Nina Simone, Tracy Chapman. 

I think the topic though is underrated. I hardly think Melody Gardot or Etta James are underrated!😁

Joni Mitchell specifically Hejira. This album features Jaco Pastorious on bass - of course. Beautiful listening. Greg 

Who’s rating this to be qualified for underrating? Never heard before, poor quality, never mentioned in this thread? One of my most favored categories as is with many here. 
I will add, in honor of my Dad, sill alive at 95, was keyboard player for Big Band East on Long Island,  gets goose bumps in his limited hearing when I play, Susan Barrett, LSP-3738. She deserves a listen. Thanks 

The list is large, but here are a few of my favorites:

Linda Thompson - (ex of Richard Thompson) Dreams Fly Away

Laura Nyro - Eli and the Thirteenth Confession

Allison Russell - (no kin) with Quantic- Look Around the Corner

Emmylou Harris - Wrecking Ball

Dusty Springfield- Dusty in Memphis

Nanci Griffith- The Complete MCA Studio Recordings

Karla Bonoff- All My Life: the best of

Patty Griffin- Servant of Love

That’s a good start….

There are so many you can't count them. Many made a small living putting out a few albums and singing at coffee houses. Here's a few of my favorites that are undervalued:

Bonnie Koloc - when she was a young a voice that could soar from one note to another effortlessly.

Priscilla Herdman - a voice like an angel. Her version of 'And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda' an anti war song is chilling due to the contrast of the words and her angelic voice.

Jo Ann Kelly - the best white blues singer I've heard. She actually sounds black.

June Tabor - awesome sense of timing

Mary McCaslin - small voice that just grows on you. Wrote songs that bare her soul.

Sandy Denny - well known but I believe under rated both as a brilliant singer and song writer. 

Linda Ronstadt.

She’s the only one who can sing in EVERY genre, very successfully, and has. I don’t know of any other female singer who has done what she’s done. Opera, classical, pop, country, blue grass, big band, jazz, new age.

+ 1 Kate Bush

Natalie Merchant - MTV Live....and any of her 10,000 Maniacs work

Check out Mary Black — one of Ireland’s finest. Her albums “Babes in the Woods” and “New Frontiers” are outstanding. 

This post is turning into a insight to some of the best vocal music out there..hand picked by audiophiles and music lovers.IMO these types of recordings sound better on a monitor or a bookshelf speaker..the midrange is more forward and immediate....lm being a little critical, full range will work but not the same effect...l did listen to these suggestions and l will be buying some of these recordings...

Aimee Mann - Lost in Space and Mental Illness. Vinyl of these releases is very good.

@wolfie62 has noted:


She has more range and has SUCCESSFULLY recorded more styles of music than most of these fine ladies put together.

The fact that she sold more copies than most of them (the modern ones have a larger audience and streaming, etc.) isn’t really germane.

She can actually SING.

You should also read her first book, "Simple Dreams" where she writes that she can LISTEN to most any (beginning) singer and identify the singer(s) they are copying. THAT, friends, is talent in my estimation. (The album of the same name ain’t bad either, FYI.) Finally, her version of a superb Smokey Robinson song (Ooo, Baby, Baby) is my favorite, and I would NEVER denigrate Smokey, who is one of a kind as well.

Also, hard to beat Joan Baez singing "Diamonds and Rust" on a good pair of Maggies with quality ARC gear driving them.


If you like blues, Susan Tedeschi is a terrific singer.  You het the added benefit of Derek Trucks slide playing.  They did a live reprise of the entire Layla album that stands up to the original in every way, just amazing.


For a more traditional female singer I would offer Eva Cassidy.  She has a pure voice as demonstrated on Live at Blues Alley.  She was taken fromus far too young by cancer.

Kim Gordon

Kacey Musgraves

Jenny Lewis

Zooey Deschanel (she and him)

Kim Deal

Karen O.


Great recommendations. I’ve heard maybe 1/3rd of these. (Guess Spotify’s algorithm for finding "similar" artists was pretty good). Looking forward to trying these artists out. For instance, the 2022 Ella Henderson album "Everything I Didn’t Say" is ostensibly better than Adele’s last album. YMMV. I’ve complied most of these except the ones I thought were sort of obvious and not "underrated" as a single list here to make copying and pasting easier:


Etta James

Lily Kershaw

Lydia Ainsworth

Lydia Gray

Sophie Zelmani

Christel Alsos

Laura Fygi

Eva Cassidy

Sara K

Freya Ridings

Chantal Chamberlain


Emily Barker

Ma Muse

Blossom Dearie

Silje Nergaard

Ela Vos

Anette Askvik.



Beth Hart

Imelda May

Jill Barber

Madeleine Peyroux

Nina Simone

Tracy Chapman

Kate Bush

Kiki Dee

Patricia Barber

Lisa Gerrard (with or without Dead Can Dance)

Mary Fahl - “ Can’t Get it Out of My Head”

Nichole Atkins

Nico - her solo offerings.

Bianca Castafiore

Jane Olivor (eary works)

Ronda Vincent: bluegrass, country

Laurie Anderson

Flora Purim

Kate Wolf

Nina Simone

Linda Thompson - (ex of Richard Thompson) Dreams Fly Away

Laura Nyro - Eli and the Thirteenth Confession

Allison Russell - (no kin) with Quantic- Look Around the Corner

Emmylou Harris - Wrecking Ball

Dusty Springfield- Dusty in Memphis

Nanci Griffith- The Complete MCA Studio Recordings

Karla Bonoff- All My Life: the best of

Patty Griffin- Servant of Love

Bonnie Koloc

Priscilla Herdman

Jo Ann Kelly

June Tabor

Mary McCaslin

Sandy Denny

Natalie Merchant - MTV Live....and any of her 10,000 Maniacs work

Mary Black Her albums “Babes in the Woods” and “New Frontiers” are outstanding.

Alison Moyet

Ella Henderson

Aimee Mann - Lost in Space and Mental Illness.

Susan Tedeschi (Tedeschi Trucks Band)

Anneke van Giersbergen (The Gathering, Vuur, Agua de Annique)

Eva Cassidy

Kim Gordon

Kacey Musgraves

Jenny Lewis

Zooey Deschanel (she and him)

Kim Deal

Karen O.

I would add Breanne Düren, her solo works, not just as a backing singer for Owl City. Her "little girl" coquettish vocals are nice. The thing is you can go to Last dot FM and put in any of these artists’ names and "similar" and find nearly an endless list of female artists to check out and discover, hopefully recorded by engineers and producers who know what they are doing.

Shannon Whitworth (Americana music)

Jennifer Warnes, Famous Blue Raincoat

Shelby Lynne, Just a Little Lovin’

Both are stellar recordings.

Great list we have here!

Duffy - I would add her for those who might have missed her.

Oh, and it is spelled Rhonda Vincent, with an "h"...

What a great thread with a lot of wonderful artists. I would add the two below which I have not seen mentioned. 

Macy Gray - my favorite is her album Stripped.

Dominique Fils-Aimé - Nameless is my go to album. 

Ok..l started this thread and it's been great...if you have a kick butt two channel system.. play Miley Sirus backyard sessions...Joelene and 50 ways to leave your it or hate it that girl can sing..her dad taught her to sing...


the OP specifically requested underrated female vocalists; having seen the Heart Like a Wheel” tour in the day, I think we know Linda Ronstadt is hardly underrated.

my list was in violation I think also.

Yoko is an artist. Artists are used to (and I secretly believe) WANT to be maligned by a certain percentage of the people….comes naturally.

Yes, I wouldn’t call some of the above-mentioned underrated. People that come to mind the OP might like:

Agnes Obel—classically trained singer/songwriter from Denmark originally, listen to her first album Philharmonics (2010) and go from there. Aventine (2013) is my favourite, very beautiful and serene.

Beth Orton—a folktronica singer/singwriter, from UK, a long career but try her latest Weather Alive (2022). Maybe a stretch to call her underrated but depends where you live.

Martina Topley-Bird—also UK best known for her collaboration with Tricky (likely not your taste) but solo work spans Quixotic (2003) through to Forever I Wait (2021).

Less likely for you perhaps but very good if your taste skews more rock-adjacent:

Erika M Anderson (aka EMA)—from US, best known for Past Life Matyred Saints (2011) but recent Exile in the Outer Ring and Outtakes from Exile (2027 and 2018 respectively) are also good, as is her moody soundtrack for Tara Subkoff’s movie #Horror

Kelsey Lu—also classically trained, from US, great singer/cellist, try their debut album Church (2016) or Blood (2019) which is impressive: the track Foreign Car is much more fun than audiophile staple Fast Car. Wonderful voice in the lower range too.

Mariah Rose Piera (aka Poppy)—from US, a genre-fluid corpus but her latest Flux (2021) is fabulous and includes the first performance by a female artist nominated for Grammy in the metal category (I did say rock-adjacent). It really took that long, can you believe it?

And some electronic/experimental flavour if you want to stretch:

Tahlia Barnett (FKA twigs)—from UK, recent album Magdelene (2019) displays her very nice vocal range and compositional talent and is fairly accessible (also an excellent dancer/choreographer). I guess ditto on the under-rated thing.

Nat Ćmeil (aka yuele)—originally from Singapore, their first album Serotonin II (2019) is fairly accessible, but the more complex Glitch Princess (2022) is the best album anyone has produced this year (that said, you’ll likely hate it).

Some other female performers I’ve come across (more or less) recently that are less known than they should be (some new, some not so, a mix of genres with sonically interesting but not necessarily mainstream vocalisations): Alice Glass (escapee from Crystal Castles), Cherry Glazerr, COUCOU CHLOE, Ethel Cain, Fifi Rong, Hania Rani, Honey Gentry, Jack Off Jill, Julia Holter, Kilo Kish, Let’s Eat Grandma, Lil’ Bo Weep, Midwife, Nastya Kreslina (half of IC3SPEAK), Pan Daijing, Reba Fay (aka Swan Meat), REI AMI, Rosie Diamond, Shygirl, Stella Donelly, Utaha (new singer for Wednesday Campanella), Yara Lapidus ...



She is "new" and NOT what I would call a "great voice" by any means, but I like her approach to putting her poems to music--Hailey Whitters.  This is what people call "country music," so it is not for everybody. 

The songs are basic as they are meant to be, and like most popular music, somewhat "catchy."  Anyway, just giving her a plug--hope she does well in the profession.