Here Are the Greatest Female Singers Who Shaped Music in the ‘90s

Madonna / Gie Knaeps/GettyImages

The ‘90s have been classified as the golden era of music that saw diverse genres come into the spotlight. It was the era when upcoming artists dared to experiment and were unafraid to demonstrate their versatility.

Let’s revisit the ‘90s that gifted us with the greatest artists. Among them are some of the most iconic female singers who rose to prominence during the decade, giving us their career best. Where would we be without their music filling our lives with joy?

Madonna, Bedtime Stories - A Cultural Reset

One name, multiple connotations; Madonna embodies everything we have come to appreciate about music in the ‘90s. The seeds of her becoming a cultural icon were sown during this era, with her pushing the boundaries of creativity in her songwriting and using stunning imagery during her on-stage performances. 

Madonna’s spectacular music videos redefined how songs were visually presented and changed the landscape of pop culture forever. One of the most well-documented and remarkable artists, the Queen of Pop has sold over 300 million records, earning over $1.5 billion in concert revenue. The ‘90s also showcased her talent as an actress, with films like Evita fetching her critical acclaim and a Golden Globe. 

Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill - Most Powerfully Evocative Singer

The ‘90s gifted us with another great female singer whose emotive voice still rings in our ears and hearts. Alanis Morissette began her journey into stardom in 1991 with her debut album Alanis, with its single ‘Too Hot’ becoming an instant hit. She followed up the success of the dance-pop album with a ballad-heavy one titled Now is the Time. Both were released only in Canada.

Her first international release Jagged Little Pill in 1995, exceeded expectations by topping the charts with the song ‘You Oughta Know’ and its biting lyrics catching everyone’s attention. Famously, her trip to India during the late ‘90s marked a new chapter in her life; it redefined how she approached and presented her music in subsequent albums.

Mariah Carey, Butterfly - The Quintessential Songbird Supreme

Mariah Carey’s eponymous debut album in 1990 was a roaring success that foreshadowed her phenomenal rise to stardom. She released seven commercially and artistically epic albums during the ‘90s, including Butterfly and Emotions, establishing her as the reigning queen of music, and Billboard rightfully crowned her the “Artist of the Decade.”

Guinness World Records dubbed her the “Songbird Supreme” due to her impressive songwriting skills, powerful five-octave vocal range, and low-whisper-register. All of these combined, enriches our experience of listening to the love songs and Christmas carols she is well-known for. The holiday season isn’t complete without singing along loudly to her ‘All I Want for Christmas is You,’ even three decades after its initial release.

Celine Dion, Falling Into You - A Versatile Singing Icon

Born in Quebec, Celine Dion initially gained popularity as a teen star, releasing eight French albums in her home country during the ‘80s. After learning English, she entered the American market with her first album in the language Unison in 1990; there’s been no turning back for the artist since. 

The decade saw Celine’s phenomenal rise to the top, with most of her releases gaining immense popularity, including albums such as Falling Into You and Let’s Talk About Love. The latter had the iconic song ‘My Heart Will Go On,’ recognized worldwide as the theme song of the blockbuster movie Titanic. She won multiple awards for that album, cementing her position as a music icon. 

Gwen Stefani, Tragic Kingdom - No Doubt An Extraordinary Artist

In 1986, Gwen Stefani co-founded the band No Doubt with her brother and became its lead vocalist. Even though their eponymous debut album fell short of making a commercial impact, the group outperformed with their subsequent releases, showcasing their mastery over the ska-punk genre of music. 

Gwen came to prominence during the mid-90s with her unique vocals, especially in their album Tragic Kingdom. Its lead single, ‘Just a Girl,’ written by the singer, and another epic number, ‘Don’t Speak’ became a huge hit and fetched her international recognition. Even though her solo career took off in the 2000s, she still tours with her band. 


When we think of ‘90s music, these fantastic ladies never fail to come to mind. We have all revisited their music several times over the decades since. From Madonna to Gwen Stefani, everyone has contributed significantly to the industry with their powerful vocals, transcending music and songs that will live on in our lives and hearts forever, all while making us groove to their catchy tunes.