Reader Sound Off! 10 Female Singers Who Are Underrated…

January 31, 2012  |  
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Note:Remember the piece, “9 Artists Who Should Have Blown Up…But Didn’t“? Well, one of our readers has a list of her own of artists that need way MORE shine. Some are big names, others are fairly unknown, but they all are highly underrated in her book.

By Monique H.

Have you ever heard a great song and wondered who was that and why aren’t they mega famous yet? Well, I have a few times.

Over the last few years, in the entertainment business, we have heard an enormous group of unknown, underground, or underdog artists say that the music industry shut them out because they didn’t have the “it” factor. Every record label wants the next Beyoncé. I consider myself to be a musical connoisseur. I have a vast collection of music from “independent” artists who I think should be bigger than many of these non-singing singers (Rihanna, J.Lo, Ciara, Ashanti, etc). Not that I am not picking on them, but I don’t believe that they have the vocal talent to be in the same class as Beyoncé, Adele, Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston.

So while record companies may be scrambling for the next big thing with a little, thin voice, in my personal opinion I believe this group of artists has just the opposite of that. If given the proper promotion and financial backing from a great record label rather than the artist having to do it all alone, I believe these singers can fill the void that the mainstream music scene needs badly.

So let me introduce you to a few singers with talent that should be given a chance on the big stage, as well as some known ones who need to be on superstar status…like years ago.

Támar Davis

She is known for singing in Tyler Perry plays (“Please be the Man,” and “You Are My Man“), but does anyone know she released an album in early 2011 called My Name is Tamar? Probably not.
Davis was under the direction of Prince as his protege for her album Milk and Honey (2006), which had a limited release in Japan before being shelved. She also got her start in the girl group Girls Tyme with Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland before Destiny’s Child was formed.  Támar (Not to be confused with Tamar Braxton) has an incredible vocal range and the ability to convey emotions effortlessly. Her music speaks volumes, so why is she being slept on?

JoiStarr aka Joi Campbell

Joi is the sister to Warryn Campbell who produces for Mary Mary and many others. While he’s a big time producer, Joi on the other hand, has been singing background a very long time for artists such as Brandy and Kanye West. She was signed to Clive Davis’ label and was featured on a few promo samples and soundtracks but a full album never surfaced. In 2011 she released two mixtapes: Broccoli and Noodles and Magic Mondays, and it’s clear that she has an incredible talent for songwriting as well as singing. I was first introduced to her voice while watching David Talbert’s play, Love on Layaway. Her range and style of singing sets her apart. Please check out her rare vocal abilities on the track, “Teddy Bear with Vampire Fangs.” Don’t ask me about the title.

Dawn Richard

We’ve see Dawn (aka Neon, her alter ego) doing her own thing since her Danity Kane and Dirty Money days ended, but will she get the support as a solo artist to put her with the top contenders? Only time will tell. But people should wake up and realize her amazing ability to write from the heart and put out emotion filled tunes. With the release of her free mixtape, ATellTale Heart, receiving over 1 million downloads, it’s clear she has a bright future. Will you support her upcoming album, Golden Heart? Check out the jam, “Save Me From You,” you’ll love it.

Marsha Ambrosius

Having success with a group and then going solo can be a challenge for some artists, but Marsha seems to have handled the pressure pretty well, releasing several mixtapes to her fans until the album, Late Nights & Early Mornings, was ready. Though the album did move a few units, 306,700 to be exact, I know I’m not the only who thinks her vocal abilities should have pushed that one a lot further. Is she a favorite on your list? If not, check out her song Your Hands. With a very unique sound and clever (and sometimes blunt) lyrics, she has what it takes to be at the top of the R&B game.

Jill Scott

Sure, she has had her share of success on the charts, but to some, Jill Scott is still not a household name. With an outstanding gift for words and the ability to articulate everything from self empowerment to sensuality in her songs, this lady knows how to rock a mic. She was snubbed by the Grammys, among other big awards shows, and I’m not sure why. But folks need to stop sleeping and pick up her latest album, The Light of the Sun, which debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200. The best track on there has to be “Hear My Call.”

Monica

Miss Thang has been in the music game for a long time and still hasn’t received her due props. Even though her last album, Still Standing, was loved by a lot of people, she still doesn’t get treated like a headliner. But you can’t knock that voice. The way she sings about love and the loss of love evokes feelings hidden deep within ourselves. With her New Life album coming soon, I hope her record label stands behind her more and cools it with the 10 song album cap crap and lets the child SANG. Because we all know, can’t nobody run a note like Monica. Hopefully with the new album she will be back on top for good. One of my favorites by her has to be, “Love All Over Me.”

Fantasia

Oh dear Fantasia, winner of “American Idol.” Homegirl has become a household name for all the wrong reasons. I want her music to speak for itself without her life overshadowing the talent God has given her. I believe with better promotion and the right people in her life (not taking every dime she has), she can be the star we voted for her to be when she won American Idol. Whenever I want to be reminded of the soulful voice I want to hear more than the drama, I check out “Bittersweet.” That’s the jam.

Brandy

Things have been looking up for B Rocka for the past year or so with her reality show, Brandy and Ray J: A Family Business, and several TV appearances bringing the once mega famous star back into our homes. But where’s the music B? As her fans await a much anticipated new album, we find themselves listening to every leaked track wondering what the album’s direction is going to be, and if we’ll get old-school Brandy, or Bran’Nu Brandy, her rapping alter ego? Either way, we can only hope that the producers and songwriters give her more than they did with the last two albums so that people can stop asking “What happened to Brandy?” and start asking, “Do you have that new Brandy?” all over again. Check out “Something’s Missing (Acapella)” and “Hot Shot” for a peep at her rapping alter ego, Bran’Nu.

Jennifer Hudson…the singer, not the actress…

With a powerhouse voice and a down-home personality, many wonder why the American Idol alum is not as adored for her music as she is for her Dreamgirls performance and weight loss. Maybe it’s the not so entertaining songs on the albums she releases. It seems as though because she has a great voice, people give her crappy songs and assume that her voice can overshadow the wackness of them. Sorry boo boo…we don’t want that. We want GREAT ballads from an excellent voice like hers. Nobody can belt a song out quite like JHud. But if she doesn’t get better material, she will never be the star she is meant to be….Oscar and all. Please check out “If This Isn’t Love,” one of her best and most nod-worthy tracks.

Kelly Rowland

Here I Am was an awesome album. It covered every genre and feeling, but the promotion for it was not up to par. Seriously though, this chick has a boatload of swag, she can dance, and her voice is very beautiful. With some help, she can carve a lane all her own. She just needs to stop being afraid and step out of the DC shadow, namely Beyoncé’s, and become just as free as the music on this outstanding album. A hot song to check out is “Feeling Me Right Now.”

Which artists in music do you think are highly underrated? Do you agree with Monique’s picks?

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