Where does the appreciation go for female R&B artists who fall between the cracks of societal recognition? What happens to those artists who choose to stay in their lane without using trends for relevancy? Is their devotion to the R&B genre commendable enough or is their lack of Billboard charts or radio hits their downfall?
In today’s realm of music where gimmicks and popularity overshadow talent, the space where even long lasting black female R&B artists is starting to fade.
The appreciation for artists such as Jasmine Sullivan, Keke Wyatt, Teedra Moses, Fantasia and Tamia lies within their core fans. Since mainstream radio and television doesn’t keep their songs in heavy rotation, it’s up to the fans to provide their full support in unending acknowledgement.
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Total years active: 2007-present
First Big Break: Singing background vocals for Kindred The Family Soul’s “Party’s Over” and “Surrender to Love” while also penning her first song-written hit “Say I” for Christina Milian.
Most known song: “Need you bad” (2008)
Most Underrated Project: Reality Show (2015)
Legacy: Jasmine Sullivan’s incredible songwriting ability and catalog along with her impeccable soul driven vocal stylings/runs. Sullivan’s natural ability to fuse childhood gospel influences with any genre outside of R&b (including reggae and pop) is also significant.
Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana
Total years active: 1990-2000 (girl group)/2000-present (solo)
First Big Break: Appearing as featured vocalist to Avant’s 2000 hit “My first Love”
Most known song(s): “Nothing in this world w/Avant” (2002) and “If only you know” (2002)
Most Underrated Project: Ke’Ke EP (2014)
Legacy: Keke Wyatt’s gospel influenced powerhouse R&b vocals complete with clarity, colorful runs, and overall range.
Hometown: New Orleans, Louisiana
Total years active: 2003-present
First Big Break: Assistant wardrobe stylist to Kelis, Will Smith, and No Doubt/Teaming with Pauly Poli to produce debut album “Complex Simplicity”
Most known song: “Be Your Girl” (2004)
Most Underrated Project: “Complex Simplicity” (2004)
Legacy: Teedra Moses’ natural but pure songbird styling vocals mixed with her ability to bring relatable content to life. Songwriting credits for artists such as Mary J Blige, Nivea, and Christina Milian are also significant.
Hometown: High Point, North Carolina
Total years active: 2004-present
First Big Break: Winning the third season of reality television series, American Idol in 2004
Most known song: “When I see you” (2006)
Most Underrated Project: Back to Me (2010)
Legacy: Fantasia’s signature raspy soulful tone with heavy gospel influence and her captivating live performing presence.
Hometown: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Total years active: 1995-present
First Big Break: Asked by veteran producer Quincy Jones to appear on his collaborative album “Q’s Jook Joint” in 1995.
Most known song: “Into You w/Fabolous” (2003)
Most Underrated Project(s): More (2004) and Between Friends (2006)
Legacy: Tamia’s pure approach to R&B soul (sometimes fused with an urban contemporary feel) and her significant commitment to focusing on love and relationships as key subject matter.