In honor of Women’s History Month, here is a list compiled of some of the most inspirational and impactful artists that had their start right here in metro Detroit.
Often regarded by many as one of the greatest voices in music history and dubbed as the “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin’s music has transcended for several decades. The “Respect” and “Son of a Preacher Man” gospel-style songstress has won 18 Grammy awards to date. And to top it all off, she was one of the 2008 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Franklin is one of the most iconic Motown musicians and is well-known for her breathtaking live performances.
This Bay City native “Material Girl” has bent all of the rules in music, tackling sexual and religious themes in her lyrics. The controversial musician and actress has been known for pushing the boundaries and is one of the most legendary and outlandish pop performers in history. Inspiring modern artists such as Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus, Madonna has shown the power of pushing the envelope and embracing female sexuality.
The seven-time Grammy-winning musician Gladys Knight has had #1’s across the charts in many genres, including pop, gospel and R&B. With Knight as the lead singer of Gladys Knight and the Pips, the group has had multiple hits, including “Midnight Train to Georgia” and “If I Were Your Woman.” In addition to her accolades, Knight is considered to be an incredible humanitarian, lending her support to organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club and American Cancer Society.
In a career spanning over 40 years, Diana Ross, the lead singer of the wonderfully successful Motown group, The Supremes, has had hit after hit. Along with major singles like “I’m Coming Out” under her belt, Diana Ross has also branched out into film. Her Golden Globe and Academy Award-nominated performance in “Lady Sings the Blues” has blown audiences away by her sheer talent. As a 12-time Grammy nominated artist, Ross was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.