What’s your favorite genre? Rap? R&B? What about reggae? If you’re a huge reggae fan, salute! You know all about how relaxing and inspiring this genre can be. You’ll know all the artists of the moment, as well as all the golden oldies like Bob Marley.
If you just occasionally dip your toes into the reggae waters, this is the list for you! We’ve chosen five of our top black female reggae artists and singers. Check them out. You never know, you might just find a new favorite.
Jah9, One Of The Best Black Female Reggae Artists Around
Janine ‘Jah9’ Elizabeth Cunningham grew up in rural Jamaica before moving to Kingston when she was 10 years old. This highly sensitive country girl was shocked by the chaos of the city and started writing to process her new experiences.
Her father was a preacher and her mother was a social worker, so Jah9 always had a social conscience. But it wasn’t until her time at the University of the West Indies that she found her true voice – as a mystical Rastafarian.
Her music is a mix of profoundly spiritual poetry, dub, and jazz, with a Nina Simone flair in her voice. She’s been described as “possessing a chilling yet bewitching vibrato evoking a young Ella Fitzgerald and a rootsy coolness à la Erykah Badu” and “black magic”! She tours the world spreading messages of healing and consciousness. She’s also a certified yoga instructor, a breathing therapist, a community activist, and more.
As if that weren’t enough, she poses for gorgeous photography on her Instagram page, and her dreadlocks are amaaaaazing.
Is there anything this woman can’t do?!
Kelissa McDonald, known just as ‘Kelissa’, was brought up immersed in Rasta culture and reggae. Her parents are the lead vocalists in reggae band Chakula. She and her brother and sisters mimicked their parents, wrote their own songs, and even featured on a kids’ reggae album.
“I was living music before I was born,” Kelissa says. “It welcomed me into the world and it brings me home wherever I am.”
Home has been many places for this Jamaican beauty. She was born in the hills of St. Andrew, Jamaica. Later, the family lived in Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Ghana. She learned traditional African drumming while out there, along with dance and xylophone. She also taught herself the guitar and began street performances.
Kelissa then headed to school in Los Angeles, founded the Black Arts and Cultural Dance Group on campus, and even performed at the House of Blues in Hollywood.
Her music is described as soothing, inspirational, and transcendent. Her songs take us to a higher place. “Music gives us direction, a cure for our heart and a gateway to the divine. My passion is to share this with the world.”
Award Winning Reggae Musician Dezarie
Dezarie hails from St Croix, a tiny Caribbean island of only 50,000 people, but a reggae hotspot, the home of artists such as Midnite, Pressure Buss Pipe, and Niyorah, to name just a few. In fact, she’s teamed up with Midnite numerous times over the years, blending her heavenly vocals with their ethereal, mystical vibe.
She won Best New Female Reggae Artist award in 2001 in Atlanta, and hasn’t disappointed us since! With five albums under her belt, and hundreds of performances, she is a true reggae veteran.
It has to be said, Dezarie has a truly beautiful voice. She also has a taste for lilting, other-worldly riddims to sing over. The result is something like a musical hug from a slightly mysterious but very loving source!
Speaking of love – that is what Dezarie is all about. “Love in your meditation, love is a medication,” she sings on the title track of her newest album.
Sevana, A Top Black Female Reggae Singer
Sevana began her singing career as an 8 year old Jamaican country girl, belting out Celine Dion’s A New Day over the breakfast table in rural Westmoreland. She knew then she wanted to sing. In her teens she joined a girl group SLR, and they placed third in the Digicel Rising Star talent competition of 2008.
But it was when she struck out on her own as a solo artist that she truly began to shine. She’s not afraid of musical experimentation – she counts Anita Baker, Prince, Ray Charles, Bob Marley and Coldplay among her influences!
She released her first single ‘Chant It’ in 2016, which was less reggae, more Beyonce-slow-jam vibe with a bluesy undertone. But her next tune ‘Bit Too Shy’ was reggae through and through. She’s definitely a versatile artist.
She’s Protoje’s prodigy (try and say that fast!) and joined him on his European tour in 2015. Now she’s performing at Reggae Jam and working with David Rodigan. What more could an aspiring reggae star want?!
Born to a musical Jamaican Rasta family, Hempress Sativa was born into the reggae world. Her father Ilawi Malawi (less glamorously officially named Albert Johnson) ran the Jah Love Sound System from when Hempress was just a little girl named Kerida.
Kerida jumped into her first performance at the age of 13, and she’s been going strong ever since. She hails Rastafari to the full, not afraid to show off her faith over heavy dub or hip-hop inspired rhythms. She’s all about justice, spirituality, strength, pride, and… the green herb. A fierce fearless attitude, quick chanting, slow melodies, and a spiritual message all blend together to make a hypnotic sound you just can’t turn off.
5 Black Female Reggae Artists & Singers You Need To Hear Conclusion
We hope you’ve found a new reggae artist to listen to. Reggae music calms, heals, and reminds us of what’s important. These five women are taking an important messages all over the world, wrapped up in riddims that keep you hitting replay.