Maria Callas – Born December 2, 1923 in the U.S.A., Maria Callas was an opera singer. She was named “La Divina” due to her outstanding vocal talent and versatility. Ms. Callas received her musical education in Athens and trained as a dramatic soprano but could also sing in any vocal register. She made her professional debut in 1942, and returned to America in 1945 where she sang for the Metropolitan Opera and various productions in Venice and in Chicago in the 1950s. She passed away in 1977 at the age of 53.
Aretha Franklin – Born March 25, 1942 in the U.S.A., Aretha Franklin is a singer and songwriter. Ms. Franklin was a child prodigy with a gifted voice and could also play piano. She released her first gospel album at 14 years old. She has a powerful vocal range which she uses in her gospel, pop and R&B recordings. She has won an incredible 20 Grammy Awards since she began her career in 1960. She has been named “The Queen of Soul” with one of her more famous songs being “Respect”.
Whitney Houston – born August 9, 1963 in the U.S.A., Whitney Houston has a soprano voice who records in the genres of gospel and R&B. She comes from a musical family with her mother, Cissy Houston, being a gospel singer who toured with Aretha Franklin as a backup singer. Whitney also has a cousin in the music business, Dionne Warwick. Houston is famous for her powerful voice with a range of five octaves. She released her debut album in the 80’s which became the largest selling debut album by a female. In the 90’s she became a movie star as well, but then dropped out of the spotlight. She is currently working on releasing an album this year.
Celine Dion – born on March 30, 1968 in Quebec, Canada, she started her career as a French teen singer. She is now considered a soprano pop rock singer. She released her first English album in 1990 and since has become one of the most successful singers of all-time; also performing to sold-out crowds for five years in Las Vegas, Nevada. She is known for her technically skilled and strong vocals in the rock, classical, gospel and R&B genres and is truly an icon.
Patsy Cline – born September 8, 1932 as Virginia Patterson Hensley, in Virginia, U.S.A., Ms. Cline was a country music singer with crossover into pop music. She is best known for her expressive singing style and rich tones in her voice, and she has been an inspiration to many vocalists. In her early 20’s in 1955 she was signed to Four Star Records. She released several albums but passed away prematurely in a 1963 plane crash at the age of 30. Since her death, she has sold millions of albums and been given many awards posthumously.
Patti LaBelle – born as Patricia Louise Holte on May 24, 1944 in the U.S.A., Patti LaBelle is a passionate singer with a wide vocal range who is also capable of singing in high octaves. She has recorded as an R&B and soul singer. In 1961 she was part of a group named ‘The Ordettes’ when they were signed to Blue Note Records. The president of Blue Note Records renamed them ‘Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles’. The name was shortened to ‘LaBelle’ in 1970. In 1977, Patti released her debut solo album and continues to release albums and make guest appearances at various functions and on t.v. shows.
Mariah Carey – born on March 27, 1970 in New York, U.S.A., Mariah Carey is a soprano singer in the pop genre with more recent releases having a hip hop tone. Her voice is known for it’s range and power. She is able to cover all notes from alto range up to soprano and her most known ability is the whistle register. She made her first album in 1990 and went on to become one of the most successful singers in the U.S.A. throughout the 90’s. She continues to release and sell albums to a new generation of fans.
Pat Benatar – born January 10, 1953 as Patricia Mae Andrzejewski in New York, U.S.A., she has a strong mezzo-soprano vocal range. Pat started singing in Grade 4 and later attended The Juliard School. She was part of the band ‘Rising Star’ in 1975, and as well as recording commercial jingles, she played a part in the rock musical “The Zephyr” in 1976. In 1978 her band was signed to Chrysalis Records. She won four consecutive Grammy Awards for “Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female” from 1980 through 1983, and nominations in following years as well. Benatar has seven platinum albums to her credit and is scheduled to release an acoustic album in the Fall of 2008.
Christina Aguilera – born December 18, 1980 in the U.S.A., Christina Aguilera has a soprano, four-octave vocal range. She sings in the pop and R&B genres with influences in jazz, soul and blues on her more recent releases. She began her career on the New Mickey Mouse Club and then released her first album at the age of 18 years old; showing great talent for such a young singer. Since that release she has sold more than 37 million albums. She is a singer, songwriter and a record producer.
Judy Garland – born June 19, 1922 as Frances Ethel Gumm in the U.S.A., she became an actor and singer in the contralto range. She started out in vaudeville with her two sisters and then acted in movies as a teenager, including the 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer production “The Wizard of Oz” in which she sings her signature song “Over the Rainbow”. Many movies and fifteen years later she made sold-out concert appearances, including Carnegie Hall and also appeared on television. Her two-record album “Judy at Carnegie Hall” won five Grammy Awards and continues to sell to this day. She died of an unintentional drug overdose in 1969 at the age of 47 years. She was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously in 1997.