RB Gospel Music: The Top 5 Artists You Need to Know

Check out this list of the top 5 RB gospel music artists you need to know. From Kirk Franklin to Marvin Sapp, these artists are making waves in the industry and changing the game.


Gospel music is a genre of Christian music that is characterized by its use of strong vocals and bluesy undertones. It is a spiritual and uplifting genre of music that has been popular among African Americans for centuries. In recent years, gospel music has become more popular among mainstream audiences, thanks in part to the success of artists like Kirk Franklin and Karen Clark Sheard.

If you’re looking to get into gospel music, there are a few artists you should know about. Here are five of the top gospel artists you need to know:

1. Kirk Franklin

Kirk Franklin is one of the most successful gospel artists of all time. He is a multi-platinum selling artist who has won multiple Grammys and BET Awards. His signature sound combines traditional gospel with modern R&B and hip-hop elements. Kirk Franklin is also known for his work as a producer and songwriter, having worked withacts like Whitney Houston, Marvin Sapp, and Yolanda Adams.

2. Karen Clark Sheard

Karen Clark Sheard is a legendary gospel singer who got her start as a member of the famed Clark Sisters. She has gone on to have a successful solo career, releasing several acclaimed albums and winning multiple Grammy Awards. Her powerful vocal performances are undeniable; she is truly one of the best voices in gospel music today.

3. James Fortune

James Fortune is a contemporary gospel artist whose music mixes R&B, pop, and hip-hop elements. He is best known for his hit song “I Believe,” which topped the Billboard Gospel chart in 2009. James Fortune has won multiple Stellar Awards and Dove Awards, and he was nominated for a Grammy in 2010.

4. Smokie Norful

Smokie Norful is a Gospel singer and pianist whose soulful voice has earned him comparisons to legends like Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. He has released several successful albums, including 2004’s Nothing Without You which won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album. In addition to his work as a solo artist, Smokie Norful has also written and produced songs for other artists including Yolanda Adams and Vickie Winans.

5 . Tasha Cobbs Leonard

Tasha Cobbs Leonard is a contemporary Gospel singer whose 2013 debut album Grace topped the Billboard Gospel chart. She followed that up with 2016’s One Place Live, which won her a Grammy Award for Best Gospel Album. Tasha Cobbs Leonard’s music combines elements of pop, R&B, and urban contemporary Gospel, making her one of the most exciting voices in Gospel music today

James Cleveland

James Cleveland was an American gospel singer, musician, and composer. Cleveland was a leading figure in the development of the modern gospel sound and is credited with helping to bridge the gap between gospel music and secular music. He was one of the most prominent and influential figures in gospel music during the 1960s and 1970s.

Cleveland was born in Chicago, Illinois, on December 5, 1931. He began his musical career singing with the Caravans, a popular gospel group of the 1950s and 1960s. He went on to lead his own groups, the James Cleveland Singers and the Gospel Music Workshop of America Mass Choir. He also collaborated with many other artists, including Mahalia Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Jessy Dixon, and Clara Ward.

Cleveland’s versatility as a singer, musician, and composer helped to make him one of the most popular and influential figures in gospel music. He was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1993.

Shirley Caesar

Shirley Caesar is a gospel music legend. She has been in the music industry for over six decades and has released over 40 albums. Caesar is known for her soulful voice and her ability to bring the Word of God to life through her music. Her greatest hits include “He Knows Just How Much We Can Bear,” “No Charge,” and “Put Your Hands Together.”

The Clark Sisters

The Clark Sisters are an American gospel vocal group who have enjoyed considerable success since the 1970s. The group is composed of sisters Jackie, Debbie, Twinkie, and Dorinda Clark-Cole. The Clark Sisters have won five Grammy Awards and are considered to be among the most influential acts in contemporary gospel music.

The group began their career singing background vocals for various artists such as Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson. They scored their first major hit in 1973 with the song “Jesus Is a Love Song.” Since then, the Clark Sisters have released a number of successful albums and singles, including “He Gave Me Nothing to Lose” (1977), “You Brought the Sunshine” (1978), and “Victory” (1979).

In recent years, the Clark Sisters have continued to tour and perform to sold-out audiences around the world. They were inducted into the Gospel Music Association’s Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2006.

Marvin Sapp

Marvin Sapp is a gospel singer, songwriter, and musician from Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is the founder and lead singer of the group Commissioned. Sapp has released eleven solo albums and has won three Grammy Awards. His hit songs include “Never Would Have Made It” and “Here I Am.”


When it comes to contemporary RB gospel music, there are a few artists that stand out above the rest. From Kirk Franklin to Tasha Cobbs Leonard, these are the top five RB gospel artists you need to know.

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