There’s always been a connection between Gospel and R&B music. Gospel is the mother who goes to church every Sunday while R&B is her offspring who went to the club the night before. That’s because R&B/soul music was birthed from Gospel, which is spiritual Christian music filled with emotion/soul to praise a deity. R&B/soul music kept that same emotion/soul, the only difference is the lyrics, which reflects on human situations and emotions or “secular” topics. Background vocals/singers popular in R&B music came from the gospel tradition of a choir, which are many voices harmonizing while a lead singer accented the choir’s main melody, often adlibbing or “vocal freestyling,” a sound also heard in R&B soul.
Most R&B/soul artists (if not all) were raised in the church and got their vocal stylings from gospel. Whitney Houston, Faith Evans, KeKe Wyatt, Fantasia, Ledisi, and many others are a few examples. The following is a list of just ten artists who have effectively straddled the line between the two closely-related genres.