Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance

The Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance was a Grammy Award recognizing superior vocal performance by a female in the pop category, the first of which was presented in 1959. It was discontinued after the 2011 Grammy season. The award went to the artist. Singles or tracks only are eligible.

The award has had quite a convoluted history:

  • From 1959 to 1960 there was an award called Best Vocal Performance, Female, which was for work in the pop field
  • In 1961 the award was separated into Best Vocal Performance Single Record Or Track and Best Vocal Performance Album, Female
  • From 1962 to 1963 the awards from the previous year were combined into Best Solo Vocal Performance, Female
  • From 1964 to 1968 the award was called Best Vocal Performance, Female
  • In 1969, the awards were combined and streamlined as the award for Best Contemporary-Pop Vocal Performance, Female
  • From 1970 to 1971 the award was known as Best Contemporary Vocal Performance, Female
  • From 1972 to 1994 the award was known as Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female
  • From 1995 to 2011 it was known as Best Female Pop Vocal Performance

The award was discontinued in 2012 in a major overhaul of Grammy categories. From 2012, all solo performances in the pop category (male, female, and instrumental) were shifted to the newly formed Best Pop Solo Performance category.

Years reflect the year in which the Grammy Awards were presented, for works released in the previous year.

Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance
Awarded forquality female vocal performances in the pop music genre
CountryUnited States
Presented byNational Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
First awarded1959
Last awarded2011


Ella Fitzgerald (1940)
Ella Fitzgerald was the first recipient of the Award, in total she was a five-time award winner and fourth consecutive award winner.
Twelve-time nominee received the most nominations in this category, including five-time award winner Barbra Streisand
Eight-time nominee, including one-time award winner Mariah Carey
Dionne Warwick 20030603
Seven-time nominee, including three-time award winner Dionne Warwick
Whitney Houston Welcome Heroes 7 cropped.JPEG
Six-time nominee, including three-time award winner Whitney Houston
Sheryl Crow 002
Six-time nominee, including one-time award winner Sheryl Crow
Olivia Newton-John Sydney 2008
Six-time nominee, including one-time award winner Olivia Newton-John
Christina Aguilera Sanremo
Five-time nominee, including two-time award winner Christina Aguilera
Sarah McLachlan 29 July 2010
Four-time nominees, including two-time award winner Sarah McLachlan
Three-time nominee, including two-time award winner Norah Jones
Adele 2016
Two-time nominee, including one-time award winner Adele
Kelly Clarkson live in Sudbury 2011
Two-time nominee, including one-time award winner Kelly Clarkson
Nelly Furtado Rock im Park 2006 Zoomin
Two-time nominee, including one-time award winner Nelly Furtado. She is the last Canadian winner and nominee.
Carly Simon - 1978
Six-time nominee Carly Simon
The Monster Ball - Bad Romance revamped12
2011 winner for Bad Romance, Lady Gaga
Pink 3
Four-time nominee Pink
Katy Perry @ Campo Pequeno 01
Three-time nominee Katy Perry
Cyndi Lauper2 cropped
Two-time nominee Cyndi Lauper
Sara Bareilles at the Warfield
Two-time nominee Sara Bareilles
Rickie Lee Jones at 3 Rivers
One-time nominee Rickie Lee Jones
Year Performing artist Work Nominees Ref.
1959 Ella Fitzgerald Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Irving Berlin Songbook [1]
1960 Ella Fitzgerald "But Not for Me" [2]
Ella Fitzgerald "Mack the Knife (Live)" [3]
Ella Fitzgerald Mack the Knife [3]
1962 Judy Garland Judy at Carnegie Hall [4]
1963 Ella Fitzgerald Ella Swings Brightly with Nelson [5]
1964 Barbra Streisand The Barbra Streisand Album [6]
1965 Barbra Streisand "People" [7]
1966 Barbra Streisand My Name Is Barbra
1967 Eydie Gormé "If He Walked into My Life Today"
1968 Bobbie Gentry "Ode to Billie Joe" [8]
1969 Dionne Warwick "Do You Know the Way to San Jose"
1970 Peggy Lee "Is That All There Is?" [9]
1971 Dionne Warwick I'll Never Fall in Love Again [10]
1972 Carole King Tapestry [11]
1973 Helen Reddy "I Am Woman" [12]
1974 Roberta Flack "Killing Me Softly with His Song" [13]
1975 Olivia Newton-John "I Honestly Love You"
1976 Janis Ian "At Seventeen" [14]
1977 Linda Ronstadt Hasten Down the Wind [15]
1978 Barbra Streisand "Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)" [16]
1979 Anne Murray "You Needed Me" [17]
1980 Dionne Warwick "I'll Never Love This Way Again" [18]
1981 Bette Midler "The Rose" [18]
1982 Lena Horne Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music [18]
1983 Melissa Manchester "You Should Hear How She Talks About You" [18]
1984 Irene Cara "Flashdance... What a Feeling" [18]
1985 Tina Turner "What's Love Got to Do with It" [18]
1986 Whitney Houston "Saving All My Love for You" [18]
1987 Barbra Streisand The Broadway Album [18]
1988 Whitney Houston "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" [18]
1989 Tracy Chapman "Fast Car" [18]
1990 Bonnie Raitt Nick of Time [18]
1991 Mariah Carey "Vision of Love" [18]
1992 Bonnie Raitt "Something to Talk About" [18]
1993 k.d. lang "Constant Craving" [18]
1994 Whitney Houston "I Will Always Love You" [18]
1995 Sheryl Crow "All I Wanna Do" [18]
1996 Annie Lennox "No More I Love You's" [18]
1997 Toni Braxton "Un-Break My Heart" [18]
1998 Sarah McLachlan "Building a Mystery" [18]
1999 Celine Dion "My Heart Will Go On" [18]
2000 Sarah McLachlan "I Will Remember You (Live)" [18]
2001 Macy Gray "I Try" [18]
2002 Nelly Furtado "I'm Like a Bird" [18]
2003 Norah Jones "Don't Know Why" [18]
2004 Christina Aguilera "Beautiful" [18]
2005 Norah Jones "Sunrise" [18]
2006 Kelly Clarkson "Since U Been Gone" [18]
2007 Christina Aguilera "Ain't No Other Man" [18]
2008 Amy Winehouse "Rehab" [18]
2009 Adele "Chasing Pavements" [18]
2010 Beyoncé "Halo" [19]
2011 Lady Gaga "Bad Romance" [20]

Category facts

Most Wins in Category
Rank 1st 2nd 3rd
Artist Ella Fitzgerald
Barbra Streisand
Dionne Warwick
Whitney Houston
Sarah McLachlan
Bonnie Raitt
Norah Jones
Christina Aguilera
Total Wins 5 wins 3 wins 2 wins
Most Nominations
Rank 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
Artist Barbra Streisand Peggy Lee
Linda Ronstadt
Mariah Carey
Ella Fitzgerald Olivia Newton-John
Dionne Warwick
Carly Simon
Whitney Houston
Sheryl Crow
Bonnie Raitt
Christina Aguilera
Donna Summer
Celine Dion
Sarah McLachlan
Joni Mitchell
Total Nominations 12 Nominations 8 nominations 7 nominations 6 nominations 5 nominations 4 nominations
Other facts
  • Ella Fitzgerald and Barbra Streisand received the most consecutive wins in this category with 3 (1959-1961 & 1964-1966), respectively.
  • Mariah Carey received the most consecutive nominations in this category with 6 (1991-1996), winning once for "Vision of Love".
  • Beyoncé is the only artist in this category to be nominated for performing different versions of the same song, for studio version and live version of "Halo", winning for the studio version of this song in 2010.
  • Ella Fitzgerald's "Mack The Knife" and Sarah McLachlan's "I Will Remember You" are the only 2 performances of live songs to win in this category.
  • Lady Gaga is the last recipient of the award in this category. It was discontinued and replaced with the gender-neutral award Best Pop Solo Performance the following year.

Contemporary (R&R) Performance

In 1966 the Recording Academy established a similar, but different, category in the Pop Field for Best Contemporary (rock & roll) Performances. The category went through a number of changes before being discontinued after the 1968 awards.


  1. ^ "Grammy Awards 1959 (May)". IndiaServer. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
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  3. ^ a b "Grammy Awards 1961". IndiaServer.
  4. ^ "Grammy Awards 1962". IndiaServer.
  5. ^ "Grammy Awards 1963". IndiaServer.
  6. ^ "Grammy Awards 1963". IndiaServer.
  7. ^ "Grammy Awards 1965". IndiaServer.
  8. ^ "Grammy Awards 1968". IndiaServer.
  9. ^ "Grammy Awards 1970". IndiaServer.
  10. ^ "Grammy Awards 1971". IndiaServer.
  11. ^ "Grammy Awards 1972". IndiaServer.
  12. ^ "Grammy Awards 1973". IndiaServer.
  13. ^ "Grammy Awards 1974". IndiaServer.
  14. ^ "Grammy Awards 1976". IndiaServer.
  15. ^ "Grammy Awards 1977". IndiaServer.
  16. ^ "Grammy Awards 1978". IndiaServer.
  17. ^ "Grammy Awards 1979". IndiaServer.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad "Grammy Awards: Best Pop Vocal Performance – Female". Rock on the Net. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
  19. ^ "Nominees And Winners: Best Female Pop Vocal Performance". Retrieved 20 July 2011.
  20. ^ "Nominees And Winners: Best Female Pop Vocal Performance". Retrieved 20 July 2011.
Building a Mystery

"Building a Mystery" is a song by Sarah McLachlan, from her multi-platinum album Surfacing, first released in 1997. At a live performance, Sarah explains the song as being "basically about the fact that we all... have insecurities to hide, and we often do that by putting on a facade." She also goes on to say that "unfortunately, if we just be who we are, that's usually the more attractive and beautiful thing".A fan favourite, the song was an immediate Top-40, Soft AC, and Hot AC hit which paved the grounds for her future songs "Sweet Surrender", "Adia", and "Angel", all from the Surfacing album. "Building a Mystery" debuted at number 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early September 1997, and peaked at number 13 a month later.

The album version of "Building a Mystery," and the live albums Afterglow Live and Mirrorball contain the line, "A beautiful fucked up man." The radio version replaces this line with "A beautiful but strange man" or the original lyric garbled beyond recognition, and during performances on radio or television, Sarah sings the line "A beautiful messed up man."

The video features a man, described as McLachlan's boyfriend, taking points of light from wherever he travels and stitching some sort of garment. When McLachlan investigates in his absence, she finds that he has been assembling a skirt so decorated as to be lit with stars. Matt Mahurin directed the video, but later disowned it with the Allen Smithee credit.

The song was her biggest chart hit in Canada, spending eight weeks at #1 on the RPM charts and ranking as the #1 single of the year in the magazine's year end chart. It won the Juno Award for Single of the Year in 1998.

The track also made McLachlan the recipient of the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the Grammy Awards of 1998, beating Mariah Carey, Shawn Colvin, Paula Cole and Jewel.The video for the song features Moist front man David Usher.

It was #91 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 1990s.

But Not for Me (song)

"But Not for Me" is a popular song originally written by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin for the musical Girl Crazy (1930) and sung by Ginger Rogers.Ella Fitzgerald's 1959 version of "But Not for Me," which appeared on Ella Fitzgerald Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Songbook, won the 1960 Grammy Award for Best Female Vocal Performance.Singer Ketty Lester remade "But Not for Me" with a gospel arrangement. The song reached No. 10 on the US Adult Contemporary chart, No. 41 on the Billboard Top 40, and No. 45 in the UK in 1962.

Constant Craving

"Constant Craving" is a song written by k.d. lang and Ben Mink, and performed by k.d. lang on her album Ingénue. The song first made the charts in 1992, and won her the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1993 and an MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video.

"Constant Craving" peaked at number eight on Canada's RPM Top Singles chart and number 38 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It also reached number two on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart. In the UK, the song was initially a modest hit when released in 1992, but after being re-released in 1993 in the wake of its American success, it peaked at number 15 on the UK Singles Chart in its fourth week.

Don't Know Why

"Don't Know Why" is a song written and composed by Jesse Harris that originally appeared on his 1999 album, Jesse Harris & the Ferdinandos. A cover of it was the first single by American singer Norah Jones from her debut studio album Come Away with Me (2002). Jones's version peaked at No. 30 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and was a critical success, helping establish her as a respected new artist, and subsequently her album sold extremely well. The single went on to win three Grammy Awards in 2003 for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. It remains Jones's biggest hit single in the United States to date, and her only one to reach the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100. The single was also a hit internationally and reached top 10 in several countries. The song charted at 459 in Blender magazine's 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born.A music video directed by Anastasia Simone and Ian Spencer was released in 2002.

Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Irving Berlin Song Book

Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Irving Berlin Song Book is a 1958 studio album by the American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, with a studio orchestra conducted and arranged by Paul Weston, focusing on the songs of Irving Berlin. It was part of the popular and influential Songbook series.

Ella Swings Brightly with Nelson

Ella Swings Brightly with Nelson is a 1962 studio album by the American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, accompanied by an orchestra arranged by Nelson Riddle.

This album is one of a pair that Fitzgerald and Riddle recorded and released in 1962, the other being Ella Swings Gently with Nelson. Fitzgerald and Riddle had last worked together on her 1959 album Ella Fitzgerald Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Songbook.Fitzgerald's performance on this album won her the Grammy Award for Best Vocal Performance, Female at the 5th Annual Grammy Awards, this was Fitzgerald's seventh Grammy.

Hasten Down the Wind

Hasten Down the Wind is the Grammy Award-winning seventh studio album by singer/songwriter/producer Linda Ronstadt. Released in 1976, it became her third straight million-selling album. Ronstadt was the first female artist in history to accomplish this feat. The album earned her a Grammy Award for 'Best Pop Vocal Performance - Female' in 1977, her second of 13 Grammys. It represented a slight departure from 1974's Heart Like a Wheel and 1975's Prisoner in Disguise in that she chose to showcase new songwriters over the traditional country rock sound she had been producing up to that point. A more serious and poignant album than its predecessors, it won critical acclaim.The album showcased songs from artists such as Warren Zevon ("Hasten Down the Wind") and Karla Bonoff ("Someone to Lay Down Beside Me"), both of whom would soon be making a name for themselves in the singer-songwriter world. The album included a cover of a cover: "The Tattler" by Washington Phillips, which Ry Cooder had re-arranged for his 1974 album Paradise and Lunch. A reworking of the late Patsy Cline's classic "Crazy" was a Top 10 Country hit for Ronstadt in early 1977.

Her third album to go platinum, Hasten Down the Wind spent several weeks in the top three of the Billboard album charts. It was also the second of four number 1 Country albums for her.

I'll Never Fall in Love Again (album)

I'll Never Fall in Love Again is the thirteenth studio album by American singer Dionne Warwick, released in 1970 on the Scepter label. It was produced by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. In 1971, the album won Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

I'll Never Love This Way Again

"I'll Never Love This Way Again" is a Grammy Award-winning, Gold-certified 1979 hit recorded by American singer Dionne Warwick. The song was composed by Richard Kerr (music) and Will Jennings (lyrics) and produced by Arista labelmate Barry Manilow. The hit song was recorded for Warwick's first Arista label album titled Dionne (1979). It had been recorded by Kerr and also by Cheryl Ladd a year earlier.

The song was Warwick's first single release on Arista after an unsuccessful tenure at Warner Bros. Records. The song brought Warwick renewed popularity when it reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #13 on the Billboard R&B Chart. In Canada, "I'll Never Love This Way Again" peaked at #6. The song won Warwick a 1980 Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. The tune was certified by the RIAA as Gold for sales of over 1 million copies and helped her Arista debut album, Dionne, be certified by the RIAA as Platinum for album sales of over 1 million copies.

The song was first recorded by Richard Kerr himself for his 1978 album Welcome To The Club as "I Know I'll Never Love This Way Again". Using the same title, the song was soon covered by Cheryl Ladd for her 1978 eponymous debut album. "I'll Never Love This Way Again" has also been recorded by Tom Jones, Billie Jo Spears, The Nolans, Regine Velasquez, Gary Valenciano, and Jona Viray.

The song has been also been recorded in several different language versions:

Danish as "Det sker kun én gang i mit liv" by Peter Belli

Dutch as "Vergeet jouw wereld" by André Hazes

Finnish as "En Näin Voi Muita Rakastaa" by Marion Rung

German as "Ich weiß, so lieben kann ich niemals mehr" by Margot Werner.

Hungarian as "Így Még Senkit Nem Szerettem Én" by Korda György

Italian as "Non mi innamoro più" by Catherine Spaak and Johnny Dorelli and "Io dio io re" by Christian De Sica.

Spanish as "Como te Amé" by Yuri and La Lupe.

I'm Like a Bird

"I'm Like a Bird" is a song written by Canadian singer-songwriter Nelly Furtado, and produced by Gerald Eaton and Brian West, as the first single from her first album, Whoa, Nelly!

It was one of the most successful singles of 2001, peaking at number one on Canada's MuchMusic chart, as well as number two in Australia and New Zealand, number five in the United Kingdom, and number nine in the United States.

The song received very positive reviews from music critics for Furtado's singing and the empowering lyrics, and became one of the most critically acclaimed songs of 2001. Many also consider it to be her signature song; Furtado herself commented "There's a simplicity about it that I love," and "It's my freedom song." The song was nominated for the Grammy Award for Song of the Year and won the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, making Furtado the first female act to win the award for her debut single since Mariah Carey did so ten years earlier and the last to be awarded to a Canadian artist winner in the category. It also won the Juno Award for Single of the Year.

I Honestly Love You

"I Honestly Love You" (first released in Australia as "I Love You, I Honestly Love You", per its chorus) was a worldwide pop hit single for Olivia Newton-John in 1974. The song was Newton-John's first number-one single in the United States and Canada.

Released on the Long Live Love album in the United Kingdom by EMI, it was eventually released on the album If You Love Me, Let Me Know in the United States on MCA. The song was written by Jeff Barry and the Australian composer Peter Allen; the latter recorded it around the same time on his album Continental American. It also appears in the musical about Allen's life, The Boy from Oz. VH1 placed the song at No. 11 on its "40 Most Softsational Soft-Rock Songs" list. The song won Newton-John both the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 17th Grammy Awards. Andy Williams released a version in 1974 on his album, You Lay So Easy on My Mind.

A snippet of the song plays over Chief Brody's radio in the second shark attack in Jaws, moments before Alex Kitner and Pippet the dog disappear beneath the waves.

I Will Remember You (Sarah McLachlan song)

"I Will Remember You" is a song written by Sarah McLachlan, Séamus Egan and Dave Merenda. The song first appeared on the soundtrack for the movie The Brothers McMullen in 1995 and 1996 where it peaked at #65 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart & #10 in Canada and was featured on her remix album Rarities, B-Sides and Other Stuff. The original inspiration came from Seamus Egan's instrumental song, "Weep Not for the Memories", which appeared on his album A Week in January (1990). McLachlan and Merenda added lyrics and modified the melody for her version. It was re-released and became a hit when McLachlan released a live version of the song on her 1999 album Mirrorball placing at #14 in the US on July 20, 1999, after reaching the Top 40 on June 8 and it peaked again at #10 in Canada.

The live version of "I Will Remember You" (from 1999's Mirrorball) earned McLachlan her second Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 2000 (after winning for "Building a Mystery" in 1998 and being nominated for "Adia" in 1999).The Rarities version of the song has three verses, the first of which is omitted during live performances (as heard on Mirrorball).

Sarah McLachlan performed this song during an "in memoriam" slide show at the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards, held on September 20, 2009.

Is That All There Is?

"Is That All There Is?", a song written by American songwriting team Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller during the 1960s, became a hit for American singer Peggy Lee and an award winner from her album of the same title in November 1969. The song was originally performed by Georgia Brown in May 1967 for a television special. It was first recorded by disc jockey Dan Daniel in March 1968, but this was an unauthorized recording that, while played on Daniels' own radio show, went unissued at the songwriters' request. The first authorized recording was by Leslie Uggams in August 1968. Then came the hit Peggy Lee version in August 1969, followed by Guy Lombardo in 1969 and Tony Bennett on 22 December 1969.Peggy Lee's version reached number 11 on the U.S. pop singles chart—becoming her first Top 40 pop hit since "Fever" eleven years earlier—and doing even better on the adult contemporary scene, topping that Billboard chart. It won Lee the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, and then later was named to the Grammy Hall of Fame.

The orchestral arrangement on the song was composed by Randy Newman, who also conducted the orchestra.

My Name Is Barbra

My Name Is Barbra is the first of two studio album tie-ins to Barbra Streisand's Emmy Award-winning CBS-TV debut My Name Is Barbra television special, which aired on April 28, 1965, choreographed by Joe Layton. Barbra's brother Sheldon shot the front cover photograph when she was 5 years-old.

The album was certified gold and peaked at #2 on the US charts.

A digitally restored / remastered CD was released.

Nick of Time (album)

Nick of Time is the 10th album by the American singer Bonnie Raitt, released on March 21, 1989.

Nick of Time topped the Billboard 200 chart, selling five million copies, and won three Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, which was presented to Raitt & producer Don Was. In 2003, the album was ranked number 230 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

People (Barbra Streisand album)

People is the title of Barbra Streisand's fourth solo studio album which was released in September 1964. The title track was a newly recorded version of the hit song from the Broadway musical Funny Girl in which Streisand starred.

The album became the first of Streisand's albums to hit #1 on the Billboard album chart, spending five weeks in the top spot; it was also certified Platinum. It was re-released in the UK on the CBS Hallmark Series label in 1966 with different artwork.In 2017, the album was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or artistically significant."

Sunrise (Norah Jones song)

"Sunrise" is the lead single of Norah Jones' multi-platinum album Feels like Home. It reached number four in Canada and number 30 in the United Kingdom. Despite failing to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, the single was certified Gold by the RIAA for sales of 500,000 copies. The song won Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 2005 Grammy Awards. In the same year, it was featured in Because of Winn-Dixie.

The Barbra Streisand Album

The Barbra Streisand Album is the debut album by Barbra Streisand, released February 25, 1963, on Columbia Records, catalogue CL 2007 in mono and CS 8807 in stereo. It peaked at #9 on the Billboard pop albums chart, and has been certified a gold album by the RIAA.

The album won Grammy awards for Album of the Year and Best Female Vocal Performance. In January 2006 the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

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