We’re back with part two of American Songwriter’s spotlight on “Triple Threat” female artists. These women are established professionals with skills in the fields of singing, writing, and acting.
If you haven’t read part one, you can find that HERE. Read below for part two which lists more of our favorite Triple Threat artists, in no particular order.
She’s an icon in every sense of the word. Grande is adored for her vocal abilities (just check out that whistle register), her confident song lyrics, and even her style (nods to the high ponytail) and social media presence. Before her global success, the pop songstress first stepped into the spotlight with a role in the 2008 Broadway musical 13. Things quickly snowballed for the artist after landing two Nickelodeon television series. She dropped her debut album Yours Truly in 2013 and music has not been the same since.
Often referred to as the youngest of the Jackson clan, which is technically true, Janet Jackson has proved over and over that she is much more than someone’s younger sister. Jackson helped pioneer contemporary R&B music and created a standard of pop excellence that many have attempted to emulate. Along with several hit singles—”Nasty,” “Rhythm Nation,” “That’s the Way Love Goes,” “Together Again,” and “All for You”—the singer has also appeared in several films like Poetic Justice (1993).
As any Swiftie will tell you, Taylor Swift’s staying power lies in her incredible storytelling ability. From her debut, self-titled country album to her rebellious reputation era, Swift is always evolving as a singer/songwriter. In fact, her ability to create cross-genre music not only landed her several prestigious awards but paved the way for other country and pop female singers. Additionally, proving that her craft truly knows no bounds, Swift has appeared in several films like Valentine’s Day (2010) and The Giver (2014).
The Right Excellent Rihanna is a cultural force. Her 2007 mega-hit with rapper Jay-Z, “Umbrella,” made the singer/songwriter a household name and she has only increased her renown since then. Her eight total studio albums have led to nine Grammy Awards for the artist, while the creation of her brand Fenty has given her giant status in the fashion industry. Rihanna’s ventures in acting include roles in Battleship (2012), Home (2015), and Ocean’s 8 (2018).
Welcome to Club Keys. Alicia Keys is a classically trained pianist whose debut album, Songs In A Minor, earned her five Grammys at the 44th Annual Grammy Awards. Her collection of work since then has further elevated the fabric of R&B music. Keys is also an expert collaborator, see “Empire State of Mind” and “My Boo” for reference. Her appearances in Smokin’ Aces (2006) and TV shows like The Voice have also displayed Keys’ range as an artist.
Mary J. Blige
Mary J. Blige might as well be the official officiant of hip-hop and R&B. Her debut album, What’s the 411? is often credited as being a part of the mainstream shift towards these two genres, and the remix of that album further popularized rap in popular culture. Blige is also a renowned actress with several Golden Globe Award and Academy Award nominations, including for her role in Mudbound (2017).
Who could forget Momsen’s role as Cindy Lou Who in the film How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)? Not us. Momsen proved her acting chops early on and continued to display her talent as Jenny Humphrey in the TV series Gossip Girl. Now, Momsen appears to have shifted all of her focus to fronting her rock band, The Pretty Reckless. The band’s fourth album, Death by Rock and Roll, was released in 2021 and we can’t wait for more. Xoxo, American Songwriter.
Ariana Grande photo by Kevin Mazur
Janet Jackson photo by John Phillips/Getty Images
Taylor Swift photo by Republic Records