Rock bands are more often than not dominated by male lead vocalists. This does not mean, however, that having a female lead will make the band any less.
Whether pop, pop punk, rock, alternative, or indie is your favorite genre, there are hundreds of famous bands with female lead singers. Female voices stretch from high-pitched to lower in sound, and many bands have achieved both popularity and independence through their sound.
No matter who you are or where you’re from, we have a list of 21 of the greatest and most famous bands with female lead singers to help you find your next anthem.
Tennessee rock band Paramore features lead singer Hayley Williams, who’s been with the band since it formed in 2004. The band’s sound has aged alongside the members without straying from their original pop-punk sound.
Williams’s voice is the center of the band, with backup vocals from the other two male members, Taylor York and Zac Farro. Paramore fans can hear her powerful vocals in their top hits “Misery Business” and “Ain’t It Fun.”
Aside from the two songs, Paramore has singles that appear on the Twilight soundtrack. Those songs are “Decode” and “I Caught Myself.” Also, their eponymous fourth album became their first #1 on the US Billboard 200 chart.
Related: If you like Paramore, you’ll like our post on the greatest female rock stars here.
We cannot have this list without Blondie. The band was formed in 1974 with lead singer Debbie Harry and is known for being one of the most popular music groups of the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Blondie rose to stardom with their songs “Heart of Glass” and “Atomic.” Despite their popularity and four Platinum albums already under their belt, the group disbanded in 1982. They came back together in 1997 and toured around the world.
Since the formation of the band, Blondie has sold more than 40 million records. In 2006, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Harry herself was added to the Rock Walk of Fame.
One of the most iconic rock bands that formed in 1995 was Evanescence, founded by lead singer Amy Lee and Ben Moody, their guitarist. The band became one of the most famous rock and alternative bands during the 2000s.
One of the great things about Evanescence is their blending of traditional music styles, including rock, classical music, alternative, heavy metal, and electronica.
Hits like “Bring Me to Life,” which received two awards, and “My Immortal” and Lee’s ethereal voice gained Evanescence 23 awards, including two Grammys and two Billboards.
4. The Cranberries
From Limerick, Ireland, rock band the Cranberries ruled the alternative rock scene in the 1990s after the band was formed in 1989. The first lead singer was Niall Quinn, but he was replaced by the iconic mezzo-soprano singer Dolores O’Riordan.
They became the first Irish band to reach one billion views on YouTube for their song “Zombie.” Also, as of 2019, the group has sold over 50 million albums worldwide and was one of the best-selling bands of the 1990s.
Sadly, O’Riordan passed away unexpectedly in January 2018 from accidental drowning. After the release of their album fittingly called In the End the year after her death, the Cranberries disbanded.
5. Fleetwood Mac
A household name for all rock fans since their formation in 1967 is Fleetwood Mac. The group formed in London and became popular in America once Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined the band.
The group has had many past members, but the incredible vocals of Stevie Nicks have remained the iconic sound of the group. Her contralto voice is best heard in their 1977 single “Dreams,” which incidentally went to the top of the charts again in 2020 when the song went viral on TikTok.
Fleetwood Mac is one of the world’s best-selling bands, with over 120 million albums sold. Ten years after becoming a band, the group received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in 1998, they were inducted into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame.
Indie pop band Echosmith was formed in 2009. The group consisted of siblings Sydney, Jamie, Noah, and Graham Sierota. Sydney provided the lead vocals for the group.
Later, the eldest sibling, Jamie, left the band. However, Sydney and her other two siblings continued the band and eventually released their 2014 hit single “Cool Kids.” The song peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became their first triple-Platinum hit.
Echosmith has released only two albums with moderate success; however, their strong point is in concert tours. Since their start, they have been on 13 tours all over America.
7. Selena Gomez & The Scene
Everyone knows Selena Gomez as the wild wizard from The Wizards of Waverly Place. However, she broke out into the pop music scene as the frontwoman of her own band, Selena Gomez & The Scene.
Gomez and her band formed in 2008 and released nostalgic hits for all Disney Channel fans, including “Who Says” and “Love You like a Love Song.” They released three top-10 studio albums before separating in 2012.
Despite the short career, Gomez and the Scene received six Teen Choice Awards, including one for each of the aforementioned songs. After separating, Gomez would continue to create more music as a solo artist.
8. Florence & The Machine
Indie rock band Florence and the Machine has become quite well-known since their formation in London in 2007. The band’s name comes from lead vocalist Florence Welch, whose powerful voice has been compared to the earlier mentioned Stevie Nicks and Tori Amos.
Almost all of the Machine’s albums topped the charts, except High as Hope, which still landed at #2. Their musical sound is described as rock and soul, which allowed them to stand out during the 2010s, particularly with songs like “You’ve Got the Love” and “Spectrum (Say My Name).”
After five studio albums and a number of EPs, Florence and the Machine are still active to this day. Their 2022 album Dance Fever is their latest release.
9. Against The Current
From Poughkeepsie, New York, Dan Gow, Will Ferri, and Jeremy Rompala came together to create Against the Current in 2011. Chrissy Costanza would join soon after, and her voice would lead the band to fame.
Aside from singing, Costanza is famously known for her back bends on stage. She does this every performance, and it’s become her trademark move while displaying her incredible vocal range.
Against the Current’s early music style leaned towards pop rock, pop punk, and alternative rock. Their sound has evolved over the years and now includes synth-pop, which the band says is their preferred style.
In 2017, the group collaborated with Riot Games to create “Legends Never Die.” The song was exclusive for the year’s League of Legends World Championship.
10. The Interrupters
Singer-songwriter Aimee Allen helped form the Interrupters in Los Angeles, California, in 2011 with the Bivona brothers Jesse, Justin, and Kevin.
Allen (who goes by Aimee Interrupter in the group) was a solo artist before joining the group, and now she lends her coarse, raspy voice to their ska-infused punk rock music, like “Take Back the Power” and “She’s Kerosene.”
The Interrupters aren’t afraid to discuss mental health problems, and they give people a safe space to express themselves alongside the band. In addition, Allen isn’t afraid to use their platform to produce powerful lyrics that inspire young women.
11. Stand Atlantic
Bonnie Fraser’s high energy and powerful vocals ensure that Stand Atlantic live up to their pop-punk sound. The group was formed in Sydney, Australia, in 2012. Along with being the lead singer, Fraser is also a guitarist for the band.
The group has released three studio albums after signing with Rude Records. Their first single with the label “Coffee at Midnight” received wide acclaim. Other songs from the band you might be familiar with are “Hate Me (Sometimes),” “Deathwish,” and “Sidewinder.”
Most recently, Stand Atlantic released F.E.A.R., their third album. This album surpassed the first and second, landing at #10 on the charts.
12. Tonight Alive
Also from Australia, we have Tonight Alive, which was formed in 2018. Like the Interrupter’s Aimee Allen, Tonight Alive’s lead singer, Jenna McDougall, started as a solo artist. McDougall joined the band after singing demos for the members.
Their debut album, What Are You So Scared Of?, immediately gained commercial success, landing at #15 on Australia’s chart. Their fame continued and extended to the US with their second album, The Other Side. This peaked at #5 in Australia and #8 in the US.
Tonight Alive has had various songs featured in TV series and films. Notable is “The Edge,” which got featured on The Amazing Spider-Man 2 soundtrack.
Pronounced “Paris,” PVRIS formed in 2009 and used to be a post-hardcore rock group named Operation Guillotine. When vocalist Lynn Gunn joined, their sound changed to a blend of electropop and alternative pop rock.
Over the last few years, PVRIS has been expanding their sound, resulting in three charting studio albums, three EPs, and a great many singles featuring Lynn Gunn’s sweet, high vocals.
PVRIS has won several awards for their work, including three Artist of the Year from 2016 to 2018. Gunn also won Vocalist of the Year in 2021 at the Boston Music Awards.
14. New Years Day
From Anaheim, California, the goth band New Years Day started in 2005 by promoting themselves on MySpace due to the limited ways to self-produce music at that time.
Aside from her raspy voice, the lead singer, Ash Costello, is notable for her eye-catching hairstyle—very long locks, half red and half black split right down the middle.
Their strong online presence helped in increasing their popularity after they released their debut album, My Dear, in 2007. This, as well as the second release, did not chart, but Malevolence did, at #45.
New Years Day does not (yet) have a lot of charting songs, but playing at the Vans Warped Tours and traveling across the country with dozens of other metal goth bands have increased their reach.
Lzzy Hale is the voice behind heavy metal band Halestorm. They belong to Atlantic Records and have been active since 1997.
Halestorm is known as a tour-heavy band. They’ve been all over the world touring with some of the world’s most well-known rock bands, including Three Days Grace, Evanescence, New Years Day, and the Pretty Reckless. Many of these bands are known for having female lead singers as well.
Touring aside, Halestorm released five studio albums, two of which ranked #1 on the US rock chart: Into the Wild Life and Vicious. Fan-favorite singles include “I Miss the Misery” and “Uncomfortable.”
16. No Doubt
The current vocalist of pop rock band No Doubt, Gwen Stefani, started out as their backing singer in 1986. After the passing of their original lead vocals, John Spence, in 1987, she took over; and since then, her voice took the band places.
They did not immediately get the popularity that they sought, though; in fact, their first two studio albums were a flop. It wasn’t until their third album, Tragic Kingdom, that they had their breakthrough. The album topped the charts in multiple countries and eventually reached Diamond status.
Featured in the album is one of No Doubt’s greatest single, “Don’t Speak,” which Gwen and her brother, Eric, wrote and based on her breakup with bassist Tony Kanal just before the album was released.
17. Hey Violet
Rena Lovelis has been the lead vocalist for Hey Violet since the band was renamed. Initially, they were the Cherri Bomb, and the lead vocalist was Julia Pierce.
The group wanted their music to be an authentic pop-rock sound, not just hard rock, so they officially became Hey Violet when Pierce left and signed on to Hi or Hey Records. After signing, the group joined 5 Seconds of Summer on their Rock Out with Your Socks Out and Sounds Live Feels Live tour.
This helped them reach a wider audience and pushed their album From the Outside to rank on the US and Australian charts. It peaked at #2 on the Heatseekers Chart and featured two of their greatest singles, “Guys My Age” and “Break My Heart.”
18. Yours Truly
Next up, we have another Australian band, Yours Truly, that’s been topping the charts and landing on many pop-punk playlists. Their lead singer, Mikaila Delgado, gives her fans an energetic pop-punk sound through her powerful vocals.
Yours Truly has been releasing music since 2016 and has only one studio album so far, titled Self Care (2020). The album was well-received in Australia and climbed to #19 on their charts. In 2021, it received a nomination for Best Hard Rock or Heavy Metal Album at the ARIA Music Awards.
The group itself was nominated Best International Breakthrough Artist the same year at the Heavy Music Awards. Yours Truly is still active today, having just released an EP in 2022.
19. Larkin Poe
Consisting of sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell, Tarka Layman, and Kevin McGowan, Larkin Poe has the advantage in this list of having two female vocalists.
An interesting fact about the group is that the sisters are the very distant relatives of the famous writer-poet Edgar Allan Poe. Their band is named after their great-great-great-great-grandfather Larkin Poe, who was a cousin of Edgar Allan.
Dark distant cousin aside, Rebecca and Megan use their southern roots to inspire the lyrics of their blues and folk rock sound and the overall themes of their songs.
Their third and fourth album (Venom & Faith and Self Made Man, respectively) climbed the ranks of Billboard‘s blues album chart to the very top. Following this, Larkin Poe released two more albums, with the latest in 2022.
20. Doll Skin
Schoolmates formed Doll Skin in 2013 with the intent of winning a local band competition. Fronted by Syd Dolezal, the group’s career leaped off the stage and on to the beginnings of fame when they won by a landslide, impressing Megadeth’s bassist, David Ellefson, who was in attendance.
Since then, their blend of punk rock, metal, alternative, and pop sounds has gained a cult following. By 2019, Doll Skin was named one of the best-rising bands under 21 and had won six awards, including Song of the Year for both “Daughter” (2017) and “Mark My Words” (2019).
Sadly, despite the continued increase in popularity, Doll Skin members slowly left to pursue personal projects, leaving just Dolezal. There are plans for a final show sometime in 2023, however.
21. Hey Monday
Cassadee Pope and Mike Gentile created Hey Monday in 2008 after the falling out of their previous band, Blake. They added Elliot James on drums, Alex Lipshaw on guitars, and Michael Moriarty on bass, while Pope fronted the group and Gentile backed the vocals.
Their debut album, Hold on Tight, in 2008 was a commercial success, ranking #11 on Billboard‘s Heatseekers Chart. Their EP two years later also charted: #5 on the alternative and #9 on the rock charts.
As of 2011, Hey Monday went on an extended hiatus. During this time, Pope participated in the third season of The Voice. Her talent was recognized worldwide when she became the first female winner of the competition in 2012.
Summing Up Our List Of Rock Bands With Female Lead Singers
Famous bands with female lead singers span all music genres, often inventing their own unique style, inspiring other women, and creating a legacy for their music.
If you want to get a taste of what female lead vocalists have to offer to the music industry, start with these 21 bands. They are a varied bunch and won’t disappoint.
However, these bands are just a few—there are countless bands fronted by women. Who have we missed out? Let us know, and we’ll add them!