The top female musicians ranked by teenagers’ familiarity and likability scores from Teenage Research Unlimited.
Talk about star-studded lineups. Teenage Research Unlimited, based in Northbrook, Ill., last month released a study analyzing the habits and interests of teens and twentysomethings — including favorite musical artists based on familiarity and likability (2,000 teenagers ages 12 to 19 were polled on 63 names). WWD took a look at the favorite female artists. Most of the top 10 were nominated for Grammy awards this month. Several, such as Fergie, Gwen Stefani and Beyoncé Knowles, have broken away — some temporarily, some apparently for good — from their original bands to carve out solo careers. Among the missing were Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears.
TRU score**: 32
Breaking out on her own has benefited the lead singer of The Black Eyed Peas. Teens found 32-year-old Fergie to be one of the most familiar — and most likable — female singers. She released her debut solo album, “The Dutchess,” last year. It features three U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles and five top 10 hits, including “Glamorous” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” making it the seventh album from a female artist to spawn five top five hits, Billboard said. Fergie continues to receive accolades from the music industry. At the 2007 American Music Awards, Fergie won for Best Pop/Rock Female Artist, and she has been nominated for a 2008 Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance — “Big Girls Don’t Cry (Personal).” Fergie is Allure magazine’s December cover girl.
Rihanna took the 2007 American Music Award for Best Female Artist last month and has recorded hits such as “Shut Up and Drive” and “Unfaithful.” The 19-year-old trendsetter has showed off her fashion flair with different hairstyles and cutting-edge wardrobe choices. In addition to aligning herself with designers such as Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana and Zac Posen, Rihanna walked the runway at the spring 2008 Dsquared fashion show in Milan to her hit single, “Umbrella,” while wearing a Dsquared black slipdress. This year she signed on as the new face of Cover Girl Cosmetics, joining other musical icons such as Queen Latifah, Brandy and Faith Hill. She is Allure magazine’s cover girl in January.
3. BEYONCE KNOWLES
Giorgio Armani told WWD in May: “There is no one today who transcends music, film and fashion in the way that Beyoncé does.” The designer inked a deal with Knowles to become the face — and voice — of his next women’s fragrance, Emporio Armani Diamonds, which launched this fall. The 26-year-old star appears in print and TV advertising for the fragrance, and she sings a song inspired by “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.” She has received two Grammy nominations, one for Record of the Year for “Irreplaceable,” and for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals with Shakira (ranked number nine) for “Beautiful Liar.” Beyoncé performed “Over the Rainbow” on Condé Nast Media Group’s “Movies Rock” special on CBS in December.
4. GWEN STEFANI*
In addition to having just come off her yearlong world tour and being nominated for a Grammy, Stefani, 38, is heading back into the studio to work on a new album with her band, No Doubt. Stefani — mother of Kingston and married to rocker Gavin Rossdale — released her second solo album in December 2006, “The Sweet Escape.” Her Grammy nomination is for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for the album’s title song, featuring Akon. In 2003, Stefani launched her women’s fashion line, called L.A.M.B. The brand has since expanded to include accessories such as sunglasses, footwear and handbags. Jennifer Aniston, Cameron Diaz, Charlize Theron and Mischa Barton all own L.A.M.B. bags. Stefani also released her first fragrance, L, in September.
5. AVRIL LAVIGNE*
In 2002, at just 17 years of age, Canadian-born Avril Lavigne (yes, that’s her real name) released her debut album, “Let Go,” and more than 16 million copies were sold worldwide. She released her most recent album, “The Best Damn Thing,” this year, and it features hits such as “Girlfriend” and “When You’re Gone.” Other popular singles for the now 23-year-old have included “Complicated,” “Sk8er Boi” and “I’m With You.” She is known for her singular sense of style and lyrics. On her official MySpace page, Lavigne maintains that her music genre is Pop/Punk/Rock. In July 2006, Lavigne married fellow Canadian singer Deryck Whibley in California.
Born Ciara Princess Harris in Austin, Tex., this R&B artist was a mere 18 years old when she released her first album, “Goodies,” which produced three hit singles — “1, 2 Step,” “Oh” and “Goodies.” Known as simply Ciara, she originally wanted to be a model. But after seeing Destiny’s Child perform on TV, she decided that music was her future. After collaborating with Missy Elliott on the hit video “Control,” Ciara won her first Grammy in 2006. The 22-year-old artist, whose background is a mixture of Creole, German and Irish heritage, released her second album, “Ciara: The Evolution,” last year, featuring collaborations with artists such as Pharrell Williams and Lil John. She is on tour in the U.K.
7. CARRIE UNDERWOOD
This “American Idol 4” winner, now linked to “Gossip Girl” actor Chace Crawford, has taken the music industry by storm. The only country-pop singer to break the top 10, Underwood released her debut album, “Some Hearts,” in 2005. The multiplatinum record features hits such as “Jesus, Take the Wheel” and her biggest hit, “Before He Cheats.” At the 2007 Country Music Television awards in Nashville in April, Underwood won three awards, including Video of the Year, Female Video of the Year and Video Director of the Year, all for “Before He Cheats.” Companies such as Skechers and Hershey have signed Underwood to represent their brands as a spokeswoman. People magazine named Underwood, 24, one of its “Most Beautiful People” this year. She can be seen on the cover of Glamour magazine’s January issue.
8. CHRISTINA AGUILERA*
Christina Aguilera has had a stellar 2007 and is expecting her first child with husband Jordan Bratman in January. Aguilera, 27, is still riding the wave of her third successful album, “Back to Basics,” which was released in 2006. She has earned 18 Grammy nominations and five Grammy awards. This month, she received a Grammy nod for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals for “Steppin’ Out,” with Tony Bennett. Born in Staten Island, N.Y., Aguilera credits music legends such as Etta James, Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston for inspiring her. In October, she released her own perfume through Procter & Gamble in Europe — it will launch in the U.S. next year. She is on the cover of Marie Claire’s January issue.
After watching Latina pop superstar Shakira dance, the question arises: Where did she get those moves? At an early age, the Colombia-born Shakira took an interest in belly dancing and writing. She has clearly put both talents to good use. The 30-year-old performer, who is known for her distinct voice, has received accolades for her songs, albums and collaborations with other artists for 10 years. She has won two Grammy awards and seven Latin Grammy awards. Two of her most popular songs are “Hips Don’t Lie” and “Whenever, Wherever.” Shakira was Grammy nominated this month for a collaboration with number-three-ranked Knowles for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals for “Beautiful Liar.”
10. NELLY FURTADO
Grammy winner Nelly Furtado is once again in the thick of the awards race. She has received nominations for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “Say It Right” and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for “Give It to Me” with Timbaland and Justin Timberlake. Her other hit songs include “Promiscuous” and “Do It,” both released off her 2006 album, “Loose.” Born in British Columbia, Canada, Furtado, 29, is of Portuguese descent. She told WWD in September that she’s interested in recording an album in Spanish or Portuguese.
SOURCE: TEENAGE RESEARCH UNLIMITED, a youth research firm based in northbrook, ill.; **A TRU SCORE IS DERIVED BY DIVIDING THE PERCENTAGE OF RESPONDENTS WHO INDICATED THAT THEY LIKE AN ARTIST “VERY MUCH” BY THE PERCENTAGE WHO ARE FAMILIAR WITH THAT ARTIST; TRU SCORES ARE BASED ON A PREDETERMINED LIST OF 63 MUSICAL PERFORMERS; TRU COMPILES THE LIST BASED ON ARTISTS’ CONTRIBUTIONS AND RELEVANCE TO THE INDUSTRY AT THE TIME OF THE STUDY; *INDICATES A TIE