When listening to a song, few people actively consider how many minds it took to make the masterpiece pouring into their ears. Some might assume that a vocalist and a musician or two who know their way around some mixing equipment is all it takes to make a hit – and that may be true in some cases – but in reality, it takes a village to make music, and not everyone always gets their fair credit. Thanks to the work of Black female producers and artists like Aretha Franklin, more creatives are being recognized for their efforts across the industry.

Like the late Queen of Soul, many other famous singers have learned how to produce their own beats. Beyoncé, for one, has an impressive discography as a beatmaker, as does Missy Elliott. Besides the names you already know, there are several others whose contributions have made listening a more satisfying experience in several genres.

Black Female Producers You Need to Know About

We’ve compiled a list of the Black female producers you should have on your radar right now; who knows, they might have even produced your favorite song!

Sylvia Robinson

One of Robinson’s biggest achievements in her decades-long career was co-founding Sugar Hill Records in 1979, and she was also a driving force behind the early days of hip-hop. “Rapper’s Delight,” one of the first mainstream rap tracks, boasts production from the Harlem native, who died at age 76 in 2011. 1982’s “The Message” was also produced by Robinson and Grandmaster Melle Mel, which remains influential for today’s artists.


Black Female Producers pictured: WondaGurl
(Photo by MICHAEL TRAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Hailing from Canada is WondaGurl, who was running laps around the competition as early as 16. As a teenager, she worked with Jay-Z on his hit song, “Crown,” leading her to collaborate with the likes of Rihanna (“Bitch Better Have My Money”), Ab-Soul (“Braille”) and Travis Scott (“Antidote”). At the 2021 Juno Awards, the rising star took home the Jack Richardson Producer of the Year prize for working on Pop Smoke’s “Aim for the Moon” and the JackBoys’ “Gang Gang” with Sheck Wes.

Sonia Pottinger

Another Black female producer music lovers should be educated on is Sonia Pottinger. The Jamaican reggae icon passed away in 2010 at 79, following a long life full of creative expression. She was the first female Jamaican record producer, lending her talents to the industry from the mid-60s to the mid-80s. Artists whose albums she worked on include Bob Andy, Marcia Griffiths, Big Youth, U Roy and Culture. Many Jamaican icons, such as Judy Mowatt and Tommy Cowan attended her funeral.

Ester Dean

Black Female Producers pictured: Ester Dean
(Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

42-year-old Ester Dean is a woman of many talents, from acting to producing. You might recognize her from the Pitch Perfect movie franchise, but she’s also voiced characters in Rio and the Trolls cinematic universe. When it comes to production, Dean is a wiz in the studio, working on hits like “Letting Go (Dutty Love)” from Sean Kingston and Nicki Minaj and Flo Rida’s “Jump” featuring Nelly Furtado.

Talia Goddess

Black Female Producers pictured: Talia Goddess
(Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for DIESEL)

As her name suggests, Goddess has a knack for creating ethereal sounds that draw you in. Her rise to fame began when she was still a teen, and these days, she spreads her energy across numerous creative facets, from producing and DJing to modeling and showing up as a leader in her community. Goddess comes from East Flatbush, Brooklyn, and certainly doesn’t let her young age stop her from chasing after her dreams in the music industry and beyond.

Denise De’ion

Black Female Producers pictured: Denise De'ion
(Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images)

Another Black female producer who was born in Canada is Denise De’ion, who’s known for being “persistent, playful and passionate.” She’s been honing her skills as a beatmaker since 2007, already putting in work as a singer/songwriter when she was having a hard time finding music to go with her lyrics. De’ion blends many genres in her songs, including R&B, pop, Caribbean and hip-hop to curate a vibe that’s totally unique to her.

Black Female Artists Who Also Produce Music

Janet Jackson

Much like her late brother Michael, Janet Jackson was best known as a singer and performer, but the siblings both had a knack for producing music too. The “Black Cat” songstress co-produced her 1986 LP, Control, marking her first No. 1 debut on the Billboard 200. Her next release, Rhythm Nation 1814 was also co-produced by Jackson in tandem with James Harris III and Terry Lewis in 1989 before the trio joined forces again in 1993 for Janet.


Seeing as she’s had aspirations of being a superstar from a young age, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Beyoncé has produced some of her own music. Even in the Destiny’s Child days the mother of three provided more than just vocals on songs like “2 Step,” “Brown Eyes” and “Dance with Me.” More recently, Queen B worked her magic on the Cowboy Carter single, “16 Carriages” and the Renaissance hit, “Church Girl.”

Aretha Franklin

Black Female Producers pictured: Aretha Franklin
(Mychal Watts/Getty Images)

The late Aretha Franklin’s powerhouse vocals still command R-E-S-P-E-C-T to this day, but we can’t forget her other contributions to music. If it weren’t for the Memphis native’s efforts to be credited for her production work in songs in the 60s, many of today’s Black female producers and singers wouldn’t be getting their flowers either.

Missy Elliott

Today’s femcees give credit where it’s due to Missy Elliott, as her career as a rapper paved the way for them to shine. Besides crafting catchy bars on “Get Ur Freak On” and “Work It,” the Virginia-born entertainer is also a renowned producer whose been instrumental in crafting hit after hit since the early ’90s. Her discography starts with names like Raven-Symoné, Jodeci and No Doubt. By the 2000s, Elliott was booked and busy crafting her albums while working with the likes of Aaliyah, Monica, Ciara and Jazmine Sullivan.

Erykah Badu

Badu produced her debut album, Baduzim, along with the help of Madukwu, N’Dambi, Bob Power, Ike Lee III, Ron Carter and the Roots. From 1997 on her sound has influenced others like Summer Walker and Rihanna to bend various genres together. Her 2000 LP, Mama’s Gun was another huge success. On that, Badu worked on production with the help of James Poyser, Questlove, Jay Dee, Stephen Marley and others.

FKA Twigs

FKA Twigs is in a lane entirely of her own, and she’s amassed a large fanbase though she’s only shared two LPs and one mixtape. Her 2019 project, Magdalene was pouring over with emotion, the lyrics reflecting on her public breakup from Robert Pattinson, among other sensitive topics. Besides giving us beautiful vocals, Twigs also produced “Fallen Alien” with Nicolas Jaar and “Mirrored Heart” in tandem with Koreless.