K. Michelle poses with her portrait at the listening event for her upcoming album, More Issues Than Vogue.

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The singer reveals five women who come to mind as true icons.

Charli Penn
Mar, 28, 2016

When recording artist K. Michelle recently visited the ESSENCE.com office she talked a lot about the type of woman and artist she strives to be, and even touched on the women who’ve inspired her along her journey.

It wasn’t surprising to learn that at the top of her list was late singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone. “For her strength,” explains K. Michelle, who has always been an outspoken artist unafraid to call it the way she sees it. “She didn't play that.”

Simone wasn’t the only singer on K. Michelle’s mind when the topic of powerful, iconic women came up. “Definitely Mary J. Blige,” she adds. “I love Mary. I just like everything that she stands for and how she's able to make you feel anything she sings.” We second that. Whitney Houston is also among the female music icons the More Issues Than Vogue singer most respects. “I think everybody would have to say, Whitney Houston,” she tells us. “Just the voice alone. You would have to say her. We were all just infatuated with her voice.”

While musically speaking incredible artists like Houston, Simone and Blige have inspired her, K. Michelle has two actresses who give her strength in a different way.

“I love how Phylicia Rashad carries herself,” she tells us. “She's always just been so classy... You know? I really love her. And, Viola Davis. She really is amazing to me, how she has just maneuvered through Hollywood. Everything that she acts in is amazing. She brings it.”