Meet JadaGrace. She’s a new singer with a bumpin’ single called “Run Dat Back”. The song’s already garnered some great reaction from radio, pulling in eighteen stations at the CHR format in its very first week. Now, here’s the kicker. She’s only 13 years old. The pint-sized pop singer may just crash into the record books as one of top-five youngest solo females to ever make the top 40 on the radio. She’s technically at 13 years and 6 months at the moment, which would put her in third place. However, she’s still a ways away and needs to gain a significant amount of airplay. Will she make it? We’ll just have to wait and see. For now, let’s see who she is up against as she claws her way onto the charts.
I should point out that the youngest person on this list isn’t actually the youngest female to ever make the pop chart. That record is held by Susan Cowsill, who was 8 years and 5 months old when she hit the top 40 as part of the family band The Cowsills. In 1967, their debut single, “The Rain, The Park and Other Things”, went to #2 on the Hot 100. Now, onto the list of the other four solo females who kept things young and fresh with the music-buying audience.
MARIE OSMOND (13 years, 11 months)
Brothers Donny and “Little” Jimmy may have reached the top 40 as solo artists before her, but the only female Osmond to hit the big time did so with a huge record. Her very first single was on the charts on the very first Radio & Records airplay chart from September 28, 1973. “Paper Roses”, a cover of the Anita Bryant song, peaked at #5 just a day before Osmond’s fourteenth birthday, matching the same position that Bryant hit on the Hot 100 thirteen years earlier. It also went to #1 on Country radio. “Roses” remains her only big solo single. She, along with her brother Donny, would have several other hits as a duo in the mid 70’s, including “I’m Leaving It All Up To You” and “Morning Side Of The Mountain”. She currently hosts a talk show on the Hallmark Channel.
STACY LATTISAW (13 years, 10 months)
From the capital city to the charts, this young lady from Washington, D.C. signed with Cotillion Records by the age of 12 and put out seven albums with the label. Her first album was a dud, but her second album garnered her a lot of attention on Dance and R&B radio, as well as on the CHR chart. The title track from Let Me Be Your Angel became her first crossover hit, peaking at #20 in October 1980. Despite a few other minor top-40 singles on the Hot 100, she never made the mainstream radio chart again, though she continued to chart on the R&B survey until the end of the decade, when her success abruptly cut off. She’s now raising a family and occasionally performing gospel music.
TRACIE SPENCER (12 years, 4 months)
Born in Iowa, Spencer began modeling at an early age before trying out for the show Star Search in the fall of 1986 at 10 years old. She was an immediate hit and won the Female Vocalist category on the competition the next year. She was then signed to Capitol Records at 11, putting out a self-titled album in 1988. Spencer’s debut single for the label was “Symptoms Of True Love”, a pop and dance song that peaked at #35 on the CHR chart in November. When she hit the top 40 at 12 years and 4 months old, she became the youngest solo female to ever hit the charts, holding the record for over twenty years.. Her biggest hit would come three years later, the top ten hit “This House”. Though she’s not recorded any new music in a while, she continues to act and model.
WILLOW SMITH (10 years)
That brings us to our youngest female act to make the top 40. In 2010, Will Smith‘s daughter created a song that went viral. Everyone was listening to it, and, no doubt, bobbing their heads up and down and around. The song “Whip My Hair” gained a huge following and propelled Smith to sign a contract with Roc Nation. “Hair” did especially well in sales, but it also gained some decent airplay, peaking at #27. It entered the top 40 shortly after her tenth birthday. She’s released several singles since her first, but nothing has placed noticeably on the charts. So, call her a one-hit wonder, if you want. She’s still committed to music (for now), most recently
Just missing the list were Little Peggy March (“I Will Follow Him”), Mandy Moore (“Candy”) and Miley Cyrus (“See You Again”). All three had their first hit at the age of 15: Cyrus and March were at 15 years and 1 month; Moore was at 15 years and 5 months.
Who is your favorite female singer to hit the charts at such a tender age? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.