Today I'm gonna start with women singers, and I'll go to males ad other instruments on other days.
so here we go (this was going to be a top 5 list but after going through my music I realized 1) I don't know a whole ton of female singers and 2) only two of them really inspired me):
1. Simone Simons from symphonic metal band Epica:
Mrs. Simons is one of the most amazing singers I've ever had the pleasure of hearing, who fronts a band that is sadly inconsistent in its material quality. The songs are often dull or blur together, and they have a style they rarely depart from. That said, Simons' voice is automatically the high point of any of them, her being able to shift from a straightforward, somewhat poppy voice to an articulated operatic one and down again to harder edged tone. She's basically the voice I would choose if I could to front a band. She also happens to be my mental image of a perfect-looking woman brought to life and one of my very few celebrity crushes but shhhhh
2. Sonja Kristina from progressive rock band Curved Air:
Curved Air never really got anywhere. They put out seven studio albums of varying quality, but never caught on. They shook up the prog rock scene of the 70's by first having a female lead (which was really weird for such a nerdy genre) and second using a fiddle alongside traditional rock instruments, and giving it the spotlight. A lot of their stuff is pretty dull to me, but they have two exceptional albums, and Kristina delivers the vocals in some strange mix of operatic, spoken word, whispered and almost sultry styles. I really haven't heard anything else like this band or anyone else that sounds like her, able to soar through a ballad or seductively croon through a ten minute epic. Also she's one of my 14 followers on twitter which is pretty sweet.
So yeah I really wanted there to be more, and Amy Lee of Evanescence aswell as Tarja Turunen were both considerations but in the end it was really just these two that got to me the most. I don't expect many to know who they are though lol