You know the feeling: you hear the first few lines of a familiar refrain, the singer’s opening ad-lib floats in, you get that “oooh, that’s my jam!” feeling, and before you know it your mood has completely shifted, and you’re in a whole new space than you were just a few minutes before. That’s the power of music. It can make our struggles relatable and remind us that we aren’t alone. It can conjure previous periods in our lives, giving us time to reflect on what worked or what we could have done differently. Specific lyrics can provide us with the push to reset and start again. And music can lend us the words to reaffirm ourselves when nothing else can. That’s why a single mom playlist is vital to a single mom’s arsenal. Whether it’s that times are hard and it seems like everything is crashing down around us, or that they’re going well and we want to pat ourselves on the backs, or even that we just need something to help us get hype for another day in the Mother Hood, there’s a song for that. 

So, what’s on our single mom playlist? We’re happy you asked! We polled the Single Mom Defined staff and community for their favorites. We created this list of 15 inspiring songs by artists of color you need to add to your playlist right now, separated into categories based on how you might feel when you listen. Get ready for your daily dose of empowerment. 

The Single Mom Playlist


There are those songs with lyrics that so closely describe what you’re feeling you have to wonder if they were written especially for you. The artist’s struggle feels relatable and helps you feel a little less alone. You may be down at that moment, but you’re fighting to get back up. We love these songs because they remind us to keep fighting.

1. I Look To You by Whitney Houston

There’s something about Whitney Houston’s voice that makes you want to leave all your emotions on the table. Single Mom Defined community member Sabrina H. recommends this one for those days when you feel you can’t push any further. Use this song to remind you to look to Him (your higher power) for strength.

2. I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor

Screaming I WILL SURVIVE at the top of your lungs is so cathartic!  This song is a throwback but a timeless classic about moving on. Use it to remind yourself that you won’t let anything get you down, but you’ll survive and thrive for yourself and your family. Despite your breakups and breakdowns, you’re still guaranteed a breakthrough.

3. Don’t You Forget It by Glenn Lewis

A reminder to hold on to who you are and the dreams you had as a little girl. Times and circumstances may have changed, but you’ll find your way through this trying period. 


The best way to overcome heartbreak and demanding change is to move through it. It’s essential to remember what happened, what went wrong (so we don’t do it again), and what went well (so we can replicate that part). These songs are what we need when we’re feeling reflective and dreaming about all the good that comes next.

4. Optimistic by Sounds of Blackness

“As long as you keep your head to the sky,  you can win. Be optimistic!” Sage advice for any challenging situation, and one of Single Mom Defined Community Member Caprice S.’s favorites for getting motivated.

5. Put Your Records On by Corinne Bailey Rae

We love this gentle reminder that we might fail, not always get things right, and even feel afraid to move forward, but we will eventually find ourselves. 


We love these songs because they feel like a supportive friend or big sister cheering you on as you get back on your feet and back into your groove. Ready for a reset?

6. Hit the Refresh by Voices of Fire

This faith-based message reminds us that God has got it! We can hit the refresh because anything we’ve asked for is already done. What a freeing thought!  (Also, when the soprano section hits that “already, already”! Phew! This song is taking us to church!)

7. Closer by Goapele

Some days, life gets tough, but every day you show up is a day closer to your dreams!

8. I’m Coming Out by Diana Ross

There’s a reason this classic Diana Ross song recommended by Yvonne, mom of a daughter, has been sampled repeatedly. You can feel the energy building from the almost one-minute intro to the second the entire chorus drops. Not only are the words indicating something is about to happen, but the music is, too. And as you’re singing the words, 

“The time has come for me

To break out of the shell

I have to shout

That I am coming out,” 

The sentiment feels more and more possible and more and more authentic.

9. Level Up by Ciara

Level Up by  Ciara is nothing if not motivation to take it to the next level! Keep going so one day you can sing with conviction, “Thank God I never settled; this view is so much better. I’m chilling, I’m winning, like on another level”.


Daily affirmations are a massive part of our daily self-care routines here at Single Mom Defined. The lyrics of these songs are perfect for belting out in front of the mirror, reminding yourself that You. Are. That. Woman! When you already know how amazing you are, or you’re trying to speak it into existence, these are your go-to anthems.

10, Good Morning Gorgeous by Mary J. Blige

This song starts the morning on a good note for Single Mom Defined team member Fawn. Whether you already feel gorgeous or not entirely at your best, this is your morning mantra. Put it on repeat. 

Sometimes you gotta look in the mirror and say, “Good morning, Gorgeous.”

11. Golden by Jill Scott

This song reminds us to be grateful that we’re free from everything that was holding us back before. It may have been tough to go through it, but we are golden now.

12. Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys

The perfect song for when you are on fire, and everything is going your way!

13. You’re Special by Lizzo

Single Mom Defined community member Bey D. feels the words to this song are very helpful and uplifting, and we can’t help but agree. You may be “broken, but you’re still perfect.”

You may be broken, but you’re still perfect.

14, Just Fine by Mary J. Blige

Mary makes her second appearance on our list thanks to Single Mom Defined team member Kim. It’s the one that makes her sing at the top of her lungs in the car on her morning drive. At the beginning of the song, when Mary says, “But it’s something about this joint right here. This joint right here makes me wanna Ooh! Let it go!” She is not lying! Something about this song makes everything in your life feel fine, even just for the four minutes it plays.

15. Run the World (Girls) by Beyoncé

Beyoncé gave us a forever anthem when she released this song. We know that girls and women are strong, resilient leaders, and single moms do it all: working, taking care of our kids, and running our households. Here’s to running the world! 

What are some of your favorite songs to listen to when you want to feel empowered or need an extra boost to get motivated and moving? Which ones would you add to our single mom playlist?

Need another way to feel empowered? Check out our meditation series for single moms.


Not long ago, Heather Hopson lived in the Cayman Islands and hosted a television show. Today, she’s back home in Pittsburgh writing a different type of story as the founder of Motor Mouth Multimedia and Single Mom Defined. Utilizing more than a decade of television news reporting experience, Heather assembles teams to tell diverse stories, provide unique perspectives, and increase the visibility of important issues for local and national clients. In 2018, Heather, inspired by her daughter, produced Single Mom Defined, a photo essay and video series that provides a more accurate definition of single Black motherhood than the one society presents.

Heather obtained a BA in Journalism from Michigan State University, where she served as president of the Delta Zeta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

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