PEOPLE does a deep dive on the catalogue of hits the Real Housewives — and sometimes, Househusbands — have produced during their time on the hit Bravo franchise
Since the premiere of the very first show way back in 2006, the stars of Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise have built up a reputation for being strong, independent women not afraid to speak their minds, chase their dream and toss a glass of wine in one another’s face every now and again.
The Housewives are also known for their original music, parlaying reality TV fame into musical superstardom … with mixed success.
In nearly every city, there’s been at least one Housewife who has stepped into the recording booth to try her hand at a second career as a singer.
Some, like Luann de Lesseps and Kim Zolciak-Biermann, have succeeded in creating a healthy collection of hits. Others, like Erika Girardi (a.k.a. Erika Jayne) and Kandi Burruss, came onto the series with established success in the field.
As of August 2019, there have been 37 songs released by Housewives. That’s enough to have their own Now That’s What I Call Music compilation, twice over
Here’s the definitive (if completely subjective) ranking of every Real Housewives song so far:
37. “I Am Real” — Simon van Kempen (Real Housewives of New York City)
Simon van Kempen, husband of RHONY‘s Alex McCord, was one of the few Househusbands to garner almost as much attention and fame from the Bravo cameras as his wife did. So it shouldn’t have been too much of a shock when he dropped his own single, “I Am Real.” The tune, which van Kempen famously debuted on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen while dressed in his signature red leather pants, had the Australian defending himself from his critics right off the bat. “I am real / I ain’t going to change,” Simon says in the song’s chorus. “Love me or hate me / I don’t give a damn.”
36. “Bump It” — Michaele Salahi (Real Housewives of D.C.)
The Real Housewives of D.C. may have only lasted one season on Bravo, but its most infamous cast member — White House party crasher Michaele Salahi — surely would have had an epic season 2 storyline had they continued. Months after Bravo canceled the 2010 show, Salahi tried to return to the spotlight, dropping the single “Bump It.” The club jam, with its police sirens and talked-through lyrics, never quite stuck. But Salahi would go on to find a spot for herself in the music industry nonetheless, divorcing ex-husband Tareq in September 2011 and marrying Journey guitarist Neal Schon in 2013.
35. “Revelation” — Gretchen Rossi (Real Housewives of Orange County)
Back in August 2010, in between season 5 and 6 of The Real Housewives of Orange County, Gretchen Rossi released her first dance single, “Revelation.” The song’s title may have promised Rossi would be opening her heart up, but really, the reality star was really just addressing how much she was being talked about (an approach already perfected in Lindsay Lohan’s “Rumors”). Sadly, the song didn’t get the radio play Rossi boasted it would in the tune’s lyrics. However, it did give Rossi the confidence to continue pursuing music.
34. “Rockstar” — Melissa Gorga (Real Housewives of New Jersey)
Melissa Gorga doesn’t live a rock star life as a New Jersey mother of three, but she sure knows how to party like one! The Real Housewives of New Jersey star debuted her pop single “Rockstar” during the Bravo show’s fourth season, encouraging listeners to “party in the club until the sun comes up” (like every rock star inevitably does). The tune sadly didn’t live up to Gorga’s other hits, but it still remains a fun listen.
33. “Cry” — Danielle Staub (Real Housewives of New Jersey)
Not long after leaving The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Danielle Staub released her second single, the often-forgotten “Cry.” The slow jam, written again by her collaborator Lori Michaels, found Staub getting real about mental, sexual and physical domestic abuse. “The song is just so full of emotion and victory, and I’m very proud,” Staub told Entertainment Weekly in 2010. She promised then that more music was to come — including a cover of an ’80s song, and a “raspy and raw” Pink-like rock hit, all of which would be wrapped up into a “full EP.” Sadly, that never materialized.
32. “Feel the Rush” — Adriana de Moura (Real Housewives of Miami)
Adriana de Moura didn’t just give The Real Housewives of Miami some of its best moments; she also gave the show its theme song! In 2012, the reality star recorded “Feel the Rush,” a fast-paced jam that RHOM would adapt as the backing music its final two seasons. Produced by Brazilian music producer Silvio Riccheto, “Feel the Rush” is quintessential Miami, with Spanish influences and even shout outs to the city by name. “Come feel the rush / I’ll make you blsuh” de Moura sings. “Miami’s on fire… I love it.”
31. “Google Me” — Kim Zolciak-Biermann (Real Housewives of Atlanta)
Zolciak-Biermann knew she was the talk of the town back in 2011, at the height of her RHOA fame. But for those who weren’t watching the hit Bravo franchise at the time, the reality star had clear instructions. “Research me, you’ll find me, click those keys and Google me!” she sang in the chorus of her second single, “Google Me.” Sadly, the song wasn’t very memorable. Hey, at least it probably helped Zolciak-Biermann’s search engine optimization!
30. “Can’t Wait to Grow Up” — Milania Giudice (Real Housewives of New Jersey)
Milania Giudice came to save pop music in January 2019 with “Can’t Wait to Grow Up,” her first single. With her besties TayTay and Stephenie in tow, Teresa Giudice’s teenager daughter was “chasing checks, chasing dreams, and chasing goals” in the hop dance track, produced and written by Nitt the Gritt. “I can’t wait to grow up / I got plans to blow up / Mama said it ain’t easy but I don’t care, so what?” she sings in the song, referencing her mom and her dad, Joe Giudice. “And our parents told us / don’t be too quick to grow up / Dad said it ain’t easy but I don’t care, so what?” Teresa fully supported her daughter’s move to music, even appearing in the song’s music video. “I think the song is so catchy!” she said on RHONJ. “I really think it’s going to be a No. 1!”
29. “Unbreakable” — Gretchen Rossi (Real Housewives of Orange County)
Rossi brought her diary into the recording studio with her to help her record her third single, “Unbreakable.” The fast-paced number appeared to be a clap back to all her haters — “You did your best/ How hard you tried but/ It don’t even matter/ I am never shattered” — but it turned out to be a tribute to love Slade Smiley’s son, who was going through cancer treatments at the time. “One afternoon he was singing to his dad about the pain he was going through, but he was still so happy and upbeat and it inspired me to write a song about being unbreakable no matter what life throws you,” Rossi told Bravo’s The Daily Dish upon its release in 2012.
28. “Who Gon’ Check Me Boo” – Shereé Whitfield (Real Housewives of Atlanta)
One of the most infamous quotes in Housewives history was born in season 2 of RHOA, when Shereé Whitfield got into a fight with party planner Anthony Shorter. “You better watch yourself before you get checked,” he snapped at her during the argument — a statement that caused Whitfield to snap back, “Who gon’ check me boo?” like a total boss. Fans went crazy, and in 2011, Whitfield took things to the next level by turning the quote into a diss track against costar and frenemy NeNe Leakes. “Before you say anything else to me, go and fix your grill,” she says in the track. “Saying that you’re rich, but it’s just a mirage / Stuntin’ like you a star, you need to quit it girl, stop.”
27. “Wig (Wish I Gave a S—“) — Kim Zolciak-Biermann (Real Housewives of Atlanta)
After years out of the music game, Zolciak-Biermann jumped back into the recording pool in 2018 with “Wig (Wish I Gave a S—)” — a tune she debuted at the Stoli Key West Cocktail Contest. Featuring Zolciak-Biermann’s auto-tuned vocals against a generic electronic beat and lyrics like “K-I-M / I am,” the song never really snatched wigs like one would hope. Still, give it time. The mother of six documented the recording of her latest song in a season of her RHOA spinoff, Don’t Be Tardy.
26. “Haven’t Loved Right” — Kandi Burruss (Real Housewives of Atlanta)
RHOA viewers got to understand the heartbreak star Kandi Burruss felt over the death of her former fiancé A.J. Jewell in her emotional ballad “Haven’t Loved Right.” Though the two had split when Jewell died in October 2009 during a club brawl, his death still left Burruss torn. “I wish I could hold you in my arms again for one more night,” she sings. “And I wish I could be the one you’re in love with just one more time.” Burruss married husband Todd Tucker in 2014.
25. “Nothing Without You” — Gretchen Rossi (Real Housewives of Orange County)
Burruss wasn’t the only one singing about a lost love. In 2009, Rossi dropped the ballad “Nothing Without You,” which she dedicated to ex Jeff Beitzel, who died on September 2008 from a battle with leukemia. “I’ll always long for you / You’re the one who saved me,” she sang in the touching tune. Rossi co-wrote this song with Michelle Featherstone, and while it didn’t become a huge smash, the money it did make went to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) and the Jeff Beitzel Foundation.
24. “Better Late Than Never” — Riley Burruss (Real Housewives of Atlanta)
Following in her mother’s footsteps, Burruss’ daughter Riley released her own song in 2017. The tune is a scathing message to her birth father, Russell “Block” Spencer, whom Burruss described as “the poster boy for deadbeat” in a season 9 episode. Viewers got to see Spencer try to reconnect with his daughter after years of estrangement. And as angry as Riley appeared to be then, she says in the song that she’s found a way to forgive him. “Better late than never is what they say / So I guess I have to forgive you even though you missed my birthday,” Riley sings. “I’m forgiving you even though you hurt me / I’m forgiving you even though you don’t deserve it.”
23. “Never Let Me Go” — Melissa Gorga (Real Housewives of New Jersey)
In June 2013, Gorga released “Never Let Me Go” — yet another dance track in her cannon of bops. This one, with echoes of Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” had Gorga singing to her ride-or-die about staying true through the tough times. Though the song got airtime in RHONJ‘s fourth season, it never caught on as much as Gorga’s first release, “On Display.” Still, listen back and you’ll hear an infectious piece of pop perfection.
22. “You Can’t Control Me” — Jo De La Rosa (Real Housewives of Orange County)
When she wasn’t fighting with ex-boyfriend Slade Smiley, Jo De La Rosa spent a good chunk of energy during her time on the first two seasons of RHOC trying to be a singer. The fruit of that labor – which came out in 2008, two years after she left RHOC – is an album called Unscripted and her single, “You Can’t Control Me.” Though she was split from Smiley at the time, the two had collaborated on the spinoff Date My Ex: Jo & Slade, where Smiley helped her find love. De La Rosa returned the favor with this track, which features her singing about her desire to free herself from a man’s control.
21. “The Time Is Now” — Gretchen Rossi (Real Housewives of Orange County)
De La Rosa may have been ready to kick Smiley to the curb, but Gretchen Rossi had different feelings. The RHOC star began dating Smiley not long after she joined RHOC in 2008. In 2013, she recorded this touching proposal ballad. “I’m ready to spend my life with you,” she sang. “The time is now.” Smiley said yes, but that proposal would be the end of Rossi’s run on RHOC. The two have still yet to tie the knot, prioritizing instead their desire to start a family. The couple welcomed daughter Skylar Gray in July 2019.
20. “Flatline” — Porsha Williams (Real Housewives of Atlanta)
After Porsha Williams’ marriage to Kordell Stewart fell apart, the Atlanta Housewife turned her pain into beautiful music. In 2014, she released her first single, “Flatline,” an emotional R&B jam about the collapse of a long relationship. “You could had let me live / You took the very life from me,” she sang in the song. “With everything I had / I love you till it hurt and now it’s killing me.” Williams’ pipes sold the song, but the reality star hasn’t gotten back in the recording studio. Perhaps a lullaby for her daughter Pilar Jhena?
19. “I Just Wanna” — Melissa Gorga (Real Housewives of New Jersey)
Gorga’s “I Just Wanna,” released in 2012, may not have gotten the RHONJ push that some of her other songs did, but it did get a professionally produced music video . The track itself sounds like it belongs alongside Pitbull’s catalogue (rapper Santino Noir, who guests on the track, makes a perfect substitution for the Miami hype man). And the video has plenty of A+ hairography. Turn the volume up and, like Gorga, dance dance dance ’til you can’t can’t can’t anymore more more.
18. “Girl Code (Don’t Be So Uncool)” — Luann de Lesseps (Real Housewives of New York City)
A fight with costars Carole Radziwill and Heather Thomson during a disastrous trip to Turks and Caicos on season 7 of RHONY inspired de Lesseps’ third single, “Girl Code (Don’t Be So Uncool).” The funky girl power hit called back to de Lesseps’ iconic “Don’t be all, like, uncool” line, and featured de Lesseps’ daughter Victoria on its chorus. A banger.
17. “The Ring Didn’t Mean a Thing” — Kim Zolciak-Biermann and Kandi Burruss (Real Housewives of Atlanta)
RHOA fans were robbed of actually getting a fully produced version of what was originally supposed to be Zolciak-Biermann’s second single, “The Ring Didn’t Mean a Thing,” due to drama between her and its writer, Burruss. Recorded over multiple episodes in RHOA‘s third season, the song was meant to be a clapback to Zolciak-Biermann’s former sugar daddy fiancé, known only on the show as “Big Poppa.” (It’s title was famously coined by Jimmy Kimmel, when Zolciak-Biermann appeared on his ABC talk show with frenemy NeNe Leakes). At first, Zolciak-Biermann hated the track. Eventually, she came around, even performing it live in a memorable club appearance.
16. “Fake People” — Kandi Burruss (Real Housewives of Atlanta)
Always one to channel her frustrations into her music, Burruss used her anger at Williams and Phaedra Parks‘ season 9 shenanigans to inspire her 2018 track “Fake People.” The clap-back track makes it clear that Burruss has no plans for a reconciliation. “I can’t f— with fake people / They always want something for nothing, but they ain’t doing nothing for me,” she sings in the pop jam. “I can’t f— with fake people / Smile in my face no doubt while you plotting on me.”
15. “Closet Freak” — Miss Lawrence (Real Housewives of Atlanta)
After years of hanging in the background, frequent RHOA guest Miss Lawrence stepped into the spotlight in 2011 when Burruss brought the stylist into the studio to record his first single, “Closet Freak.” The empowering dance anthem found Miss Lawrence calling out a closeted lover. “You wanna act like you don’t know me when we’re out in public / but at my house the other day, you were steady callin’ out my name,” Miss Lawrence sang. “I’m not your closet freak.” Though the song wasn’t a major hit, it did bring Miss Lawrence success: Currently, the actor and singer appears on Fox’s Star.
14. “I See You” — Candiace Dillard (Real Housewives of Potomac)
Candiace Dillard couldn’t stop singing the praises of longtime love Chris Bassett at their August 2018 wedding … literally! As a gift for her new husband, the Real Housewives of Potomac star performed a song penned just for him! Co-written with singer/songwriter Veda Whisnant, the love ballad had Dillard paying tribute to her “everything,” whom she proudly called “the one” in the tune’s lyrics. “One things clear, one thing’s true / through it all, I see you,” Dillard sang, her sultry pipes giving the R&B jam depth and heart.
13. “Love Comes Through” — Ronnie and Shamari DeVoe A.K.A. Me and Mari (Real Housewives of Atlanta)
Halfway through her first season as an Atlanta Housewife, Blaque singer Shamari DeVoe and her husband Ronnie DeVoe (of Bell Biv DeVoe fame) released the first single of their new supergroup, Me and Mari. The R&B power couple sure had great chemistry on the sweet 2019 pop duet, which found them boasting about their love. “I can’t imagine me with somebody else,” Ronnie crooned. “I swear to God, I’m glad I found you.”
12. “Feelin’ Jovani” — Luann de Lesseps (Real Housewives of New York City)
Jovani isn’t just a popular fashion house supplying glittery mermaid dresses; it’s also a state of mind! That’s according to Luann de Lesseps, whose fourth single — “Feelin’ Jovani” — paid tribute to the brand. De Lesseps was introduced to Jovani through RHONY cast mate Dorinda Medley in season 10. She became so enamored with the evening wear, as often seen in her #CountessAndFriends cabaret show, that she based her 2019 musical entry around the brand. The result was a catchy club jam and an equally fun music video featuring Andy Cohen and fellow Housewives Cynthia Bailey (RHOA) and Lisa Rinna (RHOBH). Of course, it could also be interpreted as a kiss-off to Medley for heckling her during a cabaret performance.
11. “Real Close” — Danielle Staub ft. Lori Michaels (Real Housewives of New Jersey)
In 2010, Danielle Staub teamed up with lesbian singer Lori Michaels to record her debut single, “Real Close.” The tortured love ballad had Staub and Michaels singing about a relationship in which one person has commitment issues and the other pulls them closer. While many viewed the song as a coming out for Staub, it turns out art didn’t exactly reflect life. Still, she and Michaels did give us an intimate performance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen.
10. “Gone with the Wind Fabulous” — Kenya Moore (Real Housewives of Atlanta)
Following in the footsteps of fellow Atlanta Housewife Whitfield, Moore turned her iconic season 5 clapback into a dance club hit. The 2012 jam had Moore reminding fans that she is “Gone with the Wind fabulous” while encouraging them to “Twirl!” To take it up an extra notch, Moore released a music video mocking her on-camera rivals, Williams and Phaedra Parks. Oh, and she also channelled her inner Beyoncé (or, Kenyoncé) with a “Single Ladies” parody. It was a hilarious move and cemented Moore’s place in reality TV history.
9. “How Many F—s” — Erika Jayne (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills)
To coincide with her first season of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Girardi released a new single under her stage name (Erika Jayne) — letting both her castmates and viewers know that she wouldn’t be letting the drama affect her. It was a bold move from a bold artist, and the dance hit immediately became an anthem among her loyal fans (including Christina Aguilera, who lit the Internet up when she covered the track on her Instagram). Of course, from PantyGate to PuppyGate, Girardi has given plenty of “f—s” when it comes to the show’s battles. But that doesn’t make the song any less fun.
8. “Chic, C’Est La Vie” — Luann de Lesseps (Real Housewives of New York City)
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Countess speaking. We have arrived.” That’s how de Lesseps kicked off her 2011 single, “Chic C’est La Vie.” The tune, “sung” in de Lesseps’ signature spoken word style, is a total campy delight — with a chorus that instantaneously gets lodged in your head. Adding to the fun factor for Housewives fans? The fact that the filming of its video, at The Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey, caused major drama during season when Ramona Singer refused to be a part of it. Cast members Jill Zarin and Kelly Bensimon ended up joining instead, launching 1,000 GIFs in the process.
7. “Coffee and Love” — Ashley Darby (Real Housewives of Potomac)
Potomac Housewife Ashley Darby’s talent was singing when she competed for Miss America in 2012. So it only made sense that she would eventually drop a single of her own. The track, an EDM-pop ballad that she debuted in a 2018 RHOP episode during an open mic night at her restaurant Oz, is an ode to her up-and-down relationship with husband Michael. “We’ve been through it all / but we rise not fall,” she sings in the track, which also features her brother, Cazanova. “Happy you’re my partner in crime.”
6. “On Display” — Melissa Gorga (Real Housewives of New Jersey)
Of all of Gorga’s songs, 2011’s “On Display” (her first) is by far the best. It’s also Gorga’s most well-known track — likely thanks to the fact that everything from the recording of it in the music studio her husband Joe built in their basement to her first live performance in a crowded club was shown on RHONJ. Back then, Gorga singing about feeling the pressures of being in the spotlight seemed like wishful thinking. Now, all these years into her wildly successful run on the show, one can see that she knew more than any of us could have ever predicted. We stan.
5. “Fly Above” — Kandi Burruss (Real Housewives of Atlanta)
Burruss was at the end of her first season on RHOA in 2009 when she released “Fly Above.” The song, a musical version of “When they go low, we go high” if there ever were one, would be an indication of how the Grammy winner would handle herself on the show from that point on. From battles with her mother to her fallout with pal Phaedra Parks, Burruss has always kept her cool. “I fly above all the drama,” she sang in the song’s chorus. “It’s beneath me.”
4. “Money Can’t Buy You Class” — Luann de Lesseps (Real Housewives of New York City)
Money may not be able to buy you class, but it sure did buy de Lesseps her signature song. The Countess released the cheeky dance track in 2010, complete with its very own music video (so scandalous that it became a storyline on RHONY all on its own). Before its release, no one imagined the tune would be the start of a whole singing career for de Lesseps. All that changed, though, with one listen. Like a fine wine, this bop has only gotten better with age.
Who would have thought that Fiber One would be behind one of the biggest Housewives bangers of all time? But that’s exactly what happened in July 2019, when they brought together Williams, Gorga, and RHONY star Sonja Morgan to record a song to help launch their new reworked line of soft-baked bars and brownies, The tongue-in-cheek dance tune had the Housewives giving a nod and a wink to the plastic surgery they’ve had in the past “Always getting work done / tweak it to perfection,” they sang. “Getting work done / keep up if you can!” Plus, RHOC star Tamra Judge and Morgan’s RHONY cast mate Dorinda Medley got in on the action, making cameos in the video. The Pussycat Dolls could never.
2. “XXPEN$IVE” — Erika Jayne (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills)
If there’s one Housewife who has her tongue permanently planted in her check, it’s Girardi. And as proof, look no further than “XXPEN$IVE,” the sassy single (and gorgeous video) she dropped back in 2017 under her music moniker, Erika Jayne. Boasting about her lavish lifestyle in the lyrics, Girardi used the song — produced by Space Primates and co-written by Ferras, Sarah Hudson and Jesse Saint John — to stop haters in their tracks by owning her over-the-top fabulousness completely without apology. It sure worked. And it turns out, the song wasn’t that far from the truth. Girardi has said she spends $40,000 a month to create Erika Jayne. It is expensive to be her!
1. “Tardy for the Party” — Kim Zolciak-Biermann (Real Housewives of Atlanta)
It certainly wasn’t the first of all the Housewives singles, but there’s no denying it’s become the gold standard. Produced by Burruss, the pop jam — which began its life as a country ballad — is downright catchy with a simple message (“Don’t be tardy for the party”) and a chorus designed to permanently lodge itself in your brain. The song even made it to No. 3 on the U. S. iTunes dance chart. Not bad for a tune that most of the other Atlanta Housewives originally laughed off.