There are many talented women making waves in the music industry, and in this blog we tell you about some of our favourites from recent years.
We have created a Spotify playlist to accompany this blog which you can check out here.
Let us know what you think in the comments below and tell us who your favourites are!
Naz on florence welch and LP
Florence Welch needs little introduction, as frontwoman of Florence + the Machine. Renowned for her powerful set of lungs and ability to captivate an audience, I had the pleasure of seeing her perform back in 2012 at Reading Festival, and she did not disappoint.
It was raining and I was cold, but I didn’t care. I remember feeling awestruck as she slowly took the stage and opened with Only If For a Night (first track on Ceremonials). Her presence can only be described as ethereal.
I first discovered Florence + the Machine when their cover of You’ve Got The Love - released on their first album Lungs - was played non-stop on the radio back in 2009. But it wasn’t until I heard Drumming Song that I became obsessed.
In three words, I would describe their sound as dark, emotional, and urgent, which pretty much ticks all the boxes for me. While I love the uniqueness of their sound - particularly the distinctive harp - it’s Florence’s way with words that keeps me listening.
It’s hard to choose my favourite tracks or favourite album because, honestly, I love them all for different reasons. However, here’s a list of the first track that comes to mind from each album: Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) from Lungs (their live acoustic version on KEXP is my favourite), Seven Devils from Ceremonials, and Mother from How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. Listen to our Spotify playlist for more favourites.
Florence Welch happens to be “best friends and writing partner” with the next artist on my list. While both of my favourite artists are talented singers and performers in their own right, I imagined how perfect it would be to hear them both perform together, due to their similarities. Of course, I nearly fell off my chair when I discovered this video of the two performing together in 2010!
I first discovered Laura Pergolizzi, who goes by LP, when Muddy Waters was played on Orange Is The New Black (final scene of Season 4). I have to give credit to my sister for pointing out the song to me and introducing me to LP though, as I was too emotional over Poussey to pay attention to the music.
Muddy Waters is a dark, powerful, and emotional song delivered to perfection by LP. In fact, I ended up choreographing a pole dance routine to Muddy Waters. LP has a distinctively piercing voice and an impressive vocal range that captivates me every time I listen to her music.
Her talents don’t just stop with her voice. She is a poetic and honest lyricist, and has the ability to incorporate the ukulele in her music, without the cutsie vibe that often accompanies ukulele songs. What’s more, LP is a skilful whistler; I didn’t realise just how skilled a whistler she is until I saw her perform live.
I had the pleasure of seeing LP perform at the Dingwalls in Camden about a year ago, and I was blown away by her performance and stage presence. I’ve been to a fair few gigs over the years, and LP definitely places in my top 5.
LP unintentionally gained success as a songwriter, and has written for the likes of Rihanna and the Backstreet Boys. Apparently, the music bosses liked her songs, but didn’t think she cut the mustard as a performer. LP is a born performer, and I’m glad the music people in charge came to their senses - it’s just a shame it wasn’t sooner.
I’m always worried that when I hear a great song by an artist I’ve just discovered that the rest of their music won’t live up to expectations. I’m so pleased this wasn’t the case with LP. Take a listen to her album, Lost On You, which she released earlier this year.
Favourite tracks: Switchblade, Tightrope, Lost On You, and of course Muddy Waters.
Ella on Amy Winehouse and Skin from rock band, skunk anansie
It's hard to condense into a few small paragraphs why Amy Winehouse is on this list, but she has provided huge inspiration to me ever since I was captivated by her single Rehab back in 2006.
Her unique and powerful vocals, loose singing style and jazzy instrumentation brought jazz and soul back firmly into the mainstream. She delivered something fresh and different in a sea of generic bubble-gum pop.
She fused a number of genres to create her unique, signature sound. Her debut album, Frank is stripped down, jazzy and well, frank. I particularly love her blunt and rather humorous track F**k Me Pumps. However, it was her later album, Back to Black which got me into her music, delivering a darker sound, to sing of regret, rehab and relationship breakdown. There isn't a song on there I don’t like.
Not only did Amy have an amazing voice, but she was also a talented songwriter and an understated guitarist. Watching videos of her playing, it seems songwriting and creating music came naturally to her.
Whether you're happy, sad, thoughtful or want to dance, there's an Amy Winehouse song to accompany your mood.
Her death for me was the saddest celebrity death of my lifetime and a devastating loss for music.
Favourite track: Wake Up Alone - it's relatable, emotional, and I love the arpeggioed guitar part.
Skin (Skunk Anansie)
Skin is one of the most energetic and exciting performers I’ve seen. I saw her rocking out in her hometown venue Brixton Academy and again at a very civilised acoustic concert at the Hackney Empire Theatre. Skin has the rare ability to switch from raucous punk rock song, to softer acoustic song flawlessly, demonstrating her versatility.
She is the lead-singer of Skunk Anansie, who have been playing as a band since the 1990’s (with an eight-year-long hiatus in the middle). Stoosh was their first album I heard and remains my favourite.
I have not been disappointed by their newer albums, proving that, unlike some bands who span a long career and go downhill after their heyday, Skunk Anansie never lost their edge. Although never reaching mainstream success, they have a deservedly strong following worldwide.
With unapologetic, loud political songs such as Little Baby Swastika and Intellectualise My Blackness, Skin isn’t afraid to say it how it is. She doesn’t shy away from voicing her opinion on a number of topics such as feminism, LGBT rights and politics, which I highly admire, particularly as many people are afraid to tackle such topics.
Personal favourite track: ‘She’s my heroine’, the way the guitar crashes in - it’s an altogether powerful head banger.
Becky-Sullivan/ Wikimedia Commons
LH Collins/ Wikimedia Commons
Karen Blue/ Flickr
Alterna2/ Wikimedia Commons