To call myself an “artist” would be a massive stretch. Creative? Yes. Artist? Ehh. If you count off-pitch sing-in-the-shower sessions and my innate ability to doodle the f*ck out of a new notebook, then, yes, maybe I am an artist.
I can’t sing. I simply can’t. I want a phenomenal voice, like really bad. But, I also want my college loans to disappear. We can’t always get what we want. My best voice is found behind the constraints of my laptop saturated beneath my QWERTY keyboard. I’ll leave the singing to the real talent.
This post isn’t about me though – shocker!
Lately, I’ve realized my Spotify has been packed with super amazingly talented women who sing with a purpose, not just to appeal to the masses. Women who are bad ass and deserve praise and recognition for their brilliance.
**I am not a music critic nor am I trying to be with this post. Just fangirling!**
Women who you NEED to add to your music playlist ASAP:
If you follow me on Snap, you probably hear some song off SZA’s new album Ctrl playing in the background. I’m literally obsessed. Her voice is raspy and distinct – but don’t we all secretly LOVE raspy voices? Like, ugh, lost my voice last night I sound like a man!! *but I secretly want my voice to sound like this all of the time*
“I’m talking a lot of grimy shit, but it’s truth,” she tells Pitchfork. PREACH GIRL. This “grimy shit” she speaks of has turned into an incredible set of R&B tracks that must be added to your queue.
My faves: Prom, Go Gina, Supermodel, Drew Barrymore (released on an earlier EP)
Referred to as a “dark pop” R&B artist, Jennifer Banks brings an interesting edge to the pop world with her latest, The Altar and previous breakthrough album, Goddess. Both album titles connote a “bow down to me” type of attitude, but I love every second of it. It’s not coming from an obnoxious place, it’s coming from a woman who has bared the shitty parts of life, overcame it, and looks to inspire other people by sharing her story.
She tells explains what it means to be a “wounded healer” to Time Magazine, “When you’ve gone through something and you’ve overcome it, you’re able to heal other people. A wounded healer, I think, is a lot more powerful than a healer that has not been wounded.”
Her lyrics promote self-affirmation with a sharp “no fucks given” undertone. Amazing.
My faves: Fuck with Myself, Someone New, Gemini Feed
Half of the iconic duo Marian Hill, (s/o to Kat for introducing me), Samantha Gongol is possibly the best artist I’ve seen live. If you haven’t heard of them, you probably Shazamed them recently as you watched Apple’s recent iPhone commercial.
Dubbed as the “sexiest band of the year” in 2016, their music is absolute FIRE. I’ve also been told more than once that it’s a common artist to include on a sex playlist. People love to f*ck to this music. No joke.
In an interview with Soul Sisters Podcast, Gongol explained the empowering heat behind the music, “It’s really important that we always write from the perspective of a strong female character,” and noted that bandmate Jeremy Lloyd is “a champion of everything feminism.”
My faves: Down (obviously), I Want You, Got It
This Australian-based “one woman band” plays the guitar, piano, trumpet, loops, sings, AND beat-boxes. Badass. Discovered from a viral YouTube video she recorded in her bedroom back in 2016, Sultana has been selling out shows worldwide ever since.
For this 22-year old woman, music has been her escape since her teenage years…literally. In an interview with Tone Deaf, she explains her nine-month drug induced psychosis from eating pizza laced with magic mushrooms. For these several months, Sultana was unable to pull herself from this psychotic state and lost all sense of reality.
She says music is what saved her. “I went into my room one day and I was just strumming and I realized that I achieved complete peace of mind while I was doing that,” she explains, “I had finally found some quiet so I literally played and played and played and played until I played the pain away, did every single open mic, snuck into every single place to go and play a show, busking, everything.”
My faves: Jungle & Notion
I knew from the first time I met this gal that she was something special. A strong and unapologetic feminist, Blackwell’s music has a distinct rawness with empowering and soulful undertones. In my recent relationship post I talked about the importance of being an advocate for other women, and she encompasses every aspect of that in her work. You da bomb.
At the ripe age of 21, she’s already killin’ the game with her most recent EP, New Era. The inspiration behind her music can be traced back to her upbringing in Detroit Michigan where she was introduced to the world of Motown Music and Hip Hop.
Blackwell explains that she “plans to use her career to make a difference in the way our society places limitations on girls and even young boys”. She believes that her voice can “move mountains and barriers for her daughters to come.” Keep an eye out for this one, she’s about to make some serious waves in the music industry.
Love you girl! Don’t forget about me when you make it big.
My faves: Commencement & Be Careful Master
I didn’t realize I had been listening to Baraz on repeat until a reader suggested her for this post. When I searched her, I was like AWWW shyt! I already love this gal!
Baraz brings an captivating mix of electronic, pop, and R&B to the music scene. Falling in love with the sounds of Galiamatias, Baraz started uploading her own music over his electronic instrumentals and uploaded them to Soundcloud. No studio or producers involved. Just a gal who had a dream and wanted to be discovered.
Through Soundcloud, the duo released Baraz’s first EP, Urbana Flora without ever meeting in real life. Technology these days. You’ve probably heard Baraz on her recent hit, Electric featuring another of of my faves, Khalid (if he was a female he’d totally make this list). Her music has also been remixed by several artists including R3hab, Le Youth and Felix Jaehn and she’s currently touring with Coldplay.
My faves: Electric ft. Khalid, Make You Feel, Pretty Thoughts (FKJ Remix)
Thank you everyone for the suggestions! I wanted to include all of them, butttttt I think I might just make this an ongoing thing. Thx for being osm per usual.
Below you’ll find my Spotify playlist including all of the tracks I mentioned above. You’re welcome.
For Blair Blackwell’s music, check out her Soundcloud.