7 Female Musicians Who Deserve Your Attention

If you have looked at the Billboard Hot 100 in the past year or the nominees and winners lists for the 2018 Grammys, you probably noticed that male artists have dominated. This gender disparity makes no sense to me because my playlist does not reflect that trend, since there is a wealth of talented female artists currently in the music industry. Here are seven female musicians who deserve more recognition than they actually receive.

1. Lana Del Rey

It’s criminal that I even need to put her on this list. Lana Del Rey is one of the best artists of this past decade, but she never gets the recognition she deserves; instead, she is constantly dismissed and degraded. Born Elizabeth “Lizzy” Grant, Lana Del Rey is an incredible songwriter who is not afraid to address controversial subjects. Her most recent album, Lust for Life (2017) was easily one of the best albums released last year, and it was actually painful to pick my two favorite songs because I love practically every track, especially “Love,” “In My Feelings” and “God Bless America - And All the Beautiful Women In It.” The arrangement of every track in relation to the others was carefully considered, a rarity in music these days—listen to the entire album in one sitting for maximum impact. Lana Del Rey released two new singles in September (I’ve had “Mariners Apartment Complex” playing non-stop for the past two weeks), and her next album will be released in early 2019.

Must-listens: “Ride” (2012), “Young and Beautiful” (2013), “13 Beaches” (2017), “Coachella - Woodstock In My Mind” (2017), “Get Free” (2017)

Since Lana del Rey has such an extensive music catalogue, here are three songs you should listen to from her earlier records: “National Anthem” (2012), “West Coast” (2014), “High By the Beach” (2015)

2. Gabrielle Aplin

A singer-songwriter from Wiltshire, England, Gabrielle Aplin’s breakthrough came after covering Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “The Power of Love” in 2012. Aplin subsequently released two albums with Parlophone Records, but she felt that the label executives stymied her creativity, so she paved her own path and released two successful EPs through her own record label, Never Fade. Aplin’s music catalogue contains a wide range of genres, from folk music and acoustic guitar, to electric guitars and moody alternative music, to fun electropop music. What I love the most about Aplin is that she cannot be defined by labels, and that she refuses to compromise her artistic integrity.

Must-listens: “Home” (2013), “Light Up the Dark” (2015), “Miss You” (2016), “Waking up Slow” (2017), “Stay” (2017)

3. Dua Lipa

Dua Lipa is another English-born musician, although she moved back to her parents’ native Kosovo as a pre-teen before returning to London on her own. Chances are, you have heard her hit song “New Rules,” watched the music video or seen the memes related to it.  While “New Rules” is a feminist masterpiece, Dua Lipa is far from a one-hit wonder. Her self-titled debut album is full of amazing tracks that are refreshingly honest, and her music videos are on another level compared to other artists. 

Must-listens: “Be the One” (2017), “New Love” (2017), “Hotter Than Hell” (2017),  “Room For 2” (2017), “IDGAF” (2017)

4. Ruelle

Ruelle, real name Maggie Eckford, is a Nashville-based singer-songwriter.  Her music is often featured in television shows and film trailers, most notably in the 13 Reasons Why first season trailer, because it has a cinematic sound.  Even though she has released quite a bit of material, I have yet to come across a Ruelle song that I don’t like—her music is consistently good, something of a rarity in the singles-driven music industry.

Must-listens: “War of Hearts” (2015), “Daydream” (2016), “Game of Survival” (2016), “Rival” (2017), “The Other Side” (2017)

5. Lorde

Again, I can’t believe I have to put her on this list, but considering the fact that she was the only nominee for Best Record of the Year to not be invited to perform at the 2018 Grammys (she was also the only female nominee in that category), I have to. Lorde, born Ella Yelich O’Connor, is a singer-songwriter from New Zealand, and even though she is only 21, she has released two albums that can only be described as masterpieces.  Her debut album, Pure Heroine (2013), received many accolades, but the second, Melodrama (2017), went largely unnoticed on the charts, despite being just as good, if not better than her first album. Melodrama is a concept album set at a party, and the transition to adulthood is a theme pervasive throughout the album, making it perfect for college students.

Must-listens: “Team” (2013), “Green Light” (2017), “Liability (Reprise)” (2017), “Perfect Places” (2017), “Hard Feelings/Loveless” (2017)

6. MisterWives

Although MisterWives is not an all-female band, the lead singer and principal songwriter, Mandy Lee, is a force to be reckoned with. The band hails from New York City, and their songs are feminist and in-tune with what their audience wants to hear. The dance and indie pop vibes on their debut album, Our Own House (2015), are irresistible, and Connect the Dots (2017) is a nice follow-up effort.

Must-listens: “Not Your Way” (2015), “Queens” (2015), “Imagination Infatuation” (2015), “Our Own House” (2015), “Drummer Boy” (2017)

7. Fleurie

Fleurie, real name Lauren Strahm, is another American singer-songwriter who chose to start her career in Nashville.  Her first album, Love and War (2016) was musically cinematic, but in recently-released sophomore album Portals (2018), she experimented with new sounds. Fleurie is a talent to keep an eye on; I am interested to see what she does next.

Must-listens: “Fire in My Bones” (2015), “Soldier” (2016), “Hurts Like Hell” (2016), “Hurricane” (2017), “Out of the Blue” (2018)