Remember being 11, and listening to Katy Perry sing, “I kissed a girl and I liked it” andwondering what was that all about? I certainly do. Having a childhood influenced by Westernmusic and culture, I have grown up listening to beautiful lyrics with significant messages,even if I was too young to understand what most of them meant; long before I could noticesimilar tunes spring up in Bollywood. Be it Miley Cyrus’s Climb or Lady Gaga’s Born ThisWay, all of us at one point or another have related to the lyrics and been in awe of the artistsbefore they were recognised as the faces for empowering music in the industry.
These womxn artists are now popular in the public eye for bringing about the discourse onsubjects like sexuality, gender and advocating for self-love and a positive body image. In thelater half of the past decade, several artists like Janelle Monae and Halsey have taken themusic industry by storm, with songs about same-sex relationships and have opened upabout their own sexualities, to also being termed as ‘Lesbian Jesus’ in the case of HayleyKioko, inspiring young womxn across the globe. Promoting messages of normalisingvariation in sexuality and gender. Meanwhile upcoming artists like Billie Eilish known for herunconventional dressing style as a protest against the ‘male-gaze’, or Lizzo; wildly popularfor promoting a positive outlook on body image and self-love, have continued to create
For most people out there, especially the youth, music has always been something personaland meaningful, more so for those who struggle to express their thoughts and emotions.Representation and higher relatability by icons promote a sense of inclusivity, making musicgenres not only a factor to bond around but also the foundation of several ‘fandoms’ onsocial media validating an individual’s choice in music.
Representation by Latin artists like Camilla Cabello or Asian ones like Bea Kristi gaininginstant popularity shows that people crave diversity; something solidified by the maddeningtrend of K-pop, providing a platform for girl groups like BLACKPINK to shine. Variation ingenres by artists like Nicki Minaj or Cardi B highlights the participation of womxn in aninitially male-dominated sphere have success stories like Beyoncé, Shakira, and JenniferLopez inspiring womxn and girls to pursue their passion. Be it Taylor Swift’s sassy lyricsafter a break-up or Ariana Grande’s catchy tunes to pamper oneself, you can always rely onmusic to create a safe space for you to vent out your emotions through blasting it on fullvolume or creating your own music for self-expression. The trend in India’s music industry iscatching on, with soundtracks for womxn-centric movies like Chak De India or SecretSuperstar displaying musical aspirations of young girls in the country, or with our own artistsseeking out genres like rap and hip hop to express themselves or artists of Indian origin inthe West like Monica Dogra creating amalgamations of sounds from both cultures;encouraging participation by Indian womxn in music.
As college students, most of us rely on music to regain our sanity or to jam to in parties, orjust feel at peace on a long drive. With exposure to so many extraordinary artists, there is asense of empowerment when we listen to bold lyrics that strike a chord with us. Being someone for whom music is a significant part of her daily routine, I curate my playlistaccording to my mood at every hour of the day, to which I’m sure most of you can relate to.From having a shower playlist to a ride on the metro , I like my music to be versatile and fullof songs from different parts of the world, making it imperative for me to have exceptionalwomxn artists in my playlist to relate to and to inspire me. In this new age of revolutionarymusic, I, too, have found my space amidst songs by artists I can relate the most to; making iteasier to take every day, one tune at a time.