Growing up as a black woman, my life sometimes feels like it’s being defined by the guidelines that society has placed on me. The way I dress, the way I talk, even the way I style my hair — the world wants me to do it all one way, and any kind of variation is discouraged.
These expectations are even pushed on black women in the music industry. They must always fit in a box that doesn’t allow them to be alternative, ambitious or even just a little different. So, here are nine black female musicians who have been rising in the music industry. They challenge what the industry wants them to be with their concepts and styles.
- Victoria Monét
Victoria Monét’s music blends pop and R&B, and I highly recommend her to fans of Ariana Grande, Zara Larsson, Kim Petras and Dua Lipa. This year, Victoria Monét released JAGUAR, the first part of a trilogy of projects that will form her debut studio album. As an introduction to her music, songs like “Experience,” “MONOPOLY,” and “Moment” best summarize everything that Monét’s music is about.
- Bree Runway
What makes Bree Runway such a unique inclusion on this list is that her music can fit the tastes of all kinds of people. Her discography covers the soft tunes of neo-soul, the confident beats of hip hop, and the bright energy of pop. Her “XS” remix with Rina Sawayama, as well as songs like “APESHIT” and “Gucci,” are some of the songs that you can take a moment to listen to and dive into the world of Bree’s music.
UMI’s artistry is like a splash of nostalgia and peace — each of her songs manifest healing into the listeners’ mind that makes them feel like they’re in the clouds. Her music suits those who enjoy artists like mxmtoon, Raveena, Joji and Conan Gray. Some of her songs that deserve a listen are “High School,” “Breathe,” “FRIENDZONE” and “Butterfly.”
TeaMarrr herself states that her music is like medicine. Her Haitian-American roots show in her music, as it’s full of meaning and pride. TeaMarrr has a powerful, almost mystical voice that causes you to feel the lyrics in your soul. As an artist, TeaMarrr can fit in the playlists of fans of H.E.R, Jessie Reyez, Brandy and Normani, with a discography that includes “Colors,” “One Job,” “Chasing Amy” and “Cry Baby.”
- Yung Baby Tate
If you were to look up “duality” in the dictionary, a picture of Yung Baby Tate would be found right next to it. She’s a rapper and a singer, and she takes on both roles perfectly. On top of her sound comes unique concepts and visuals to aid it. Yung Baby Tate was featured on Ashnikko’s hit song “STUPID,” but she has plenty of great songs on her own, including the more club-worthy “B.O.M.B.S.,” the ’90s inspired “Damn Daniel,” and the electric “That Girl.”
Leikeli47’s music is a representation of her identity, and her lyricism is an important part of her music. So, if you’re into lyric-heavy rap, she’s an artist that you should keep under your radar. She pushes boundaries in hip-hop with her music style and feminist themes. Some songs to check out by her are “Zoom,” “Wash & Set” and “Iron Mike.”
- Kilo Kish
The presence of black women in experimental music is limited and definitely overshadowed by their counterparts. So, if you enjoy the music of 100 gecs, Charli XCX, Brooke Candy and SOPHIE, it’s only right that you give Kilo Kish a minute of your time! And to start you off, a few of her songs to look up are “BITE ME,” “Self Importance,” “NICE OUT” and “Taking Responsibility.”
Most people have a playlist full of songs to sing along to while dancing around in their room, and Soulé is a perfect artist to add to it. She makes upbeat, bouncy pop music that has strands of R&B infused into it. People who like listening to a lot of radio pop music will fit Soulé’s demographic, especially with her songs “Troublemaker,” “Love Tonight” and “Good Life.”
- Tayla Parx
Like Victoria Monét, Tayla Parx has experience writing hit songs like Ariana Grande’s “7 rings” and “thank u, next” and Panic! At The Disco’s “High Hopes” — which were simultaneously charting as top 10 songs. Her music reshapes gender and feminism in music. Past her lyricism, Parx has a powerful voice that works with any genre of music, and you can see this with her songs “Runaway” and “Dance Alone.”
In today’s political climate, we’re all looking for ways to uplift black creatives and businesses. One way you can do this is by paying attention to rising black female performers and musicians. The girls on this list are only some of the many black women who are making music to break down barriers that the world has seemingly built up against them.