Illustration by Kelsey German
Illustration by Kelsey German

Outstanding Female Artists

By Jude De Luna

There are countless female artists that have changed the music industry. It is impossible to list them all, but here are ten that deserve recognition and praise.

Rina Sawayama - “SAWAYAMA” [2020] - “STFU”

Born in Britain, Japanese artist Rina Sawayama has always used her music as an outlet for her culture and personal experiences. Her electropop, high-energy songs explore multiple stories personal to her, such as capitalism in the face of climate change, pansexuality, and racism. Heavy/nu metal song “STFU” in the album “SAWAYAMA,” for example, is Sawayama’s expression of rage at others’ casual microaggressions against her as a Japanese woman.

fka twigs - “MAGDALENE” [2019] - “fallen alien”

fka twigs writes her songs with care, mixing painful autobiographical anthems and surreal revenge ballads. “MAGDALENE” is twigs’ R&B intimate narrative after an intense public breakup. Her songs, filled with emotions such as anger and sorrow, resonate with the listener. In “fallen alien,” twigs relates her feelings on not fitting in with the conventional woman, something that contributed to said breakup.

Japanese Breakfast - “Jubilee” [2021] - “Paprika”

The band Japanese Breakfast is headed by Michelle Zauner. Alternative/dream pop album “Jubilee” is a poignant celebration of joy after Zauner dealt with the grief of losing her mother to cancer. The album opens with “Paprika,” an ambitious song that feels like a dreamy parade, representing that anguish is not needed to experience delight.

Doja Cat - “Planet Her” [2021] “Love to Dream”

First popularly known in 2018 for her song “MOO!”, where she raps about being a cow, Doja Cat has shaken off the title of being a “meme” artist, skyrocketing to fame with her pop R&B/hip hop raps. “Planet Her” is a magical visual project, with Doja Cat exercising full creativity. “Love to Dream,” a song fantasizing about a better love, is one of the songs amongst this no-skip album.

Taylor Swift - “Fearless (Taylor’s version)” [2021] - “Love Story”

Throughout the years, Taylor Swift has been an artist that people unfortunately love to hate, but she has always worked through the media’s misogyny. As the ownership of her old songs was sold away, she has been rerecording her songs to reclaim what was once lost, starting with “Love Story.”

Britney Spears - “Oops!... I Did It Again” [2000] - “Stronger”

Britney Spears is and always will be an icon of this millenium. After unfairly forced into a conservatorship, with her father as one of the conservators, she rarely had her freedom. However, after her situation was exposed, countless people on the internet fought for her freedom and she successfully broke away from her family. “Stronger” from her 2000 album encapsulates the situation perfectly, as she powerfully sings “I’m not your property as from today.”

Lorde - “Solar Power” [2021] - “Secrets from a Girl (Who’s Seen It All)”

Although only releasing a few albums, her meaningful and formative songs have shaped many people since 2013. In her latest memoir album “Solar Power,” Lorde delves into her feelings of adulthood and growth. “Secrets from a Girl (Who’s Seen It All),” one of the psychedelic indie folk songs on her album, is a love letter to her younger self, imparting all of the secret wisdom she’s learned over the years.

Willow - “lately I feel EVERYTHING” [2021] - “Lipstick”

Making herself stand out beyond her own last name Smith, Willow has broken out in the music industry, most recently with pop-punk/indie rock album “lately I feel EVERYTHING.” Confronting her own mental issues with songs like “Lipstick,” Willow is vulnerable and honest with her audience, creating a sentimental soundscape.

Solange - “A Seat at the Table” [2016] - “Weary”

Although her older sister Beyoncé is certainly a model figure in the music industry, Solange has also worked hard to create her own music. Neo soul album “A Seat at the Table” embodies a transitional time in her life, dissecting her history and future. “Weary” is Solange’s way of showing she can prove herself in the world, but it is also a commentary of how weary she is of the inequality of the world.

Mitski - “Laurel Hell” [2022] - “Love Me More”

Mitsuki Laycock, popularly known as Mitski, is beyond “sad girl music,” which others mistakenly label her as. With her newest album “Laurel Hell,” Mitski exemplifies the meanings of one’s true self and vulnerability. “Love Me More,” in particular, shows her wanting someone’s love, but really needing to love yourself first.

Honorable Mentions/Songs to Further Diversify Your Listening!

Laufey - “Let You Break My Heart Again”
Olivia Rodrigo - “jealousy, jealousy”
Raveena - “Spell”
Remi Wolf - “Liz”
Mereba - “Black Truck”
Faye Webster - “I Know I’m Funny haha”