Sunday, 2 June 2013


On a daily basis, women are constantly hounded by the press and scrutinised by the media about the pettiest things, things like looks, appearance, weight gain and weight loss (to name a few). What frustrates me about this is that is detracts from the most important thing, the music.
In my opinion, in 2013, female artists produce the most innovate, interesting and exquisite music around today. However, they are rarely given the recognition they truly deserve, and many of the ones who make it to the mainstream are stripped of creative licence and are molded by record companies into soulless machines who produce generic, forgettable songs about 'partying' and dying prematurely. 

Although this most definitely isn't the case for all female artists and times are changing, I still feel that women have so much to offer to the music industry, they are able to channel their hurt they suffer into stunningly written songs without the need to hold back. So instead of badgering on about sexism in the music industry, I am going to focus on the strong, successful and most importantly talented women who are shaping the music industry whilst challenging ideas about women all at the same time.

M.I.A ( a.k.a Mathangi Arulpragasam) is a musician/activist/philanthropist/painter/director, so a pretty awesome chick if you ask me. She rocks the free world in more ways than one, not only through her funky new-wave 'indietronica'. So far she has clocked up 8 award wins and 45 nominations including 3 Grammy nominations. Through her music, she challenges views on sexism without screaming feminist chants, instead she embraces her femininity without caring what people think. Her 4th album is due this year and I hope more people are able to her,share and be inspired by her music and activism.

Grimes ( a.k.a Claire Boucher) is a Canadian musician, composer and director, she has released 3 albums which she wrote and composed in her home in Montreal (as well as one split album). This is extremely prominent and brilliant to me as today it seems many artists  (female AND male) are supported by an 'accomplished' MALE producer' and don't tend to have a lot of control over their art without the interference of their label in order to make them more commercial. This upsets me. It upsets me even more that those who choose to do their own thing usually aren't given the recognition they deserve. So this is my opportunity to tell you that Grimes is a phenomenal credible, capable artist, and her gender is irrelevant
Her feelings on the issue of sexism are much more well-put by Claire herself in this inspirational blog post:

Also check out her video for her song oblivion which refers to sexual assault  which she had previously suffered, the song is powerful not only for it's powerful lyrical content but her excellent production and vocals which support them.

In a previous post I have expressed my love and admiration for this band. The trio is made up of sisters Este, Danielle and Alana Haim and have already had an excellent start to 2013, winning the BBC sound of 2013 poll, and much deservedly. Despite their immense talent they are still disregarded as a talent less girl band, which is completely untrue, they are in fact on of the best bands at the moment. I love their blend of 90's rock with R'n'B and folk influences, and above this they have brilliant personalities, which separates them from your average run-of-the-mill  indie band who have as much personality as a piece of celery. They always remain upbeat and continue to be themselves and although they have experienced sexism, they support each other like sisters (probably because they are). I have faith that their debut album which is due later this year will silence their critics. 

Kate Nash
Kate Nash started her career by gigging and putting putting demos on Myspace and since then has released 3 albums, one of which (her 2007 debut, Made of Bricks) went platinum in the UK. Her most recent release, the punk infused Girl Talk was released independatly by her on her own label as she refused to modify the album based on her record label's wishes. No matter what opinions you have about her music, who have to respect her for choosing her artistry over success and money, she is a true artist. For this she deserves respect, and her gender is irrelevant.

Deap Vally
Deap Vally are a Californian rock trio who probably had the best meeting of any rock band ever, in a crochet class. But don't assume that this makes them soft, these girls rock as hard if not harder than any other current rock band you can think of. And if you don't believe me, see the video below. But still, they are subjected to sexist and stupid comments by mindless neanderthals simple because they are women. It's time to let the music speak for itself. 

Angel Haze 
Angel Haze (or Raykeea Wilson as her mates call her) is a U.S rapper who has been taken the world by storm ever since she release her brilliant 14-song EP (album, really) entitled Reservation. Since then she has gained significant acclaim and has even been hailed as 'The future of rap'. This is quite a statement, but I would have to agree. I believe this not because she is a female in a rather male-dominated genre, but because her lyrics are nothing short of genius, she isn't afraid to show off her extensive vocabulary: "Live like a simile, lessons are a metaphor" being just one of many examples. I challenge you to find another rapper male or female who writes lyrics as poetic as this. Didn't think so. Unfortunately, a lot of rap at the moment (although I am not an expert, surprisingly) seems to be about objectifying women and how amazing and supreme you are. If she is the future, good riddance to the past, I for one won't be looking back.

Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey (or Elizabeth Woolridge Grant to her family/die-hard fans, such as myself) is one of the more well-known artists featured in this post. She had an incredible 2012, clocking up a Brit award and a multi-million selling debut album entitled Born to die. However the road for Lizzy hasn't been easy, she was pretty much scrutinized for everything she did; from having large (and beautiful) lips to singing live (I know right). As if she wasn't already having a rough time, the ruthless media discovered she had....wait for it....ALBUMS SHE RECORDED PREVIOUSLY (dun dun dun)!  This made them doubt her authenticity as an artist and even started to label her as a 'flop' before she even released her (rather successful) album. This made me particularly angry as they made it seem as if she was the only artist to have done this, this is very untrue as many, if not, most of the largest pop stars around had unsuccessful efforts before making it big, including Katy Perry and even Prince. It turns out that she had 4 other personas and 2 other albums which she had done in unsuccessful record contracts. I must say that after listening to both albums, they are both rather awesome and the only reason they were unsuccessful was because of the lack of promotion. This begs the question why her, why did she get such a hounding? I can't exactly answer that but I can say that it wouldn't of happened to a male. But now, she is one of the biggest and most successful new artists, with her album selling 3.5 million copies worldwide as well as being the 4th biggest selling album of 2012 in the UK plus an army of loyal fans. So critics can put THAT in their pipes and smoke it.

She also has hundreds of brilliant unreleased demos online for you to discover, have fun.

I could go on forever, that's the point I'm trying to make, their are countless female musicians at the moment who inspire me and aren't given the recognition they deserve not because they aren't 'good enough' but because of their gender. The other point I'm trying to put across is that it isn't only women who can support and empower women. I, a 15 year old straight male from London don't feel any less masculine for speaking out against this, as gender is irrelevant. A very wise man on Chime for Change, a concert which promotes education, health and justice for females all over the world, taught me that is is my duty to do so, a duty I am willing to accept.  
So to any men reading this, don't shy away from exploring the music of a female artist or an all-female band (like HAIM or Deap Vally), you may find something you will like. Don't be afraid of what others may say about this, it doesn't matter. Music isn't just about sharing, it is also a personal thing, your opinions are your own and no one Else's.

Thanks for reading.