It’s International Women’s Day! From Argentina to Russia, women are marching, protesting, staging walkouts and organizing themselves on a massive scale. To celebrate this awesome moment, we’ve compiled a list of 15 badass female musicians who consistently inspire and amaze us.
Destiny Frasqueri has been around for a minute, donning multiple aliases and trying on different sounds. The New York native considers her breakout hip-hop project as hardened MC Princess Nokia to be less of an act and more of an alter-ego. She’s a complicated, charismatic artist who spits bars with a ruthless, unapologetic edge. Watch the Fader-produced documentary “DESTINY” here. Listen to Princess Nokia’s 1992 LP below and check out her video for a new track called “Hands Up.”
Ghanian producer and singer-songwriter Jojo Abot performed her eponymous “To Li” single–an absurdly fun Afropop jam about calling people on their shit–at Times Square this New Year’s Eve. It seems like a good omen for this wholly remarkable cosmopolitan artist, who lives between Accra, Copenhagen and New York City. Watch Jojo Abot’s video for “To Li” and stream her FYFYA WOTO project.
Noura Mint Seymali
This master musician and prolific vocalist hails from the West African country of Mauritania. Trained as a girl in the nine-stringed ardin, a Mauritian harp-like instrument traditionally reserved for women, Noura Mint Seymali has released four fantastic LPs of psychedelic desert funk over the past decade. Watch her music video for “Na Sane” and check out her 2016 KEXP set.
Georgia Anne Muldrow
L.A.’s Georgia Anne Muldrow is a supremely dope MC, soul singer and hip-hop producer who runs the same circles as Madlib and Mos Def. She’s got subtle star power, the kind that can easily go unnoticed within a contemporary rap scene defined by brute masculinity and male braggadocio. Listen to her most recent LP, the consciousness-expanding A Thoughtiverse Unmarred, and watch her sing live at L.A.’s sing at Grand Star Jazz Club.
Clementine Creevy’s punk band Cherry Glazerr has gone through a few major incarnations, from scuzzy-yet-genuine garage rock to abrasive post-punk bangers. Her debut album, Apocalypstick, dropped earlier this year. It’s a wild ride, but a world away from her exhilarating, no-holds-barred live act. Check out her KCRW set from last month and check out a few of her visuals below.
Hamilton, Ontario’s Jessy Lanza has been a personal favorite of our’s since her thrilling electro-R&B single “Keep Moving” was unveiled back in 2013. Fast forward four years and the electronic producer/singer-songwriter has shared two astounding, irresistibly good LPs. Jessy Lanza has established herself as an elite figurehead of electronic dance music, as evidenced by her BBC Radio 1 Residency this year. Watch videos from her most recent album, Oh No, below.
The spiritually invigorated protest songs of Mariem Hassan were first introduced to us by Hiatus Kaiyote‘s Nai Palm, during a solo acoustic set she performed last summer. By this time, the Western Saharan singer and multi-instrumentalist had already passed–falling victim to breast and bone cancer at age 57 in 2015–but the emotional resilience of her music lives on. Listen to one of her most powerful songs, “Haiyu,” and watch her perform live.
The best work of New York City dance producer and singer-songwriter Suzi Analogue is still ahead of her, but until then we have a serious number of bangers to keep on rotation. She’s worked with Mndsgn, Devonwho and Knxwledge (as an ex-member of producer supergroup Klipmode) along with Teklife acts like DJ Earl. Stream Suzi’s new song “Move / It / Off,” and check out her ZONES V.2 LP.
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
Composer, singer-songwriter and electronic musician Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith makes textured ambient works that often exist on the more avant-garde side of things. But her music is far from challenging, embracing a kind of inclusive experimental electronica that was accessible enough for Google. (Smith scored a video series about American’s National Parks for the company last summer.) Check out her breakout 2016 LP, EARS, and watch the video for EARS-cut “When I Try, I’m Full.”
Seasoned guitarist, composer and filmmaker Noveller, aka Sarah Lipstate, is a solitary force to be reckoned with. Last year she performed alongside Iggy Pop at SXSW. This year, she’s released another hauntingly beautiful, instrumental LP called A Pink Sunset For No One. Stream it below.
Sampa The Great
Born in Zambia and currently based in Sydney, Australia, hip-hop MC and vocalist Sampa The Great is a fast-rising, undeniably dope talent. She’s opened for the likes of Kendrick Lamar, and shares a label with Hiatus Kaiyote and Jaala. Needless to say, Sampa The Great is the bees knees. Check out her Hiatus Kaiyote remix EP and stream her debut mixtape below.
Mal Devisa makes violently good alternative soul music. She used her powerhouse vocals, a bass guitar and saxophone to create the eerie and captivating soundscapes of Kiid, her debut 2016 LP. The singer-songwriter is steadily making herself known on the East Coast and beyond, recently opening for Sampha at his sold out Terminal 5 show. Stream Kiid and watch Mal Devisa’s TED Talk performance below.
Since the Soundcloud upload of her brilliant “Double Dutch” demo, Melbourne singer-songwriter Cosima Jaala has had us totally and irrepressibly hooked. Last year, she released a record as frontwoman of Mangelwurzel along with a fantastically produced solo album called Hard Hold. Her most recent effort, the stunning rock ballad “Junior Spirit,” is easily our favorite song of the year. Listen to it below and watch her perform “Salt Shaker” live.
“Kadhja Bonet (sounds like ‘Kad-ya’) was born in 1784 in the backseat of a sea-
We’re major advocates of London’s Poppy Ajudha and her marvelous, spirit-lifting jazz compositions. Currently in the studio withTom Misch, Ifan Dafydd and Ben Hayes, her impeccably soulful voice satisfies an intense, post-Winehouse nostalgia without ever limiting itself to late singer’s legend. Stream a few choice cuts from Poppy below.