In honor of International Women’s Day on the 8th and March being International Women’s Month, I naturally like to honor and celebrate all the women in music that have been in my rotation.
“Here’s to strong women:
May we know them.
May we be them.
May we raise them.”
As I said a year ago with my celebratory “One Woman Army” cover: There’s something so powerful about seeing a woman who looks like you, reminds you of you, and gives you the power and encouragement of a simple image of a woman in music doing the thing, that can have such a big influence on you as a little girl. (#TheMegAndDiaStory)
I thought I’d highlight a few of the tracks I’ve included in my two-hour playlist that — yes — I curated to be played in order according to “mood” and changes of the song (but feel free to shuffle). I’ve stuck mainly to songs of our current times, with a few favorites that have gone down in history in the 70s, 80s, 90s to now (how can I not include Mandy Moore, Michelle Branch and Hilary Duff?).
Here are a few of my favorites and why:
1. King Princess – “Talia”
King Princess has made a big name for herself, not only as an openly out and gay icon for the next generation, but her soothing tone and vocals mixed with alternative pop beats have caught my ear. “Talia,” a quintessential song about heartbreak, is a song King Princess says has helped her deal with heartbreak.
2. The Marias – “Hush”
Los Angeles psychedelic soul band The Marias have been in my rotation for years. “Hush,” off their 2021 debut album Cinema is dark and fresh, featuring lead singer Maria’s signature soft vocals and the band’s tight-knit production style.
3. Magdalena Bay – “Secrets (Your Fire)”
I randomly got onto Magdalena Bay because a friend of mine invited me to a private recording of a “Live at Artists Den” performance with Magdalena Bay. With some great electronic-pop production and lots of references to 90s pop music in their tracks, “Secrets (Your Fire)” immediately reminds me of a Spice Girls-esque track. This duo feels like they came fresh out of the A.I. into my living room — and they’re a whole vibe.
4. Kacey Musgraves – “Slow Burn”
Everyone knows how much I love Kacey Musgraves at this point. Her songwriting, heart, candidness and storytelling shine so bright through everything she does. Although her last album star-crossed details the end of her marriage and getting over a lost love, it’s her Grammy-winning Golden Hour and single “Slow Burn” that got me the most. Describing her time taking drugs (under moderation) and going on a trip, sitting on the porch, reminiscing over the “slow burn” — the fine glass of wine, the trees in nature, the way the light hits, the sound of the birds, or a little more whiskey in your glass — are all beautiful moments perfectly captured in this song. A simple acoustic matched with some sitar-like global instruments and beats make this song absolutely mesmerizing. And for a seamless country pop crossover? She’s created her own genre blending all she is, and she does it well.
P.S. Also be sure to check out that Miguel and Kacey Musgraves deep track collaboration “waves” that I love to put on from time to time to feel good on a drive. Pure hip-hop meets country feels.
5. Cannons – “Fire For You”
Cannons are an LA-based indie pop outfit featuring heavy electronic influences and lead singer Michelle Joy’s vocals, whose music has been getting a lot of radio play around Los Angeles and has quick to climb. “Fire For You” was one of the first singles I caught onto, and it’s an easy-breezy track to have in your rotation.
6. Warpaint – “Champion”
Warpaint is iconic in and of themselves. As one of this generation’s first “all female” bands of the 2000s, they’ve had so much long withstanding relevancy (15+ years and counting), and their indie alternative psychedelic rock have always been mesmerizing. “Champion” is their newest release and deals with being a champion for oneself, and in turn others. They’ve always been aware of the impact we all have on each other, and this one’s beautiful.
7. The Aces – “Daydream”
I discovered The Aces a few years ago when they had their debut EP release, and this Utah-born band of best girl friends have made waves for this new generation with their fun pop rock anthems. “Daydream” feels like a pure daydream, and makes me want to celebrate the good times with my gal pals — something we all ought to honor this month.
8. boygenius – “Souvenir”
boygenius, the super trio consisting of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus, is one of my favorite little projects I always return back to. “Souvenir,” off their sole EP released together, is absolutely beautiful and highlights the talented songwriting, folk stylings and vocal timbres of each of the tree singer-songwriters. It’s beautiful.
9. Joseph – “Fighter”
Joseph has been an indie rock trio I’ve always gone back to for their Haim-like The Chicks-like energy, yet country folk leaning tunes. “Fighter” is a powerful anthem that tells us all to stand up and speak up and do what it takes to keep a relationship in place. The harmonies this trio produces is absolutely beautiful, and powerful.
10. Aly & AJ – “Pretty Places”
Sister duo Aly & AJ have been releasing a lot of songs that always end up in my Spotify daily mixes — and I see why. Their fresh Californian indie rock flair and sound and joy for driving and seeing these pretty places is present in “Pretty Places.”
11. Dori Valentine – “INC.”
This is one of those special songs that pop up randomly through my Spotify playlists, and instantly stuck. Dori Valentine only has three songs on Spotify, but this song is a pure jam — it’s smooth alternative R&B meets indie pop, and her catchy hook “My lady don’t care ’bout no money / She love me ’cause I’m cute / She think I’m pretty funny now” is entirely infectious. And I can’t stop listening to it.
12. Japanese Breakfast – “Diving Woman”
Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast is one of my favorite songwriters of our time, and her song “Diving Woman” from Soft Sounds From Another Planet has that driving cool moodiness and indie pop that I love. It’s a song that stuck — one that highlights her style best, I feel, and I find myself listening to when I want to chill out and have in the background. Her new songs “Posing In Bondage” and “Be Sweet,” which won her Grammys in 2021, are stellar as well.
13. beabadoobee – “She Plays Bass”
This is one of the first songs I heard from beabadoobee, the Filipina-British grunge indie rock artist, back in pre-pandemic times. It immediately brought me back to my childhood — grungy, emo acoustic music and soft vocals told from the perspective of those younger years. In recent years, she’s blown up and has become a big figure for Gen Z.
14. Miley Cyrus – “Mother’s Daughter”
Everyone knows how much love I’ve given to Miley over the years on this blog, that it only felt right to highlight her here with the power and image she’s been able to provide. “Mother’s Daughter” came off the release of a hip-hop leaning SHE IS COMING EP project she had in 2018. The song pays homage to our badassery, for we are our mother’s daughter, but also to all women of all shapes and sizes being powerful, dangerous, strong and soft at the same time. Miley’s attention to universal themes and being a strong force to be reckoned with (her newer Plastic Hearts release has been a rock-winning album) is inspiring, as she’s always felt like that “girl I knew growing up,” simply because I have grown up along her throughout the years.
15. Rozzi – “Best Friend Song”
Rozzi is probably one of my favorite vocalists and songwriters that is local to Los Angeles. A friend of friends, her soulful take on everything she does, powerhouse vocals, yet honest, candid and fresh songwriting about the events in her life, ooze with a pure joy and infectious love for music. “Best Friend Song” was a song I heard her release in the back parking lot of a friend’s clothing shop for a mini release party, and, at the time probably not a big deal to her, actually stood out to me and the rest of the group simply for being so candid and fun about her love for her best friend, and going to a party and only wanting to talk to you, taking mushrooms, and singing Sheryl Crowe karaoke. If there wasn’t a better song to enrapture the spirit of best friends, this is it.
I’d love to know what songs you love and stuck out to you, and if you think there are other artists I should include in my list.
As a female musician myself, I have always found it inspiring to support other women in music, simply because the female approach to music offers up a unique energy of and in itself — and there’s a reason it resonates with so many of us women.
Send some love in the comments if you do take a listen, and hope you enjoy xo.