(This is one of the first articles I wrote for my student newspaper, so I thought why not give it a whirl … )
When I first begun thinking about influential and inspirational female musicians a few names of personal heroes popped to mind, however, with each new person I spoke to a new name would join my ever growing list. From Natalie Imbruglia, famous for Torn and still recording twelve years later. To Debbie Harry of Blondie fame, responsible for countless hits accompanied by electric blonde hair and a fearless rock chick image. It would be impossible to mention everyone, so please forgive me!
Firstly, a personal icon- P!nk. P!nk rose to fame in 2001 with her second album M!ssundaztood. Flowing with emotion and honesty P!nk proved she had much more to offer than most mainstream pop stars. With a career now spanning ten years P!nk is renowned for her acrobatic live performances and side projects working with animal rights organization PETA.
However, artists like P!nk and Kylie would have been nothing if it hadn’t been for those preceding them. Janis Joplin was a pioneer in the otherwise male dominated world of late 1960’s rock and is more than worthwhile mentioning. Anthems such as Piece Of My Heart still ring clear today, declaring “I’m gonna show you, baby, that a woman can be tough”. Although Joplin’s life was short lived her impact upon music is undeniable.
Many artists have had an influence through more than music, this is the case with singer and political activist Annie Lennox. Most famous for pop duo Eurythmics, Lennox began her solo career in the early 90’s and still hasn’t halted. Responsible for 2007’s Sing, a charity collaboration between 23 female artists, it is clear that Lennox is both passionate and talented.
Beth Ditto seems to warrant mention for her fearless attitude and unique persona. Most famous as the lead singer of indie rock band The Gossip, Ditto has become both a feminist and LGBTQ icon. Unfazed by the opinions or expectations of others her music and live performances are daring and controversial. The Gossip’s most recent album Music For Men continues to tackle themes of discrimination, whilst maintaining their punk rock sound.
Thinking about the R&B genre Mary J Blige is owed masses of credit. With nine albums under her belt Mary J Blige is now celebrated as an artist, record producer and actress. Her soulful music can be accredited for bridging the gap between R&B and rap and truly redefining their sound.
Looking through history you would find so many women whose impact upon music cannot and should not be ignored. The music of Vera Lynn carried England through war, whilst Kate Bush was the first woman to have a self-written number one single, furthermore she was only nineteen. If time was endless then artists like Lily Allen, The Bangles, Alanis Morissette, Mariah Carey and Madonna more than deserve recognition. For now though, in the words of Gloria Gaynor, remember “I will survive”.