I’ve heard a lot of music in my life, seen a lot of shows.
Though I’m not a (performing) musician myself, I’ve heard and read enough to know about how hard it must be to be a female trying to make a living as a musician.
While I admire the Lady Gagas, Taylor Swifts and Katy Perrys of the world (to name a few) for doing what they’ve done (mostly) on their own, I don’t love most pop music, and I loathe most elements of that biz itself.
These ladies definitely aren’t following the bubble gum pop formula or causing controversy with hits about pseudo-lesbianism. They are three young female musicians who are not only incredibly talented, but are carving their own way through life by creating—that is, they are changing the way people think and act in the world.
The three stand out as genuinely unique artists who make things happen.
Like Ani Difranco did with own record label or Bjork did with plain old quirk in the 90’s, these three stand out in sheer innovation and fierceness. And I’m going to guess that the path to recognition hasn’t been easy—which is all the more reason to offer full support.
They are real.
And artistically and personally, they are forces to be reckoned with.
1. Tanya Tagaq
An Inuit throat singer whose music and stage antics are not for the faint of heart, Tagaq is about as raw and real as it gets.
She beat out Drake at the Canadian Polaris Prize this year, putting traditional Inuit music on the map and basically killing it onstage: a part of her performance included names of some of Canada’s 1200 + missing and murdered Indigenous women.
Here’s the trailer for her latest album, Anamism (yes that’s her swimming around naked in a cloud of black ink):
And if you’ve ever wondered what the north sounds like, check out this video of Tanya playing with the Kronos Quartet.
2. Amanda Palmer
She’s on the map mostly for this Ted talk and her ensuing book called the Art of Asking.
She’s managed to build a truly unique career out of her art and—well, sharing, connection, kindness.
Palmer was the first musician to raise over $1 million on a Kickstarter project for her new albums. This was controversial for many reasons—as are some of her other projects.
I applaud her for her ingenuity and artistry, for just standing up with a fierce but gentle voice and fully following her path.
(Oh and just to up the cool factor, she also happens to be married to author Neil Gaiman.)
3. Kaki King
I waited in line to meet her after one of her shows, with plans of asking her so many intelligent things—I had some really unique deep questions about guitar things.
So what did I blurt out? ‘Oh you’re so short!’
Then read in an interview later that that’s the thing she hates hearing the most.
As the youngest artist and only women to be on one of The Rolling Stone’s guitar gods (that was as of 2006), she stands alone as a true musician. She sings too, but personally I’m drawn mainly to her non-vocal tracks because they make for perfect anytime music…as background or actual listening.
Imagine that—music to actually listen to, created by a woman who really plays guitar. Given how many people in the world actually play guitar, Isn’t it kind of sad that it’s so rare to find this? That must say something about the nature of the (pop) music biz.
The vid below is an interesting primer about the making of her latest album, Glow.
It’s about the music they are making but also the statements they make beyond the music that matter.
Who are some of your favourites? Please share below!
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Renée Picard
Photo: Wikimedia Commons