Over a year ago, I started the Fresh Finds by Female Artists column on Coog Radio in an effort to support and highlight new music by women that often, unfortunately, gets overlooked. However, the purpose spans broader than this. I hope to challenge you to look at your music library – regardless of genres you listen to – and see what kind of diversity is reflected in the art you consume. Whose voices are you hearing, and why? What does the absence of female artists in your music library say about you?
We often focus on diversity and equality in various facets of society such as politics and the workplace, but sometimes we fail to consider how art and music can expand our appreciation of each others’ experiences and identities. So, let us not overlook the amazing talent and work female artists are putting into making music in an industry that is still male-dominated. By providing five songs by five diverse women across various genres each month, I hope you can take away at least one song you enjoy!
Grimes & i_o, “Violence”
Grimes is is a Canadian singer, songwriter, record producer and visual artist who has brought synth-pop into the mainstream with her successful independent albums Visions and Art Angels. Being a self-taught artist, Grimes’ success with these early albums was impressive, and Visions even won the Electronic Album of the Year Award. Having collaborations with Janelle Monae and Bring Me The Horizon, Grimes’ talent spans across genres and mediums. With her unique style, provoking images, and addicting music, fans have been awaiting new music for the last few years. Sharing on social media that she’s been working a new album, which had been expected to be released last year, Grimes had a clash with her record label that delayed any new music from her until well into 2019. Finally, we have a single and a stunning music video, alongside an announcement for a new album called Miss_Anthropocene. Grimes has described it as a concept album “about the anthropomorphic Goddess of climate Change.” Creating vivid and unique conceptual art, Grimes is an intriguing artist you won’t want to sleep on. Check out her single “Violence” in collaboration with electronic producer i_o, and follow her on Instagram or Twitter for updates.
Tei Shi, “Red Light”
Tei Shi is a Columbian singer and songwriter who grew up in Canada and is now based in New York. Her music crosses genre lines and has been described as indie-pop, alternative R&B, and bedroom pop. Her first few singles, such as “M&Ms” and “Nature vs. Nurture” captured attention with her melodic vocals and airy, slow feeling. Tei Shi spent much of 2015 and 2016 playing major festivals like Electric Forest and Coachella, as she mastered vivid live sets with layered sound and live loops making her stand out even more. Her initial success led to collaborations with artists like Glass Animals and other directors/producers like Dev Hynes of Blood Orange, who helped her create her debut album Crawl Space in 2017. The album is inspired by her childhood memories, Crawl Space is an intimate piece shining light on her as an artist we can all relate to on some level. Tei Shi is back with a new singles “A Kiss Goodbye” and “Red Light”, sparking excitement for a potential new album on the way as well. Definitely an artist to look out for, you can check out her Spotify and follow her on Instagram and Twitter for more.
Jhene Aiko, “Trigger Protection Mantra”
Jhene Aiko is more or less a household name by now, known for her melodic vocals and relationship with rapper Big Sean. However, often overlooked is the deeper spiritual element she brings to her music. Her album Trip in 2017 gained attention and positive reviews, written while grieving her brother who passed away, she is clearly unafraid to dive into the deepest places for her music. Aiko’s voice was described as having “gentle pop-tinged vocals” and a “sensually sweet voice,” and her music lies somewhere between soul, pop, and R&B. Taking a break after the success of Trip and dealing with issues in her personal life, Aiko explains the need to take a step back and relax. Lucky for us though, she announced that she has been working on a follow-up to her 2017 album Trip, which will consist of all freestyles with the release of “Wasted Love Freestyle.” Her new single “Trigger Protection Mantra” is quite different though, as she explains its purpose as a meditative tool for dealing with anxiety on her Instagram captions. With Aiko playing crystal singing bowls on the track, she guides us to releasing “oversensitivity to criticism, the need to control, and support the boosting of self-esteem.” You can check out her Instagram and Twitter for more.
Sonia is a French model, singer and actress Sonia Ben Ammar, known as Sonia, has released her debut single “Joyride.” Starting her career as a model Sonia is a stunning woman with mixed French and Arab heritage, but beyond her looks, her voice also reflects elegance and beauty. Mysterious and intriguing, Sonia’s voice might be familiar from her feature on electronic artist Petit Biscuit’s song “Creation Comes Alive.” The track captures her energy and style well, with airy and deep vocals living between the realm of soulful pop and alternative electronic sound. Announcing her first single “Joyride,” Sonia has also confirmed a debut EP on the way soon. Be sure to keep an eye out for this new up-and-coming artist by checking out her Spotify and stay connected with her on Instagram.
FKA Twigs, “Holy Terrain”
With her debut album LP1 in 2014, FKA Twigs certainly made a remarkable entrance into the realm of avant-pop. An English singer and songwriter, she started her career as a backup dancer in South London. With LP1 receiving critical acclaim and peaking on both the UK Album charts and US Billboard charts, FKA Twigs is described as genre-bending as she draws on a variety of styles and influences. She describes it as finding her “own way of playing punk,” and her authentic style has received significant praise across the globe. Her background in dance also allows her to create incredible visuals alongside her music, creating intriguing music videos and live performances. With her first single “Holy Terrain” giving us an unexpected feature and catchy beat, FKA Twigs has also announced her upcoming album MAGDALENE coming out on October 25th. With years of growth and work on the album, it will be interesting to see what she does with this album as she describes it as a way for her to “find compassion” at her “most ungraceful, confused, and fractured.” Already announcing a tour and new merch, you can pre-order MAGDALENE and follow FKA Twigs on Instagram and Twitter for updates.