Female Music Artists

doris-day_inside_lt_-c-sony-music-archives-1-female music artist

Female Music Artists. I started this list in 2014. It isn’t that it became less important. It’s that it served its purpose in my everyday life, and never quite turned itself into an actual article. OK, at that time I never intended to turn it into an article. Fast forward to this week and I stumbled onto it while sorting through my evernote, and here we are!

I started this list for my daughter two years ago. She needed a selection of songs to pick from to sing for voice class. The singer had to be female, and bonus points if the singer was anywhere near her own natural octave (hint: they never are). So I crowd-sourced a list, because most of my favorite female-fronted bands include shouting, yelling, and in general lyrics not intended for the mass consumption of 8-10 year olds. Let’s gloss over the fact that in 1995 I had two four year olds that could sing every song on Portrait of an American Family. 

The List – Suggested Female Music Artists

  • 10,000 Maniacs
  • Ace of Base
  • Adele
  • Tori Amos
  • Fiona Apple
  • Emilee Autumn
  • Joan Baez
  • Bananarama
  • The Bangles
  • Belly
  • Pat Benetar
  • June Carter Cash
  • Best Coast
  • The Birthday Massacre
  • Bjork
  • Blondie
  • Bow Wow Wow
  • Edie Brickell
  • Candy Hearts
  • Cat Power
  • Tracey Chapman
  • Kristin Chenoweth
  • Paula Cole
  • Claire Voyant
  • Patsy Cline
  • Concrete Blonde – Little Conversations
  • Cowboy Junkies
  • Alela Diane
  • Devil Doll
  • Ani Difranco
  • The Distillers
  • Dixie Chicks
  • Doris Day
  • Dresden Dolls
  • Melissa Etheridge
  • Eurythmics
  • Evanescence
  • First Aid Kit
  • Fleetwood Mac – “Edge of Seventeen”
  • Florence and the Machine
  • Flyleaf
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Frente!
  • Fugees
  • Garbage
  • Debbie Gibson
  • Go-Go’s
  • Halestorm
  • Lisa Hannigan – Knots
  • Imogen Heap
  • Heart
  • Hole
  • Billie Holiday
  • Jolie Holland
  • Jesca Hoop
  • Janis Ian
  • Jack Off Jill
  • Luscious Jackson
  • Etta James
  • Sarah Jarosz’s cover of Shankill Butchers
  • Jefferson Airplane
  • Eileen Jewell (Dusty Boxcar Wall might be fun)
  • Janis Joplin
  • Joan Jett – “Bad Reputation”
  • Nora Jones
  • Katrina and the Waves
  • Carol King
  • Cyndi Lauper
  • Lisa Loeb
  • Lorde
  • Madonna
  • Nellie McKay
  • Idina Menzel
  • Bette Midler
  • Joni Mitchell
  • Meg Myers
  • Neko Case
  • Nena
  • Stevie Nicks – “Rhiannon”
  • Nico
  • No Doubt
  • Sinead O’Connor
  • Opal
  • Amanda Palmer
  • Paramore
  • Dolly Parton
  • Christina Perri – Jar of Hearts
  • Bernadette Peters
  • Liz Phair
  • Phantogram – Blackout days
  • The Pierces
  • Pink
  • The Pirate’s Gospel
  • Pistol Annies
  • The Pixies (when Kim Deal sang lead)
  • Portishead
  • The Pretenders
  • Rasputina
  • The Julie Ruin
  • Verucca Salt
  • Scarling
  • Sleater-Kinney
  • Nina Simone
  • Siouxsie and the Banshees
  • Patti Smith
  • Sonic Youth
  • Spice Girls
  • Dusty Springfield
  • St Vincent
  • Mazzy Star
  • Sugarcubes
  • Tiffany
  • Throwing Muses
  • Mary Travers
  • Wye Oak
  • Xmal Deutschland
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs

In the end, she never quite got around to picking a song from this carefully curated list. All of the sudden it didn’t have to be a female singer or it didn’t have to be whatever it had to be in the first place. This year she is singing songs from My Little Pony. Hey, if my freshly-minted eleven year old  wants to sing MLP, so be it. Better that than a dozen other things I could name, right? She does a mean rendition of Sweet Transvestite courtesy of Tim Curry.

I will say, she did wind up with an awesome playlist on her iPod based on this list and the music I already had hanging out in my iTunes. She discovered 4 Non Blondes and Dolly Parton (she can belt out Jolene with the best of them) and The Pierces (Secret). She sang along with Rasputina and No Doubt and Cyndi Lauper. I smile a little smile every time she starts singing on her own because it means she is hearing that a woman can make it big, even if she isn’t processing that this is the “lesson” she is learning. I wouldn’t be sad if she decided to be the next Patti Smith. I’d be even happier if she was the next whatever she wants to be and her name is the next big thing for causing a revolution of whatever. A mama can dream. 

I haven’t linked all of those, some of them have specific songs listed next to them in the list (courtesy of the folks who helped propagate the list), and some of them I have never heard of or at least can’t place their names. Some of them I listen to daily. The point is, I am not saying one way or the other if they are quality or if they are crap. I’m just saying they are female, they sing, and someone, somewhere said they were worth listening to.

Doris Day; Female Musicians; find your new (old) favorite on ModifiedMotherhood.com!

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