Music

Celebrating a Year of Women in Music

The Village Voice looks back on some of the amazing female musicians we’ve profiled over the last twelve months, from Princess Nokia and Waxahatchee to SZA and Soccer Mommy

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“Stop talking about women’s involvement and creation of rock music as if it is brand new phenomena, or their appearance on Billboard rock charts as a new incursion and not one happening regularly in the 40ish years of Rock Chart history,” Jess Hopper, music critic and author of The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic, tweeted just two weeks ago in response to a Billboard article implying that women are just entering the scene.

As anyone with ears, a decent record collection, or a passing familiarity with Sister Rosetta Tharpe already knows, that’s a pretty silly notion, as old-fashioned and blinkered as the equally predictable cycle of “Rock Is Dead” headlines that surface every few years. While male-fronted rock has indeed undergone a bit of an identity crisis in the last few decades, women have continued to turn out brilliant, emotional, entertaining-as-hell rock — and pop and hip-hop and rap and jazz and folk and country and on and on. This isn’t a new phenomenon. It isn’t a trend. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth celebrating.

Looking back over some of the female musicians that the Village Voice has profiled over the last twelve months offers a pretty good snapshot of the current state of women in music. Among them are the indomitable Princess Nokia, the effervescent Maggie Rogers, the fragile Julien Baker, and the insanely brilliant SZA. They are all talented, wildly creative artists who’ve produced music we put on repeat and songs we can’t forget. Oh, and they happen to be women.

For Vagabon, Indie Rock Is About Creating a Voice and a Community

“Women of color exist in this scene. Just not many.”

Hurray for the Riff Raff‘s New York Story

“The more I learned about Puerto Rican history, the more I was like, ‘Oh, I make total sense.’”

Princess Nokia Is Ready to Reign

“At the end of the day, I’m still a ‘hood bitch, no matter how punk I am.”

Maggie Rogers: The Making of a 21st-Century Pop Heroine

“My entire life I have felt this incredible sense of predestination.”

Amber Coffman’s “City of No Reply” Is More Than a Dirty Projectors Breakup Album

“Since I had a good decade of working with other people, I had a long time to marinate on what I wanted to do.”

SZA Sizzles on Her Triumphant Debut, CTRL

“I just started getting into optimism yesterday. Anything is possible. I’m optimistic as fuck.”

Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield: “I Can’t Believe People Are Going to Hear This”

Indie rock’s sharpest self-scrutinizer has made her most personal album yet.

On New Album, Japanese Breakfast Is Floating in Space

“I don’t want any moment to go by where I’m not creating something, sharing something, or interacting with people.”

How the New Weird Suburbs Inspired EMA‘s Noise Folk

“I like the idea of multiple realities layered on top of each other.”

For Downtown Boys, the Political Is Personal

“When people need to hear something about someone being brown and smart, they can find us.”

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and the Secret Life of Synths

“Whatever I’m frightened of or I’m bad at, I love stepping closer to that to see what’s there.”

How Julien Baker Learned to Embrace the Ugliness of Existence

“I am me, and that is inescapable, so maybe I should stop trying to escape that and learn to embrace it.”

How The Con Raised Tegan and Sara to Indie Pop Royalty

“I still identify strongly with the helplessness and grief I was suffering with at that time in my life.”

Angel Olsen Isn’t Trying to Make You Cry. Really

“I just want to write something that’s honest and that people can really feel.”

L’Rain Weaves an Aural Tapestry Out of New York’s Chorus of Sound

“When I’m around people and I get nervous or excited, I like to record our conversations.”

How Jazz Outlaw Melanie Charles Found Voodoo in Brooklyn

“It’s answers to questions that I didn’t even realize I had before I started going to these ceremonies.”

On HistorianLucy Dacus Has Something to Say

“At the core, my message has pretty much been the same since I was, like, thirteen.”

As Soccer Mommy, Sophie Allison Sings Herself Clean
“It’s strong to admit, ‘Yes, I have issues. I’ve suffered too.’”

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