Empowering music comes in all forms, but my personal favorite is music made by women, for women. Here are 14 female musicians from various genres whose music has made me feel powerful and kickass as a woman.
Jetty Bones is the name of the solo musical endeavors of singer-songwriter Kelc Galluzzo. She makes indie rock music and has released two albums, both of which explore themes of happiness and mental health. Her album “Old Women” is a deeply personal set of five songs about personal growth, female independence, and self-love.
Song recommendation: “Clear Honey”
Camp Cope is an entirely female rock trio from Melbourne, Australia. They produce some of the most honest and raw music I have ever heard, and that level of intimacy connects the listener with the thoughts and feelings of the frontwoman, Georgia McDonald. My personal favorite album is their self-titled one, and it addresses themes such as mental illness, sexual assault, and politics, all with heavily feminist rhetoric.
Song recommendation: “Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steel Beams”
Paramore has been one of my favorite bands for as long as I can remember. Aside from their amazing live performances and frontwoman Hayley Williams being my ultimate girl crush, Williams has been proving for years that women have what it takes to thrive in the pop-punk world.
Song recommendation: “Last Hope”
Most well known as the vocalist of rock band Fleetwood Mac, Nicks also produces incredible solo songs. As one of the most iconic female musicians, her music draws inspiration from female empowerment, her past battles with drug addiction and an abusive relationship with her former bandmate. In short, Stevie Nicks is a badass woman.
Song recommendation:“Whole Lotta Trouble”
While Taylor Swift’s earlier ballads may not be the pinnacle of female empowerment, her newest album, “Reputation” is. “Reputation” as a whole is basically Swift owning the terrible names and insults people have thrown at her in the past and using them to her advantage.
Song recommendation: “Call It What You Want”
After releasing her debut album at only 16, Alanis Morissette has had a profound impact on music in the decades since. Her alt-rock music is packed with passion and catchy choruses but also discusses more personal topics in her softer tunes.
Song recommendation: “You Learn”
Rihanna is a bad bitch. That’s a fact. Her air of confidence and owning her sexuality emanates through her music. Rihanna isn’t afraid to be in charge and a boss, seen through her personal life and her music. Additionally, her being able to overcome an abusive relationship and still top the charts with her femme fatale anthems is insanely inspiring.
Song recommendation: “Needed Me”
SZA’s debut album “Ctrl” was a showstopper featuring instant chart-topping pop hits and features big names in the industry like Travis Scott and Kendrick Lamar. She opens up in each track on the album, discussing themes of self-confidence, insecurities and the ups and downs of modern relationships.
Song recommendation: “Garden (Say It Like Dat)”
Kississippi is the solo career of singer and songwriter Zoe Reynolds. Inspired by emo and pop punk bands, this indie singer pours her heart into her debut record “Sunset Blush.” Reynolds described the content of the album as overcoming toxic relationships, personal growth, and relearning who you are after trauma. It’s deeply personal and incredibly inspiring.
Song recommendation: “Cut Yr Teeth”
Actress, model, producer, singer, rapper, and songwriter. Janelle Monáe can do anything, it seems. Taking inspiration from pop icons like Janet Jackson and David Bowie, Monáe’s music is an artistic experience in which she expresses deep emotions and touches on important social issues affecting the world today.
Song recommendation: “Electric Lady”
The queen of pop herself. Madonna has inspired pop music for generations and has pushed boundaries in the industry for just as long. She is never afraid to be herself or speak her mind, which is one of the most inspiring things a woman of her status can do.
Song recommendation: “Like a Prayer”
Kesha has some of the most empowering ballads on this list. As a victim of abuse and manipulation from her record producer, Dr. Luke, Kesha explores themes of self-discovery and personal strength. She is a perfect example of a strong woman overcoming obstacles and hardships and could inspire anyone in a similar situation or not. She is one of the most empowering female musicians.
Song recommendation: “Praying”
Tegan and Sara
Tegan and Sara are a twin musical duo of indie-pop singers. They both identify as gay, and their music is representative and empowering of queer identities. They not only create alternative anthems, but they use their music and platform for political and social activism to promote equality and understanding.
Song recommendation: “I Know I Know I Know”
Let me start by saying that Lorde is a phenomenal singer and songwriter, especially as she rose to fame so young. Her album “Melodrama” is the epitome of a “getting over it” album. There’s so much emotion; each song shows that it’s okay to be vulnerable and you can still be strong while healing and working through personal troubles.
Song recommendation: “Supercut”
After her release of “Lemonade,” it would be a crime not to include Beyoncé on this list. Lemonade is a hugely empowering album for women and radiates strength, girl power, and not taking anything laying down.
Song recommendation: “Don’t Hurt Yourself’