March is Women’s History Month, and we’re celebrating by putting the spotlight on 10 female singers who are changing the game with their uncompromising creativity and must-see live shows. These rising stars join a long list of fiercely independent women in music who have broken down barriers and made their voices heard. Their styles run the gamut from garage rock and indie folk to future soul and electropop—some fly solo while others play in duos and groups—but they all share an unwavering commitment to artistry and have each forged their own completely unique vision.
These self-made Spanish garage rockers first found critical acclaim after uploading their demos to Bandcamp, and they’ve been indie darlings ever since thanks to their deliciously fuzzed-out sound, playful lyrics, and exuberant live performances. Following a whirlwind tour of the festival circuit in 2015, Hinds released their 2016 debut album Leave Me Alone to rave reviews.
Few soul singers have arrived on the scene in recent memory with as much promise, personality, and effortless style as Day, whose incredible voice and ’60s vibe have made her a fast favorite with fans. The San Diego, California native got her break in 2012 when her cover of Jessie J’s “Mamma Knows Best” went viral on YouTube, created a ton of buzz at SXSW 2015, and lifted fans up at the 2016 GRAMMYs, where she performed a stunning rendition of her GRAMMY-nominated hit song “Rise Up”. Fans can catch her on a solo headlining tour this spring and on tour this summer opening for Leon Bridges.
The London alt-rock quartet’s fuzzed-out sound plays like a ‘90s grunge dream, and critics have taken note – Wolf Alice’s song “Moaning Lisa Smile” was nominated for Best Rock Performance at the 2016 GRAMMYs. The band first landed on the mainstream radar back in 2012 after uploading their tune “Leaving You” to SoundCloud, and by 2013 they were the most blogged-about artist in the UK. Wolf Alice released their debut album My Love Is Cool to a No. 2 spot on the UK Albums Chart in 2015, and stateside fans can rock with them on tour this spring with UK punk duo Slaves.
The uber-stylish electropop ingénue was the most Tweeted-about performer at SxSW 2015, and now her gorgeous voice, potent lyrics, and commanding stage presence have her selling out major venues like Madison Square Garden. It all started in 2014 when her track “Ghost” drew the attention of the folks at Astralwerks, who signed her and released her debut EP Room 93. Halsey followed up in 2015 with her full-length debut Badlands, a No. 2 smash on the Billboard 200 featuring anthems like “New Americana” and “Colors”, and is super serving her new music on the Badlands Tour running through this summer.
Whether she’s reliving the rush of new love on “Jitter” or celebrating post-breakup independence with “NoLo”, this Portland pop prodigy always stuns with her powerful voice, killer style, and edgy pop sound. She got her start posting songs to SoundCloud before contributing a downtempo cover of Hall & Oates’ “Maneater” to the 2013 film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Since then she’s released two stellar EPs (2014’s Design and 2015’s Raceday) that have fans looking forward to her forthcoming full-length debut.
The Scandinavian songstress took home Best Newcomer at the 2015 Swedish GRAMMYs, and now she’s bringing her resilient brand of soulful pop to the States. Sey was on track for a career in academia before her love of artists like Alicia Keys and Beyoncé caused her to switch gears and enroll in a soul music program, and once she linked up with producer Magnus Lidehall for the track “Younger” it was on. A dance remix of the song made its way onto the US Hot Dance Club Songs Chart in 2014, and her acclaimed 2015 debut album Pretend has fans ready and raring for her upcoming tour dates.
Fearless frontwoman Lyndsey Gunnulfsen cuts a commanding figure on stage as she and PVRIS unleash their potent blend of electropop, post-hardcore, and soaring arena rock. PVRIS (pronounced Paris) rocked fans on the 2013 Vans Warped Tour after winning a contest to perform on Ernie Ball’s Battle of the Bands stage, and they’ve been a touring juggernaut ever since. Fans won’t want to miss their live-wire performances on tour with Fall Out Boy this spring.
It takes talent to make a party anthem like Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” sound heartbreaking and cathartic, but that’s exactly the kind of thing singer Elena Tonra of indie folk trio Daughter does best. The band rose to local fame in London thanks to Tonra’s heartbreaking voice and confessional lyrics, and in 2012 they signed to venerable British imprint 4AD. Since then they’ve found commercial success in the UK and earned a growing fanbase overseas thanks to outstanding albums like If You Leave (2013) and Not to Disappear (2015).
The uber-hip British duo’s futuristic pop sound has made them a favorite with fans and critics on both sides of the pond, and singer Aluna Francis brings a perfect mix of sweetness and swagger to the stage at the pair’s unforgettable shows. She and producer George Reid got their start in 2012 with the digital single “You Know You Like It”, and by 2013 they were Brit Award and BBC Sound of 2013 nominees. Their debut album Body Music reached No. 2 on the US Heatseekers Chart, and fans can’t wait for their 2016 sophomore album Carnality Hurricane.
With her hugely anticipated debut album All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend dropping in March, this Norwegian synthpop goddess has stateside fans dying to experience ethereally beautiful cuts like “Runaway” and “Half the World Away” in concert. Aurora Aksnes started writing songs at age 10 and was discovered by a management agency during high school after a friend uploaded one of her tracks to a Norwegian streaming site. Her 2015 debut EP Running With the Wolves was nominated for a Spellemannprisen (Norwegian GRAMMYs), and her full-length debut is already generating buzz.
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