Female musicians over the years have revolutionized the music industry, from songwriters, composers, musicians, and producers that have open doors that allow a generation of women to flourish in the world of music. For years women have fought to make their mark in the music industry. There are magnificent female musicians throughout history and there are musicians that opened significant doors for musical artists today.
Female Musicians that Started the Evolution of Music
The era of jazz graced us with incredible artists such as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Anita O’Day, and the notorious Peggy Lee a singer and songwriter in the 1950-60s. Peggy Lee one of the first female artists to score the top ten in three different decades, with “Is That All There is” in 1969. Her brazen and luscious lyrics made history in America. Peggy Lee was the most successful songwriter for popular music. Her collaboration with Barbour on “It’s a Good Day,” “I Don’t Know Enough About You,” and “Everything Is Movin’ Too Fast” became popular in 1948 selling over two million copies. Ms. Lee was a woman that knew the limits but surpassed them and wrote a generation of music that would play in the homes of millions for years to come. She knew the women that came before her, therefore she wasn’t alone in her journey.
If you have never heard of “Storm Weather” then you’ve probably been living under a rock. Ms. Lena Horne one of the most famous singers that lived. Known for her works “Cabin in the Sky” and “Stormy Weather” the song and film from 1943, and The Wiz song “If You Believe,” 1978. Lena Horne never played a stereotype of African American women, forging her as a role model for black artists, actors, and singers. Later in 1984, Ms. Horne won the Kennedy Center for her lifetime contribution to the arts, and five years later a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement. Lena Horne was one of the greatest actresses and singers of her time and empowered black women in the entertainment industry.
What it Means to Dominate in One’s Profession
When you think “Queen” of pop music, you think of the stylish and iconic Madonna. She elevated the art of performing and her genius behind wildly unique music videos. Madonna’s first solo track in 1981 “Everybody” hit No.1 on the dance charts, which lead to the album Madonna. Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, and more are influenced by her controversial style and approach on stage. Madonna was one of the best selling artists of all time and hitting the Hot 100 Charts multiple times during the 1980-1990s. She sold 70 million albums worldwide in 1991, showing that women can financially dominate in the music industry. Madonna pushes the envelope of creativity providing her musical success.
Dominating your profession could seem unimaginable but many did achieve the impossible. Arthea Franklin, Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott, and girl group Salt N’ Pepa; RnB, hip-hop, soul, and rap artists opened and inspired the way for artists and producers. Missy Elliott is known for being an accomplished artist by changing the game in music production and RnB, Hip-hop, and rap music. She has produced over 50 albums for multiple artists including, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Hudson, Mariah Carey, Lizzo, and more. Her style is like no other and she broke the bonds of traditional hip-hop with her use of classic instrumentation and sensuous vocals. With her unconventional style, she won Grammys for “Scream aka. Itchin,” in 2003 and “Work It,” in 2004, from the album Under Construction in 2004 and the video for “Lose Control,” in 2006. She is one of the few female music producers that has established a bar of excellence not just for women but for everyone. She believed that “women are equal to men, as important as men and as powerful,” this was stated in the fashion magazine Dazed, in 2016.
The Doors That Will Open
Throughout history, female artists fought hard battles with record labels that tried or did exploit them, stand their ground when harassed by male audience members on stage, and have to fight for a spot on stage. They fought those battles so this generation of musicians doesn’t have to. Musicians should and need to support one another to succeed in the industry as songwriters, composers, and producers. It might be hard as a woman to get the gig or to be noticed, but women are continuously revolutionizing the music industry. Remember there were those before us that made it possible, and those present that are making great strides for women in the music.