I love music and I love women’s empowerment. So I thought, why not combine the two? Below you’ll find a list of women who have changed my life, have given me the goosebumps and made me feel empowered. You may have heard of some of these artists and some maybe you haven’t, regardless, have a listen to these wonderful women and allow their magic to set you free.
Also referred to the Queen of Neo Soul, her music will move you. She’s been featured alongside the Roots in her song “You Got Me.” Aside from her presence on stage, something you may not have known about her is that she’s also a Reiki master and doula. She’s all about wellness and upon walking into her Dallas home you’ll see her massive collection of crystals.
Now, I might be biased on this one but Tash Sultana is quite possibly one of my favorite artists. Her grandfather gifted a guitar to her when she was three years old. She is self-taught and has mastered over 15 instruments. Seeing her perform live is something that I will never forget. On the days leading up to Tash’s show, my grandma was in and out of the hospital receiving chemo treatments and I found myself pouring from an empty cup, putting everyone else’s needs before my own. Going to see her show that night filled my cup back up.
I saw Nattali when she opened up for Tribal Seeds two years ago and if I were to describe her message in a couple words it would be spreading consciousness. On her website she says “Our intention with our music is to ignite that memory in ourselves of our individual and collective power to live life to the fullest and recognise our selves and each other as evolving beings of light.” I love this so much, I believe that we are infinite beings of light on this planet. Spreading our truth and loving ourselves is the whole reason we’re here right? Nattali and her band use the stage to share their powerful message to those that are ready and willing to listen.
Her music inspired Mac Miller and I think it really speaks to us women too. Her song “Lonely Nights” hits me in all the feels. My mind loves to wander and I know that I can really use a vacation from the thoughts that run through it.
Rotana’s story never ceases to amaze me. Born in Saudi Arabia, she grew up in a culture that restricted her apparel and her voice. She was forced to adhere to strict religious guidelines and meanwhile had dreams of moving to America. Regardless of the backlash she knew she would receive for going against the “shoulds” of her country she wasn’t about to let her voice be quieted. She is an activist for her people, she’s changing the world and I’m so grateful we get to experience her greatness.
This next one is technically a duo, but I’m going to shout out their lead vocals, Via Rosa. I first saw them open up for Nombe and Jungle in 2017 – wow, her voice blew me away. It’s gentle, yet fierce, dark and passionate. I love her energy, she’s a kind soul with incredible talent. Her voice and overall vibe truly sets you free. Once you start listening, you won’t want to stop. Catch them live and it’s a complete game changer.
Also known as Jennifer Lee, however, professionally known as TOKiMONSTA. This woman knows no bounds. In January of 2016 she underwent two brain surgeries, to treat a rare disease called Moyamoya. The scariest part wasn’t the fact that she had to relearn how to walk or comprehend language. The worst part was that she couldn’t understand any kind of music, couldn’t understand a good sound from a bad sound. Her album, Lune Rouge, is her first piece of work after her recovery. Each of the beats tell a story.
I think we can all relate a bit to Laura’s music. Life should be lived happily, but it’s not always about being positive. I first met Laura at a Sofar show I was working earlier in December and I was instantly drawn to her warm unicorn vibe.
Shawnee’s magic can be seen locally around Chicago and at Sofar shows. She is all about spreading consciousness through her incredible vocals. She engages the audience through energetic exchanges and meditations throughout her set.
Need I say more? For those of you who haven’t listened to her, what are you doing?
Something you may not have known was that she collaborated and has a feature with Prince. She’s a firm believer in body positivity and actively promotes self-love on and off the stage.
Sarah Marie Young
“Yasss Sarah yasss” were the first words I thought of after catching her live at a Sofar in Chicago. Sarah’s voice speaks straight to the soul. She’s also hilarious.
Her ability to take you on a journey through her performance is pure magic. I actually got a little emotional when she spoke about losing her father. My dad passed away about 6 years ago and he still shapes the way I live my life. I’m grateful that even through the pain, the power of music can bring us together.
Who else would you add to this list? Share your thoughts in the comments below!