I spent a long time trying to figure out how not to make this sound like a corny one-off salute to an entire gender that has historically gotten the shit end of the stick.
But the truth of the matter is, I wouldn’t be here without women—both in a literal, physical sense (shouts out to mom), and in the sense that I’ve always identified more with my female friends. It’s usually been the women in my life that have carried me through my darkest times.
The feminine spirit is one of complexity, elegance and strength, and she’s also the ultimate creator. While I’m proud to write for a publication that highlights the amazing musical contributions of women every day, there’s nothing wrong with taking a day like today—International Women’s Day—to intensify the spotlight on a small portion of the wealth of female talent pouring into our ears from around the world.
So here we go, five female artists that demand your attention, praise and support.
Location: London, United Kingdom
London rapper/singer Little Simz has been criminally slept on for several years, but that seems to be changing after the December release of her widely celebrated sophomore album Stillness in Wonderland.
Simz is indisputably gifted lyrically, and her music is supported by a worldly eclecticism that adds an exciting diversity to even her more straightforward hip-hop leaning tracks. What’s most refreshing about Simz’ music is her honesty. Simz is unafraid to elaborate on her many complexities in her lyrics, and with an intelligence and sense of humor that makes her feel like more of a longtime friend than an artist from several thousand miles away.
Location: Toronto, Canada
Hailing from TDot, Jessie Reyez is the owner of a voice that could make a statue cry. Her vast array of inflections and ranges allow for a vocal intensity to match her often razor-sharp words of truth, empowerment and heartbreak.
Seriously, “Figures” makes me feel like how everyone looked in that scene from High Fidelity when Maria De Salle makes her first appearance.
Without a full project under her belt, we’re left to constantly refresh her SoundCloud page for new additions, but following a Zane Lowe premiere of “Figures” on Beats 1 Radio, a pair of choicefeatures from DJBooth favorite Allan Rayman and a powerful new video for her single "Shutter Island," we can't wait to hear more from the Canadian talent.
Ace Tee (@tarinwilda)
yvngxchris Went From Recording on Earbuds to Viral Star
Rapper yvngxchris started off making songs on iPhone earbuds. Now, he's signed and constantly going viral.
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Ace Tee made this list based on the strength of a single song and a handful of teasers, so that should be enough to let you know that no sleeping will be allowed.
Ace’s breakout song “Bist Du Down?” (German for “are you down?”) is a smooth yet dense jam that’s just as much Erykah Badu as it is TLC. Neo soul, pop and R&B styles blend in Ace’s music to form the next logical step from her influences.
Several song snippets on her SoundCloud, as well as the addition of German rapper Kwam.e on “Bist Du Down?” also hint at Ace’s thorough hip-hop sensibilities, making the prospect of waiting for a full project—or at least some new songs—from the German songstress a daunting task.
Location: Virginia (by way of Pereira, Colombia)
I first learned of Kali through her beautiful contributions to Tyler, The Creator’s Cherry Bomb, but the Colombian-American singer has been impressing listeners and artists alike since 2012 when she released her debut mixtape Drunken Babble.
Kali’s beautiful voice and unapologetic doo-wop influences allow her to gracefully float between soulful beauty and haunting nostalgia, a balance she pulls off perfectly both in her solo work and on collaborations with the likes of GoldLink, Major Lazer and Snoop Dogg.
Her debut album also featured production from Tyler, The Creator, BadBadNotGood and Kaytranada, proving she's also got a fantastic ear for style and quality.
Location: Los Angeles (by way of Stockholm, Sweden)
If you’re still sleeping on Snoh after former DJBooth scribe Lucas G wrote a glowing review of her work last year, you’ve just plain and simply fucked up.
Snoh is the answer to everyone that’s been bummed out since Portishead stopped making music, but with a diversity in sound that actually makes her music more entrancing and exciting—a bold statement from someone that still regularly bumps Dummy.
Snoh is able to bounce back and forth between genres as drastically as a Tarantino movie soundtrack, but the switch is never harsh, nor leaves you wondering what the hell just happened. It’s a seamless groove that usually isn’t fully appreciated until halfway through the next song, an appreciation that only deepens upon repeat listens.
By Brent Bradley. Follow him on Twitter.