For as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with seeking out new female singer-songwriters and female-fronted bands. It started when I was only a tot, when I was given a copy of The Bangles Different Light for Christmas. I had memorised all of the lyrics within a week I’m told, although my pronounciation was slightly off in places (still impressive for a three-year-old!). By the time I started National School, I had moved onto ladies like Madonna and Kylie but my affection for pop soon grew into a huge grá for women of rock once I was old enough to wander into music shops on Saturday afternoons.
The very first CD I purchased was Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill. When Morissette first emerged on the Irish music scene I was excited to find relief from the hair-swishing and constant smiling of the pop princesses of the world. Morissette was different. She wrote songs about lads that screwed her over and her experiences as a young woman who refused to fit in in a cookie-cutter world. She spoke to the average female teenager. She was angry, she was edgy and she was armed with a guitar. To me, she was just cool.
From Morissette I moved on to discover other emerging singer-songwriters such as Jewel, Natalie Merchant, Sheryl Crow, Paula Cole and my absolute favourite, Sarah McLachlan. I often lay in my room taking in the sounds of Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, Patti Smith and Eva Cassidy and eagerly read up on female bands like the Dixie Chicks and The Donnas.
These days, the music scene is rife with hugely talented female songwriters; from Imogen Heap to Ingrid Michaelson, Rachael Yamagata to Regina Spektor, Missy Higgins to Chantal Kreviazuk, Ida Maria to Lykke Li, A Fine Frenzy to Bat for Lashes, there has never been a better time to like a bit of lady.
This brand new feature will, quite simply, celebrate the female voice in music. In each post I hope to feature some of the very best female musical talent for your reading and listening pleasure- the legends, the icons, the newer and emerging generation as well as a lovely sprinkling of homegrown Irish!
If any of you readers out there would like any particular female artist, female-fronted or all-girl band featured here, please give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to oblige.
My first post is coming very soon- keep it tuned to 4fortyfour for all things lady-like! Here’s something to get us started: