Open Site Navigation

Women in: Music

Updated: Jul 29

Within the music industry, women are mastering the game. In recent reports, Rihanna currently holds the title of being the richest female musician in the world. Beyonce is the most nominated female artist in music history. She's tied with Paul McCartney, with 79 nominations as the second most-nominated artist of all time.


A report from the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative examined the gender and ethnicity of music creators across 800 US singles chart hits from 2012 to 2019. Across those eight years, just 21.7% of artists were women. 14.4% of 2019’s leading songwriters were women. Only 2.6% of producers are women.


The statistics above are disappointing and showcase the strides that still need to take place when it comes to gender equality within the industry. However, those present within the industry have been loud and their boldness leaves room for deep admiration. Today, we celebrate them with the energy they deserve!


Julie Adenuga

Described as 'The Most Trusted Voice In U.K. Music', Julie Adenuga is a Nigerian-British radio presenter. The North London native is notoriously known for, documenting the Grime genre. She consistently provides a voice for music creatives within the British waters and beyond. Her impressive decade within the industry found her to be one of the three lead anchors of Beats 1, and host her own YouTube Music Series 'Julie's Top 5'. Adenuga’s voice has also been vocal in support of the #EndSARS movement.


In an interview with BuzzFeed News Adenuega stated,

“MY WHOLE CAREER HAS BEEN ABOUT: HOW DO I LIVE THE LIFE THAT I WANT COMFORTABLY? MY OWN PERSONAL LIFE, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, FIND A BALANCE IN MAKING SURE THAT I'M TALKING ABOUT THE THINGS THAT I'M PASSIONATE ABOUT AND CHAMPIONING THE UNDERDOGS, THE MISFITS, THE PEOPLE THAT AREN'T IN THE MAINSTREAM, THE NICHES — HOW DO I FIND A BALANCE BETWEEN THAT?”.

When talking about the Black British experience, Julie Adenuga is a fine contributor to "the culture".



Rina Sawayama

Rina Sawayama is the newest pop princess on the block. The Japanese-British singer/songwriter boldly blends different sounds into exciting pop anthems, from smooth waves of rhythm & blues to bouncy club beats. Making her debut back in 2017, with the Rina EP, Sawayama's enrichment to the music scene leaves many wondering what to expect next. In her music, the exploration of identity, and its complications, that is often embraced. Learning to preserve her traditional Japanese culture, her love for the clubbing culture helped her make sense of her sexuality as well as musical taste. Sawayama's talents go beyond musical talents, as she graduated from the University of Cambridge with a degree in political science.


This year, the pop star helped change Brits Awards rules after she was told she could not compete for the prizes last year because she was not a British citizen.



Ari Lennox

The master of sultry lyrics and silk-like vocals, Ari Lennox, continues to light up the R&B torch. With humble beginnings and an active member of J.Cole’s Dreamsville squad, Ari Lennox made her debut back in 2016 with the Pho EP. In 2019, she returned with her debut album “Shea Butter Baby”, a modern R&B classic that captivates honey-toned runs and sensual rhythms. With her hilarious Instagram Lives and her constant love for Black Femininity, Ari Lennox is an artist who isn’t afraid to wear her heart on her sleeve.



Billie Ellish

Billie Eilish, an overnight pop-star sensation, and she's only 18 years old. Ellish made her debut ar 14 with her breathtaking single 'ocean eyes'. After posting the song Soundcloud, she received over a million plays, giving her the spotlight to her electrifying music career. Fast forward four years later, her debut album, 'WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO' (2019), went straight to #1 in the Billboard 200 in the US. She was able to take the number one spot in the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and many more. The superstar has 5 GRAMMYS under her belt and is waiting to go on her world tour.



WondaGurl

Ebony Naomi Oshunrinde, or as many know her, WondaGurl, is a Canadian record producer, songwriter and record executive. The gifted beatmaker is responsible for your favourite club tracks: from Travis Scott's 'NO BYSTANDERS’ to Rihanna's 'B*tch Better Have My Money’. Exploring her talents from the budding age of nine, WondaGurl, fell in love with music production through her Casio keyboard. When that didn’t fulfil her needs the way she wanted, she then went on the computer and searched “how to make beats” on YouTube.


“A lot of people don’t take you seriously. Once they figure out who I am and what I’ve done, they have a lot more respect for me,” Wondagurl tells BETNetworks in a 2018 news story.

In an interview with Fader, the female producer made it clear that recognition is what she wishes to obtain.

“I DREAM ABOUT COMPLETELY TAKING OVER THE GAME, IN A TIMBALAND KIND OF WAY”.


NONAME

The Chicago born rapper does not shy away from her voice and the things that matter. Noname's poetic, grounded style showcases the influences of Ms Lauryn Hill and Andre 3000. Noname has created a reputation of someone who isn't afraid to learn and will happily school a rapper or two. Her emergence on the scene began during her open-mike ventures. She soon attracted attention after appearing on Mick Jenkins' 'Trees & Truths' and Chance the Rapper's 'Acid Rap'. In July 2016, she made her debut with the thought-provoking 'Telefone'. It was then followed by 'Room 25' in 2018.

With an active online book club, Noname has actively been using her platform to highlight the injustice of those particularly within the Black Diaspora and why celebrities can't always be the saviours we want them to be.



H.E.R Entering the scene anonymously, H.E.R (Having Everything Revealed) became recognisable through relatable lyrics and soothing melodies. H.E.R Vol 1 created the perfect soundscape of a healing, broken heart. The seven-track EP brought forward new fans rapidly, despite the lack of promotion. The two times GRAMMY winner went on to put out H.E.R Vol 2 (2017) and; I Used To Know Her (2019). The starlight has mastered 5 instruments and is influenced by the great Prince, Lauryn Hill and B.B King.



Who are the memorable women in music you’re celebrating today? Let us know in the comments section!