This decade has been blessed with one of a kind female artists who are so unapologetically themselves. Some of them we’ve grown up with, others shared a piece of their wisdom. Granting us with an abundance of divine sounds, these musicians left their mark for the generations to come.
We decided to create a list of these powerful individuals who, in our opinion, made the last decade what it was.
Does this one really call for an explanation? It’s Beyoncé we’re talking about! The legend of almost two decades has been the emotional support for many of us. Not only does she have rocking vocals (hats off to Lemonade), but she also became the voice of many women and communities out there. Oh and on top of that, Queen B is a badass entrepreneur!
The world would never be the same after the 21st-century icon released her debut album The Fame. More than 10 years later, we are still rocking along to ‘Poker Face’ and ‘Just Dance’ while reminiscing about the good ol’ Gaga in her meat dress. All else aside, she truly treats music as a form of art, whether it is through her sound, looks or music videos.
Rihanna has done it all, from music to movies, from make-up to fashion and is just overall a staggering person. Having been one of the most streamed female artists, she is known to break the charts with her hits. If you don’t find yourself singing along to ‘Work’, you’re lying. She is also out there celebrating women, gracefully taking them in under her umbrella-ella-ella-eh-eh-eh.
Probably one of the biggest transformations we’ve seen over the last 10 years, Taylor Swift went from ‘a country girl singing about break-ups’ to ‘the woman who stands up for herself’. And yes, there was that incident with Kanye West, but whether you like it or not, Swift made it as best-selling musicians out there. With her new documentary Miss Americana released on Netflix, Taylor Swift will probably find herself back on this list in 10 years’ time.
Changing from Hannah Montana to Miley Cyrus sure wasn’t easy. The musician, not being shy of her individuality, went from the image of a childhood sweetheart to a pot-smoking twerker and then to the emotional ‘Wrecking Ball’. It almost feels like we’ve seen it all. With that being said, Cyrus also showed us a gentle young woman trying to find herself, making the whole ‘growing up’ experience relatable in her own way.
Word on the street is that Nicki Minaj gave a breath of fresh air to hip-hop, a male-dominated scene. The ‘Anaconda’ performer became the first female rapper in over 8 years to hit the charts with ‘Your Love’ and that was only the start of her badass crusade. Whether you’re a hip-hop fan or not, you can’t help but appreciate Minaj and her ability to stand up to the ‘big guns’ of the industry.
Where does one start when talking about Janelle Monáe? The singer, the actress, the dancer – an artistical triple threat. Dirty Computer, Monáe’s first release in almost 5 years, perfectly displayed her ability not to single out any individual. On the contrary, the collectiveness seeping through every track makes Janelle Monáe the legend that she is. Not only that, the funky and bold sound offers a perfect company to the visuals.
Adele broke the charts at the time when piano ballads weren’t ‘cool’, but her voice mixed with complex musical arrangements did something to our ears which hasn’t happened in a while. ‘Rolling in the deep’ set a trend that was picked up on by the likes of Rihanna, Sam Smith, Harry Styles, John Legend and many other chart-topping musicians. But what truly makes Adele admirable is her authentic self, which at this point is more of a friend than a celebrity.
Demi Lovato deserves a lot of love and appreciation. No one asked the artist to get candid about her fight with drug abuse and mental illness, but she did, becoming a spiritual ambassador for many. Not only that, she turned her story into music, making the message echo through the ears of the listening legion.
Lana Del Rey
For Lana Del Rey the decade started with the ‘fake’ stamp, which she successfully demolished by staying true to her sound. Let’s not forget how she brought the retro sound back to the radio, music to the ears of many. Being known for her wistful and layered compositions, she draws the audience in, transporting them from the background to the front-row seats.
Perhaps one of the most distinct sounds of the decade, Lorde showed the world just the kind of lyrical genius she is. Add the rock-famous mixolydian mode into the mix and you get a sound you can’t describe. While her music and the whisper-like vocals offer a simple listen, the arrangements are anything but. Does that sound like Patti Smith of the new generation? If her latest album Melodrama was of any indication, one could say we’re getting pretty damn close.
Kacey Musgraves and ‘breaking the stereotype’ are now used interchangeably. The Grammy-winning country singer took home the album of the year with Golden Hour, cracking the perception of country music bit by bit. She is stepping away from the traditional outlaw-ish music, with her songs housing somewhat taboo topics within the country music scene. Musgraves is doing what she does best and from the looks of it, she isn’t stopping any time soon.
This decade gave us the life coach we never knew we needed – Cardi B. Topping the charts with Invasion of Privacy she became no stranger to collecting labels, which seems to only fuel her fire. The level of honesty she delivers makes her admirable, her personality makes her an individual and her sharp tongue gets her heard. Cardi B makes you embrace the past and be damn proud of your achievements. Want to scream about it from the top of your lungs? Go ahead, Cardi B gave you her blessing.
Carly Rae Jepsen
One of the most mysterious pop sensations out there, Carly Rae Jepsen has built a die-hard fan base. The viral success of ‘Call Me Maybe’ crowned Jepsen as the meme Queen, the title she is yet to pass on. However, there are more sides to the artist, which she gracefully showed with the multi-faceted E•MO•TION. With no scientific explanation, the phenomenon known as Carly Rae Jepsen draws you in, feeding the desire to become a part of inner circles filled with inside jokes and secret meet-ups.
Lizzo released her 3rd studio album Cuz I Love You just in time to make this list. Her story isn’t one of over-night success. ‘Truth Hurts’ was released almost two years before making the charts and boy are we happy this didn’t stop Lizzo from paving her path. Not only that, the musician has been preaching about acceptance long before it became a ‘hot topic’. She knows what we need, and she delivers. Lizzo just gets it.