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Female Musicians That Are Crushing the Industry
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Female Musicians That Are Crushing the Industry

When there are so many incredible people making music, it can be hard to remember how many female musicians are killing it in California.

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5 min read

July 29, 2021

It’s no secret that the Golden State is full of incredible talent. Artists, authors, musicians, and more creatives across the field have greatly impacted their respective industries for several decades now, breaking glass ceilings, barriers, and releasing absolute bangers. From female jazz musicians to rappers, women are showing no signs of slowing down in the music industry. But when there are so many incredible people from around the world making music, it can be hard to remember just how many female musicians are killing it in the Golden State. To remind you that California produces some of the best talents in the world, here’s a list of our favorite local female music artists who are crushing the game right now.

Olivia Rodrigo's critically acclaimed debut album, Sour, was released on May 21, 2021. Photo courtesy of Olivia Rodrigo.

1. Olivia Rodrigo 

Olivia Rodrigo rose to worldwide fame overnight with her single “Driver’s License” and it’s easy to see why. The SoCal-native top female pop artist is loved by critics and fans and continues to put out one banger after another, with her already large following growing non-stop. The post-breakup anthems along with raw and real explorations of young love on her debut album Sour have resonated with enough people to spend four weeks at number one on the billboard charts—this is the first debut album by a female musician to do so since 2010.

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Cry along to “Driver’s License,” headbang to “Brutal,” and sing your heart out to “Good 4 U”—if you weren’t a fan of Olivia Rodrigo before, you sure are going to love her now. 

Where to start: Driver’s License, Good 4 U, Deja Vu

Doja Cat is known for creating music videos and songs that achieve popularity on social media like TikTok and YouTube. Photo courtesy of Doja Cat.

2. Doja Cat

Amala Zandile Dlamini, aka Doja Cat was born in Los Angeles and had an interesting rise to fame, to say the least. As one of the leading Black female musicians at the forefront of the pop industry today, Doja Cat knows a thing or two about being viral. You probably remember the single-turned-meme “Mooo!” which went viral on the Internet. However, this female musician proved she’s capable of more with every release that followed.

Doja Cat’s sophomore album Hot Pink catapulted her career, with songs like “Say So” and “Juicy” amassing major popularity on TikTok. Planet Her, Doja Cat’s latest galactic-themed concept album is no less impressive. With catchy tunes, summer bops, and awesome features, we know we’ll be bopping along to this female musician’s songs for years to come. 

Where to start: Say So, Juicy, Kiss Me More, Ain’t Sh*t

Bridgers' music centers around acoustic guitar and incorporates atmospheric strings and electronic instrumentation. Photo courtesy of Phoebe Bridgers.

3. Phoebe Bridgers

Los Angeles-native Phoebe Bridgers is definitely crushing it, albeit in a different genre than the other top female artists on the list. The indie rock and folk singer, songwriter, and producer has critics raving over her sophomore album Punisher and a loyal following that only keeps growing. At just 26 years old, this awesome woman musician already has four Grammy nominations under her belt.

Lyrical themes in Bridgers’ music include death, trauma, depression, and strained relationships. She explores all these and a more complex tapestry of emotions in Punisher and delivers it all in a very heartfelt, psychedelic, and ultimately Bridgers-eque way.

Where to start: Garden Song, Kyoto, Motion Sickness

Haim's pop sound on their studio work stands in contrast to the more rock-based music of their live shows. Photo courtesy of Haim.

4. Haim

Haim is a trio of immensely talented sisters from Los Angeles with a distinctly catchy sound. All three sisters are proficient in more than one instrument. Este plays both guitar and bass, Danielle plays guitar and drums, and Alana plays guitar, keyboards, and percussion—talk about talent. Boasting a California cool-girl vibe and a soft rock sound that masterfully blends in elements of R&B and folk, these female musicians have solidified their presence. Hail has influenced the music industry with several chart-hitting singles and Grammy nominations, including one for Album of the Year.

Stream "Women in Music Pt. III," the band's third studio album for summer-night rock vibes, vivid storytelling, expressive lyrics, and sing-and-groove along music for your California summer days. We can imagine blasting “Summer Girl” on a road trip or walking around listening to “Los Angeles” in, well, Los Angeles.

Where to start: Now I’m in it, Gasoline, The Wire, Want you Back

After initial music appearances and singles under her real name, Wilson re-emerged in 2016 as H.E.R. Photo courtesy of H.E.R.

5. H.E.R.

Ladies and gentlemen: H.E.R. Real name Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson, Vallejo-born singer and songwriter H.E.R. is a definite trailblazer and one of the best female vocalists today. Not only does this talented female musician have two Grammys for Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Album, but she has also snagged an Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Fight For You” from the Film Judas and the Black Messiah.

Not only does H.E.R. shred the guitar, but she’s also a pro on four other musical instruments, delivering incredible live performances anyone would be blessed to witness. You know H.E.R., you love H.E.R., and you’ve been singing along to contemporary R&B ballads—this amazing Black female musician has taken the world by storm by just 24 years old and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

Where to start: Slide, Could’ve Been, We Made it

The first songs Eilish and her brother recorded together were called "She's Broken" and "Fingers Crossed." Photo courtesy of Billie Eilish.

6. Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish has come a long way since recording music in the bedroom with her brother Finneas (who’s also a talented singer, songwriter, and producer, FYI). Perhaps the most recognizable face in Gen-Z music, this female musician was only 13 when she recorded her first breakout song titled “Ocean Eyes.” Ever since that single started gaining traction, Eilish has continued to flourish, breaking several records and amassing a status as a young musical icon.

Eilish's debut studio album was one of the best-selling albums of 2019—“Bad Guy” became her first number-one song on the Billboard Hot 100. Later on, singles like “Everything I Wanted,” “Therefore I Am,” and “Your Power” all peaked within the top 10 in the country. And as if all that wasn’t impressive enough, this chart-topping female musician has also received seven Grammy Awards, two American Music Awards, two Guinness World Records, and more accolades. Eilish is also the youngest person and the second in history to win the four main Grammy categories in the same year. She swept the floor by winning Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year. 

Where to start: Bad Guy, When the Party’s Over, Everything I Wanted, Lost Cause

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