- Giavanna Gradaille
15 Songs to Celebrate International Women's Day
Top: Meet Me @ The Altar via Spotify; NOU via SoundCloud; Bottom: Mijita via Instagram; Someya via Facebook.
Are you as excited as me for International Women’s Day?! Just to make it clear: the holiday is tomorrow, March 8th – I’m just so jazzed up that I needed to post a day early. This holiday always makes me giddy to see the outpouring support and recognition for women. But I’ve always had one qualm with it; not enough appreciation is directed towards the incredible women making an impact with smaller platforms. So, I thought the best way Pop Passion could celebrate the holiday is by highlighting and uplifting the voices of women artists from underrepresented backgrounds. The criteria I followed by to compile this list: the reviewed song had to fall under the pop genre (or a sub-genre of pop), the reviewed song had to be released in the last three years, and the artist or group had to represent folks we do not hear enough from in the pop sphere. Now, let's get on to the songs and start showing our appreciation.
15. "Water Me" - Chynna Mac
“Water Me” by Chynna Mac is a soft, guitar-laden indie-pop single about romantic partners showering one another in unconditional love. The key contributor to this love’s growth is displaying it through emotional availability and presence. This beautiful message is vocalized with Mac’s gorgeous, confessional-styled delivery. Whenever I close my eyes while listening, it feels like she’s directly speaking to me – and I’m sure other listeners can attest to this experience. Chynna Mac is a black, plus-size, lesbian singer and songwriter from Tennessee, currently making music in Los Angeles, California. “Water Me” is the ninth song to be featured on the artist’s album It Is What It Is.
14. "Better Off" - All There Is
“Better Off” by All There Is is a pop-punk single about coming to terms with the end of a relationship by realizing you’re happier and healthier without it. It’s the perfect break-up anthem for when you need to be reminded that the end of a romantic connection can be the best possible outcome. The arrangement of the strings and drums throughout the song captures a range of emotions and makes me hopeful for the return of riot grrrl culture. Coming from Texas and completely fronted by women, All There Is consists of singer and rhythm guitarist Sofia Mora, bassist Kelly Condy, drummer Grace Goodman, and recent addition, guitarist Charlotte O’Boyle. The alt pop-rock group’s newest single, “DEADWEIGHT!”, gets released this Friday, March 10th – mark it down on your calendars.
13. "Potential" - Norhan
“Potential” by Norhan is a dance-pop single with heavy R&B elements about falling in love with someone’s potential – not who they are. This is the club song call-out we occasionally need to stop romanticizing the idealized version of our crush because we only wind up hurt in the end when we see they’ll never live up to the potential we saw in them. Norhan’s sweet vocals keep us engaged and optimistically hopeful for an event we know will never happen. Norhan is an Egyptian pop artist based in Chicago, IL. The artist will be dropping their new single, “Mistaniyak”, on March 17th.
12. "Caution Sign" - Stella Mar
“Caution Sign” by Stella Mar is a synth-pop single about not initially seeing people for what they are. Especially if they’re done up nice, sometimes we can overlook or miss the red flags that surround them. Mar’s deep, sultry voice loans the song a taste of jazz while the synths give listeners some 80’s nostalgia. The dark, vivid colors within the visualizer contrasted with a neon pink sign of the song's namesake is visually outstanding, too. Stella Mar is an indie, queer artist based in Tacoma, Washington. “Caution Sign” is one of the seven songs that make up Mar’s latest album, Polyester.
11. "Counting Me" - Vicki Lovelee
“Counting Me” by Vicki Lovelee is a revenge pop song about maintaining your confidence in the face of rejection. The best form vengeance in a situation like this is displaying how well you’re doing without the rejecting party as they obsess over you. The song’s dark nature is brilliantly highlighted with dramatic vocals and shifts in melody. Vicki Lovelee is a Chinese Canadian alt-pop singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist from Ontario. The official music video for “Counting Me” drops this Thursday, March 9th at 9:00 PM.
10. "Jenni" - Shak SYrn
“Jenni” by Shak SYrn is a bedroom alt-pop single about the appreciation we have for our comfort friend. In this song we’re showing nothing but a deep admiration and platonic love for this friend in our life because they deserve to be reminded every once in a while. The song embodies good, summertime vibes while SYrn’s dreamy vocals take listeners to a higher plane of existence. Shak SYrn is a black, queer artist that’s currently based in Los Angeles, California. SYrn’s music blends the whimsy of magic and spirituality with neo-soul and alt-pop.
9. "Physical" - Jasmine Rodriguez
“Physical” by Jasmine Rodriguez is a compelling dance-pop single about desiring a connection that runs deeper than surface level. Unfortunately, the foundation for the connection that brought on this desire was built on a mutual need for physical contact. The emotional desire within the song leaves listeners in a perpetual state of yearning. Jasmine Rodriguez is a Dominican singer, songwriter and musician based in Los Angeles, California. Her Spanglish covers of “Unstoppable” and “Just The Two Of Us” showcase the artist’s soft, bright vocals and their skill with the guitar.
8. "Again" - NOU
"Again” by NOU is a memorable dream-pop single for the lovers out there. This song is the sweet harmony you sing to your romantic partner after silly fights to remind them how much you adore them and the process of falling in love with them. With this song, you're directly telling your partner that you would be willing to fall in love with them all over again if given the chance. NOU is a singer and songwriter based in Hawaii. In the upcoming months, the artist plans on creating and releasing music videos to accompany their singles.
7. "Mapped Out" - Meet Me @ The Altar
"Mapped Out" by Meet Me @ The Altar is pop-rock single about feeling lost but never letting others onto this truth. The headbanger champions a fake-it-til'-you-make-it attitude that's bound to boost anyone's confidence. Fans of the mid-2000s easycore scene can hear the influence on the song. Meet Me @ The Altar is a queer, POC, pop-rock band composed of guitarist-bassist Téa Campbell, drummer Ada Juarez, and lead vocalist Edith Victoria. The band has a mission to revamp the music scene and is a little bit closer to doing so with their upcoming album. Their debut album Past // Present // Future will be released this Friday, March 10th!
6. "lmk" - Maezi666
“lmk” by Maezi666 is an industrial electronica-pop single and ode to clingy, lover girls everywhere. It perfectly captures the struggle between wanting to be in close, constant communication with the person we’re longing for but also not wanting to come off as overbearing, either. The song embodies the pleading eyes emoji - and it certainly wins over listeners compassion. Maezi Kacey, better known as Maezi666, is a trans artist and guitarist from Seattle, Washington that currently resides in Los Angeles, California. Maezi666 is a part of the established trio, Scythe Gang 666.
5. "Lights Off" - Mijita
“Lights Off” by Mijita is a pop single with catchy components of funk and R&B. The song is all about being la tóxica in a relationship; within the context of the song the toxic partner drains you both emotionally and physically. The song's sexy, provocative sound can make any listener okay with getting used as "a washcloth". Mijita is an LGBT+, Afro-Latina artist based in Brooklyn, New York. Ever since the 22-year-old artist’s debut single “Unleash Your Mind”, listeners have been eager to devour more of their unique blend of Latin dance music and bedroom pop.
4. "Too Good For You" - Rawan
“Too Good For You” by Rawan is a groovy dance-pop single about recognizing your self-worth. Sometimes it takes external events for this revelation to dawn upon us. And that's perfectly okay, I'm more than happy to have Rawan's sonorous vocals help me see the light and refuse to lower myself for someone else's benefit. Rawan Maarouf, better known by the stage name Rawan, is an Arab-American singer and songwriter based in New Jersey. Rawan’s latest EP Lost Boy, emphasizes the artist’s commitment to the deconstruction of stigmas through dazzling piano melodies.
3. "very well" - csndra
“very well” by csndra is their debut single that dropped last February. It’s a vibrant, indie-pop single about radical self-love and self-acceptance. It’s the ultimate woman empowerment song that reminds us about the innate, individual strength each woman carries. The Orlando native, csndra, is a Puerto Rican singer, songwriter, designer, and animator currently based in Atlanta, Georgia. The artist left graphic designing to pursue their musical career. While we wait to be graced with more music, peep csndra’s follow-up single, "DMLO".
2. "Dreams" - Baby Storme
“DREAMS” by Baby Storme is a dream-pop single that doubles as a siren song. The slowed rhythm coupled with Baby Storme’s ethereal voice is bound to hypnotize any listener. It makes me wish I could live in the dreamscape the artist is envisioning - and maybe that's what makes the song so alluringly dangerous. Baby Storme is a black, genre-blending artist determined to transform the face of alternative music. Their new single “PAINKILLERS” will be released this Friday, March 10th! In the meantime, get familiar with and transfixed by Baby Storme’s discography.
1. "The Way I Do" - Someya
“The Way I Do” by Someya is a gripping alt-pop single about a queer love triangle. The cinematic music video accompanied by Someya’s hauntingly stunning vocals makes listeners feel like they’re watching a thriller unravel before their eyes. The song’s murderous end takes my breath away every single time I watch it. Someya is a bisexual singer and actor based in Los Angeles, California. The artist’s discography is filled with Sapphic songs that feed the soul. An upcoming project fans get to look forward to seeing is Your Love; a romantic, queer, Punjabi historical fiction short film that co-stars Someya.
Diversity in the pop sphere is rare, and I’m always elated to find women artists that reflect a little more of the everyday world we occupy. Much like their music makes those of us living within the margins of society feel seen, it’s crucial that we return the favor by showing them virtual love whenever possible. And we do so by showing up and turning out via continual support of their music and passion projects. Here’s to the women in pop that continue to leave a lasting impression on our minds while captivating our hearts with philosophy, emotional relatability, and storytelling that knows no bounds.
Written by Giavanna Gradaille
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