9 powerful pop women who are making music great this year
Women are powerful, fierce, and bold. We stay true to ourselves and stick together when others try to knock us down. Over the past few years, a great number of women have spoken out against injustice, misogyny, and being mistreated, allowing others to come forward with confidence and without fear. It’s spearheaded a movement that proves women to be the self-proclaimed badasses that they are.
In today’s pop culture, strong women are needed now more than ever. There have been countless women breaking records and paving the way for pop music this year, claiming the throne of a male-dominated industry.
From Ari to self-care queen Lizzo, these are some of the fiery ladies who have defied all odds and made pop music a “girls-only” club.
1. Ariana Grande
Ari has become the ultimate pop star this past year. With her fourth album ‘Sweetener’ marking her epic return after a chaotic few years and her fifth LP ‘thank u, next‘ delving deep into a girl’s vulnerable take on love and loss, she’s been at the top of her game since 2018. She received her first no. 1 single and earned herself a spot as one of the only three artists in history to have two singles from an album debut at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100—she’s keeping good company with Drake and Mariah Carey. It seems like she’s breaking records left and right without any effort at all. Ariana is the pop star of our quintessential ideas, boasting about loving ourselves and moving onto bigger dreams. Not to mention her hit ‘God is a woman’ is what we’ll be blasting today.
Hip-hop artist Lizzo has made one of the biggest breakthroughs this year. Her single ‘Juice’ exudes confidence, assurance, and attitude. Her advocacy for body positivity has instilled confidence within plus-sized girls everywhere. Her rise to stardom has been almost a decade in the making—she was a member of a few hip-hop groups before she pursued a solo career. Taking a scroll through her Instagram feed is like one endless self-love fest and it’s bound to make anyone feel like they can conquer the world no matter what they look like. She’s skyrocketing to the top and she’ll most likely surpass it after the release of her third album ‘Cuz I Love You’ in April.
3. Taylor Swift
While T-Swift has been mostly M.I.A. since her world tour has ended, it hasn’t stopped her from keeping herself in the public eye. It’s been two years since she released her experimental pop album ‘Reputation’ but now there have been rumblings of new music on the horizon. After her highly publicized feud with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, Taylor has shifted her notoriety more on her music rather than her personal life. And it’s working for her just fine. She recently graced the cover of Elle UK and penned an essay on the importance of pop music. It’s an in-depth look inside the pop star’s creative mind and what the perfect pop song means to her. Swift is ready to take over the world once again but let’s be real, she never really stopped to begin with.
4. Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga dominated the music scene in the late in the late 2000s. We all remember ‘Bad Romance,’ ‘Just Dance,’ ‘Poker Face,’ and ‘Born This Way.’ It was her signature to be outrageous but she still maintained an aura of creative breakthrough. In 2019, she’s probably encountered one of the best achievements in her professional career. She won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for A Star Is Born’s ‘Shallow.’ Along with one of Hollywood’s most notable honors, she also scored a Grammy for the track. Not only did this great accomplishment help the film’s soundtrack skyrocket to no. 1 but it gave her an even bigger platform to share her story of career ups and down.
5. Maggie Rogers
Maggie’s claim to fame was a swift one. She barely had time to figure out her success after producer Pharrell Williams publicly praised her song ‘Alaska’ in a viral video. Loyal fans wondered when the rising star would finally release her own plethora of tracks, adding to her woodsy, ethereal feel. In January, she released her debut album ‘Heard It In A Past Life,’ bursting with the trials and tribulations of change. It’s been a wild ride for the 24-year-old—she made her SNL debut, her album charted at no. 2 on the Billboard 200, and earned her first no. 1 single with ‘Light On.’ She’s embarking on a world tour this month, traveling far and wide, bringing her signature light onstage and uplifting crowds everywhere. There’s more to come from the conventional singer—she’s not stopping anytime soon.
6. Kacey Musgraves
Country queen Kacey Musgraves toed the line of country music excellence and pop star perfection. In her storybook album ‘Golden Hour,’ she effortlessly described life with the candidness of a fairytale author. Her gorgeous LP earned her the Recording Academy’s biggest award of the night: Album of the Year. It spoke volumes on the music industry’s relationship with misogyny. While it’s a far-off dream in putting an end to glorifying mediocre male genius, Kacey’s win was a shout out to all women and female country artists—be honest in your art and it won’t go unnoticed.
7. Janelle Monáe
As a queer black woman, Janelle Monáe has gone through great lengths to represent her fellow peers. Her revolutionary album ‘Dirty Computer’ revealed the struggles of discovering sexuality and being black in a divided America. Monáe has never been exclusively open with her sexual orientation and rightfully so—sexuality is a personal topic and should only be discussed vulnerably on one’s own time. She speaks to millions when she explores who she adores in an unapologetic fashion. After being nominated for Album of the Year at the 2019 Grammys, she proves herself to be the face of LGBTQ issues and standing up for the people that are just like her.
Marina axed off the “Diamonds” from her stage name and goes by just her first name now. To her, it might not seem like a monumental change but for dedicated fans, it’s unexpected. After her 2014 album ‘Froot,’ Marina took a hiatus, allowing herself to unwind mentally and emotionally. Now she’s back full-force—she’s set to release a new album titled ‘LOVE + FEAR’ that most likely touches on the singer’s past few years out of the limelight. Along with the heavy anticipation of her return to music, she’s become a strong advocate for women’s rights. Most recently, she spoke candidly about all the ways women can be shamed and how it should change. She seems to have ultimately flourished, expressing gratitude towards her fanbase and the beginning of her 30’s. Either way, it’s bound to be a massive year for the star and just like every other time, she’ll handle it all with grace.
Singer-songwriter Mitski gave us one of the most heart-wrenching albums this past year. ‘Be the Cowboy’ weaved a tale of love, loss, and heartbreak in words only her creative talent could concoct. It’s not very often we hear women openly declare how lonely they are—her hit ‘Nobody’ is an anthem for the affection-seeking loners. She gives a voice to young creatives searching for a purpose in an art-deprived world. As a Japanese-American, she represents a whole league of fellow breakout Asian artists wanting to defeat the music industry norm. Her lyrics are powerful and raw, making her one of the most dynamic musicians of our generation.