Like with all aspects of entertainment, it’s nice when you can identify with the subject. Hence the fact that often films or books with lesbian protagonists are my favourites. Similarly, music which you can identify with. Music is such a powerful force and at times it can feel like music is the only thing which understands you and supports you. So although as a girl who’s into girls you can identify with songs about men, or songs sung by men about women, or even songs sung by men about men (and all the in-betweens, of course!) I find it’s better and just… better when you listen to a female artist sing songs about other women. A lot of brilliant, relatively unknown gay/bi/female-oriented musicians have become known to me in recent months so I thought I’d share my favourites, in no particular order (though L.P. and Missy Higgins are my favourite artists ever ever ever).
Sidenote: these are only people who I listen to on a regular basis, but there are loads of other great girl/girl artists out there!
To listen to the suggested songs click on the links and it’ll open the song in a new tab.
L.P. stole my heart when I was on a roadtrip around the Western U.S. in July last year. I saw a picture of her and listened to one song, then immediately bought and downloaded her album onto my phone (I very rarely buy albums from iTunes). I then proceeded to listen to her album on repeat for the entire three weeks. Her songs touched me emotionally and I identified with a lot of them. Her voice has a stunning edge to it, and soars up and down octaves better than I’ve ever heard. In addition, she can fucking whistle like the Pied Piper. I mean hardcore whistling, it’s really impressive! She also plays the ukulele and co-writes all her own music. (She also has a huge list of writing credits for people such as Cher, Leona Lewis, Rihanna and the Backstreet Boys) The music of her songs alone I would listen to, but when you add her vocals and beautiful lyrics on top it’s honestly like audible magic. She also…I have to mention…is ridiculously attractive in a very Shane McCutcheon way and her style is incredible.
Missy Higgins is an Australian singer-songwriter and she is one of those singers who I can listen to on repeat forever and not get bored. I first heard her song Scar after it was included in The Axis of Awesome’s ‘4 Chords song’ and then Googled the lyrics. I fell in love. Her voice is silky-smooth but not sickly, and it gets a beautiful edge in places. Her songs generally have her playing piano (which she is really incredible at, by the way!) or guitar, and she writes them all herself. Missy is openly bisexual while married to a man; another amazing thing is how she keeps producing great music despite having two kids. Total strong woman right there. With the beautiful melodies and heartfelt lyrics I find myself again identifying to a bunch of her songs; she puts into words the things I’m feeling better than I do, and they always find their way back into my ultimate favourites.
This dynamic duo from Canada are probably on everyone’s radar, and if not you should be a little ashamed of yourself. They honestly have everything: from great voices to great style to fucking incredible hair. And they’ve rocked every haircut (did anyone else kinda like that mullet?). Their voices blend together like lesbian angels and their songwriting never ceases to amaze me. Like a lot of artists their sound has changed in the past few years, and they’ve morphed from punk-pop-y-ness to more dance-y, techno-y, pop-y-ness. And yet, unlike most other artists I love their new stuff as much as their old. They just need to release a new album this year.
I only heard about MK a very short while ago when reading about coming outs of 2014, and just thought she was absolutely adorable. I YouTubed her and found only recordings from the show but despite how visibly nervous she is, her voice is confident, incredibly smooth and makes runs look like they’re insanely easy. I’m really excited to hear some original work from this girl which should be coming out early this year!
Where do I even start? She’s a body-positive, feminist, LGBT+ and mental health advocate. She even made a whole song about her flaws and how we try to hide them, and must learn to embrace them. She’s made spoken-word poetry videos about accepting yourself and she wrote the chorus for LGBT+ anthem ‘Same Love’. Mary Lambert not only is beautiful, intelligent, open and a brilliant role-model, but has an amazing voice that you just want to listen to again and again. Her songs reflect real life, real emotions and real issues. They have strong beats and empowering lyrics, all with well-composed background music to make you feel like you could honestly take on anything.
Listen to: Secrets, When You Sleep, Sum Of Our Parts (and the alternate version which I can’t find online!), Heart On My Sleeve, Monochromatic, Chasing the Moon, She Keeps Me Warm, She Keeps Me Warm (2013 version)
Another talent show alum and discovered by me in the same place as MK, Kristen Merlin was a contestant on The Voice U.S.A., and man has she got one. Her voice is this soft, but not too soft, sweet, but not sickly voice that just seems to float over the notes. Her fashion sense is also impeccable. Sadly, although she has released two songs from her upcoming album ‘Boomerang’ on iTunes, it’s only available in America so I have very little of her to listen to. Her album, from what I can listen to, is country-rock and suits her voice and ‘look’ brilliantly. All I can say is I hope her full album becomes available on the U.K. iTunes soon or she releases stuff to YouTube. Until then, I’ll be content with The Voice recordings…
When I listen to Ani Difranco it transports me to sitting in a dark, steamy, tiny room that smells of sweat and beer. It transports me to the majority of the folk clubs I went to as a child with my father. I still go, but not as much, and Ani’s music is so guitar-based and folk-melody-laden that it just takes me right back to my childhood. Her voice is sweet and gentle, but she has the ability to be angry and passionate in her songs just as much as romantic or mournful. The guitar in her songs is infuriatingly beautiful and I just want to see her in concert so I can marvel at her talent to play like that.
Julia is another recent find of mine and I just fell in love with her quirky personality and soulful voice. She mostly does cover on ukulele but has also released a bunch of original material. Her YouTube videos are edited so you can see her recording each part of the song (i.e. vocals, backup vocals, percussion, guitar) and her passion and raw musicality just leap off the screen. She has a relatively low voice for a woman, but it’s not rough like some low voices are (not that they’re not great too, ofc) and it’s just water-like and calming to listen to.
What can I say? It’s Melissa Etheridge. All the lesbians love her. Who doesn’t love some emotional lesbian pop-rock? I hope I’m as badass as her at fifty-three.
The L Word alum Leisha Hailey and her girlfriend Camila Grey make up this electro-pop duo and it is awesome. Their joint vocals and respective bass and guitar playing are the foundation for funky melodies, dance-worthy beats and a lot of chemistry. Plus come on, they are adorable. I know Leisha isn’t Alice, but if you’re missing TLW and want some girl-on-girl music to cheer you up then UHH are definitely the band for you.
There are loads more talented lady-loving musicians out there, who’s in your top ten?