I Say Thank You for the Music – Significant life lessons from female artists

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In 2018, it is hard to turn on the radio without hearing Adele or Beyoncé… but have you ever considered those before them and the roles they play in our lives? Whilst they may not be huge anymore, the following artists/groups made a big impact on me as a child and still continue to do so as I jam to them in my car. Now without further ado…

Alanis Morissette

Where do I begin… This woman without a doubt has helped me to get over those many heartbreaks that I have had in my short life already. With all the angst and anger that Alanis had, she created Jagged Little Pills – an album that taught me that it is okay to not be okay. Whilst Adele does the break-up album justice, Alanis taught me that this anger is completely fine and instead of moping around, use that fire as drive to do something with your life. She turns these feelings into songs in order to process and come to terms with them – she is a voice for all those who need that support; it’s like therapy. Likewise, she taught me that you will get over it and that grieving is perfectly natural… if she can get over Ryan Reynolds, I can get over the person who broke my heart.

 Essential listening: ‘All I Really Want’ and ‘You Oughta Know’.

Spice Girls

These lovely ladies were the first thing that I bonded over with my older sister and despite their split quite early in my life, I have a lot of love for them. They embody girl power to me, as they taught me not to let a boy get between friends, that your friends have your back, that you shouldn’t take life too seriously, and to always respect your mother. I’m also proud as they are British icons – can we just appreciate their individuality in their dress sense? And Ginger Spice’s iconic Union Jack dress?! They still make me proud to be British as they achieved global fame and encouraged positive female image in the late ’90s and early ’00s – something that we need still. Can we bring them back already?

Essential listening: ‘Wannabe’, ‘Say You’ll Be There’ and ‘Mamma’.

Dolly Parton

This may seem like a random choice, but hear me out. People were set out against Dolly, they thought she was stupid and just something to look at; she faced adversity but overcame it and is still making music! She has won multiple awards and has had an interesting life whilst voicing concerns about the inequality at work with ‘9 To 5’ song and the eponymous film in which she starred.

Dolly is important – she faced the threat of ‘Jolene’ and instead of lashing out, channelled her feelings into a song and now sees it as funny. She recognises that without this life experience, she would not have written the song and instead of being bitter, Dolly actually thanked the woman for it. Likewise, Dolly’s writing skills are amazing; she created the masterpiece that is ‘I Will Always Love You’ , famously covered by Whitney Houston – a song which taught many that it is okay to love someone still, even when that relationship is no more, and to wish them the best without you – Dolly is without a doubt incredible.

Essential listening: ‘Jolene’, ‘9 To 5’ and ‘I Will Always Love You’.

And the list could go on; there are so many groups and artists that deserve more recognition – TLC, The Runaways etc. – but those who I have mentioned previously in this article have had a particular impact on me. At first they may seem like random choices, but they are significant in music history and are prime examples of positive creativity. Not only do they teach us about the therapeutic power of music, but they also show that women can do anything – and we all need a little bit of ‘girl power’ in today’s world, don’t we?

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