Whilst there’s no shortage of fantastic female artists in the limelight for you to listen to, the writers at The Edge have been considering those acts who may not be as well known as the Ariana Grande’s or Lorde’s of the world but who deserve your attention just as much. With Women’s History Month taking place over March in the UK, now is the perfect chance to check out these wonderful women in music and play their albums on repeat.
Mahalia burst onto the scene in 2012, but her singing career is still up-and-coming; with her honest vocals and breezy R&B vibe, her talent is undeniable. With an album – Diary of Me – and film release – Brotherhood – in 2016, Mahalia has since elevated her singing career even further, with a number of impressive releases in 2018.
Particular mention should go to the singles ‘Sober’ and ‘I Wish I Missed My Ex’. These two perfectly demonstrate Mahalia’s range as an artist; they have completely contrasting production but are equally as impressive. ‘Sober’ has a soulful R&B feel, with personal lyrics that highlight the unique tone of her voice. On the other hand, ‘I Wish I Missed My Ex’ (originally intended as a “joke”) is the perfect track for summertime, with two producers working on the single to give it a light-hearted feel, yet still providing an occasionally emotional vibe. It is safe to say, whilst 2018 was an exciting year for Mahalia, 2019 is set to be her year.
– words by Ellie Brain
With 23 years of experience as a symphonic and gothic metal band, Within Temptation is not done creating epic anthems for the repressed teen angst that still resides in many of us. Led by Sharon den Adel, the dutch band is about to release a seventh album, the first single of which, ‘The Reckoning’, was released in autumn 2018. The longevity and popularity of the band, which goes beyond its home country, is most likely due to Sharon den Adel’s eternal youth, radiating to the other members and their work; her immuable voice, the lyrical melody harmonising with heavy guitar and drums, delivers the simple poetry of their lyrics. The latter may often remain open to interpretation, but overall injects to the listener a will to fight against whatever might be silencing their true potential.
Within Temptation take their time bringing their fans their best album possible yet every five or so years, offering in the meantime incredible shows, regularly giving several lives to their songs through orchestral arrangements or acoustic releases. A great soundtrack to any sci-fi/fantasy series, their work is to be devoured without restraint.
– words by Léa Soler
Teyana Taylor has struggled to escape the role of ‘that female singer on Kanye West‘s GOOD Music label’, which is a shame, because her body of solo work is small but strong. Her distinctive, husky vocals exude sexual energy and are captivating on her first album, VII; further back, she has some great features on GOOD Music’s compilation album, Cruel Summer, especially on the serene ‘Bliss’ with John Legend. Teyana just oozes cool, and her ability to easily switch between fierce raps and emotional melodies – highly reminiscent of Lauryn Hill – was further demonstrated on 2018’s K.T.S.E. Despite being the most overlooked of the five Kanye-produced ‘Wyoming sessions’ albums (including Kanye’s ye and Kids See Ghosts and Pusha-T’s Daytona), it remains one of the strongest R&B projects of the year, with silky, seductive vocals on ‘3Way’ to bold, empowering verses on ‘Rose in Harlem’. Teyana Taylor may not be one of R&B’s heavy hitters, but she’s a real, underrated talent.
– words by Rob Tucker
Wyvern Lingo have been making music together since they were children, and the bond they share is evident in their incredible harmonies. Their sound is clearly influenced by ’90s R&B, with vocals reminiscent of En Vogue in anthems like ‘I Love You, Sadie’ or ‘Letter to Willow’. On the other hand, more stripped back tracks such as ‘Used’ and ‘Snow’ show off their versatility as a band. Their eponymous debut album was released in 2018 and was met with success in their native Ireland, having recently been nominated for the ‘RTE Choice Music Prize – Irish Album of the Year’. They have a long history of working with Hozier – band member Karen Cowley featured on ‘In A Week’ on his debut album, and as a band they have been the support act at his show on several occasions. Whilst their studio tracks are impressive, it is when playing live that they flourish, and they are definitely one to look out for on festival lineups.
– words by Becky Davies
In a BBC interview in 2018, Mitski Miyawaki described how she nearly gave up on music. Such was her talent for crafting irresistably volatile, punchy guitar riffs backed by deeply affecting, personal lyricsism that she had caught the attention of Iggy Pop, who called her “probably the most advanced American songwriter that I know.” It’s a sound that was developed by her upbringing – born in Japan to an American father and Japanese mother, Mitski grew up moving through no fewer than 13 countries before finally settling in New York, and it reflects in her music. Few tracks linger longer than three minutes, giving you just enough time to familiarise yourself with the melodies and themes before being whisked away to places new, a whirlwind tour of love, loneliness and cultural clashes that’s as enchanting and exciting as it is cathartic.
But with new heights reached by 2014’s Bury Me At Makeout Creek and 2016’s aptly-titled Puberty 2, Mitski thought “maybe it would be best to quit music now that I’d gotten to the whole point of it, which is to be known by your personal saints.” Let’s be glad she didn’t. 2018’s Be The Cowboy was a magnum opus for the indie rocker, a 34-minute cascade of dance and rock (‘Geyser’, ‘Nobody’) intertwined with personal balladry (‘Washing Machine Heart’, ‘Two Slow Dancers’) that went on to be crowned Pitchfork’s album of the year. But perhaps Mitski can best be summed up in the two minutes of ‘Me and My Husband’, an unflinching look into the ennui of relationships and modern life, but one that somehow captivates and affects through a crescendo of instrumentation and utterly tender lyricism (“And I’m the idiot with the painted face / In the corner, taking up space / But when he walks in, I am loved, I am loved”) that leaves no doubt that Mitski is one of the most advanced American songwriters currently performing.
– words by Sam Law