Friday, 19 August 2011

Women In Music

Think of a person who has made an impact and music ... Let me guess you thought of a man, right. It's fine I won't judge you. Society doesn't highlight women in Music, unless of course they are highly scandalous and wear nothing. But I am here to highlight women who have made an impact in Music.

Women In Music

We all like to think that the pioneers in the music industry at the moment are the first of their kind. When in actual fact they aren't. Other women paved the way for them decades ago but we don't remember them because not all of them where played on MTV day in and day out. So let's take a look at the women who influnced the women in music

Before Lady Gaga

There was Cher, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Brenda Fassie. These women were some of the first to
  • wear barely there clothing - Cher.
  • have crazy onstage and offstage antics - Brenda Fassie
  • have provocative, controversial music videos and outfits - Madonna
  • have alternative hair and dress sense - Cyndi Lauper
When we look at these women and what they provided for us in the past we all of a sudden don't see Lady Gaga as crazy anymore. However do we still see her as original? I think she is definitely original for her time but not the first. All the women above were the first to be controversial in music and have paved the way for not only Lady Gaga but for singers like Jessie J as well. And there are many more to come. Watch this space.

Before Beyonce

There was Tina Turner, Janet Jackson and Aaliyah. These women were some of the first to
  • become a triple threat: dancer, singer and actress - Janet Jackson
  • have an identifiable iconic performance routine (Proud Mary) - Tina Turner
  • create a mass following - Aaliyah.

If it's one thing we know it's that Aaliyah was before her time. It's only know that I'm older I see that she was the first to start the music video girl look. I'm not talking about the Hip-Hop video girl. She started the look as well and the idea of creating styles from music videos. I never saw a weave before I saw Aaliyah. Yes, Jackson and Turner had their own dance routines but none of them were emulated as much as Aaliyah's. She was the female icon for 90s music.
Women like Beyonce existed long before Beyonce became a megastar. But she isn't the only R&B Pop Star to become a megastar. We can't forget Rihanna who is taking over the pop music scene. Her fashion that is being immitated by women all over the world. Is she our next Aaliyah? She might not be as iconic at the moment but she is on her way there.

Before The Spice Girls

There was TLC, Sister Sledge and The Bangles. These women were some of the first to
  • produce an anthem as an all girl group - Sister Sledge
  • compete with all male bands - The Bangles
  • create the female band phenomena - TLC

Sister Sledge gave us the anthem, 'We Are Family'. You might not know who Sister Sledge is but you definitely know that song. In an industry where all male bands were the requirement, The Bangles came in, an all female rock band created hits like, Walk Like An Egyptian. But the all female band that started the female band trend was TLC. They sang about their no-good boyfriends and being beautiful in your own skin. Just like Aaliyah, they stand out as icons in the 90s. But the Spice Girls were, and still are the all female band to beat. No one else had a following and still has a following like them. But they aren't alone, Destiny's Child, the group that launched Beyonce's career had a mass following.
Childhood games went from hide-and-seek to who will be Posh Spice and who will be Beyonce. There might not be room for all female bands anymore but when it was their time they took over the world.

Before Taylor Swift

There was Shania Twain and Dolly Parton. These women were some of the first to
  • sing combine pop culture into country music - Shania Twain
  • become a female music country icon - Dolly Parton

You can't say country music without thinking of Dolly Parton. She basically re-created country music and in the process made herself one of the greatest country music icons. You might not know all her songs but you do know Dolly Parton.

I didn't know they played country music on the radio until I heard Shania Twain. She was Taylor Swift before Taylor Swift. She paved the way for singers like Swift and was a pioneer in a new music genre, Country Pop.

Before Adele

There was Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Celion Dion. These women were some of the first to
  • define the term diva - Aretha Franklin
  • define the term diva - Whitney Houston
  • define the term diva - Celion Dion

In order to be a diva in music you better have the vocal ability. Franklin, Houston and Dion have more than just the vocals, they have the attitude as well. Adele, however is the calmer version of a diva but she is our current Aretha. But she doesn't stand alone.

Spell the word, diva backwards and you get Mariah Carey. Carey deserves the title because no one else in music has a voice like that. Other vocally talented singers include Christina Aguilera who gives Carey and Adele a run for their money and can easily compete with Franklin.

        Before Nicki Minaj

There was Eve, Lil' Kim, Salt N Pepa and Missy Elliot. These women were some of the first to
  • be successful female rappers - Salt N Pepa
  • commercialise female rap - Eve
  • compete with male rappers - Lil' Kim
  • become a successful female rapper and producer - Missy Elliot

Would female rappers even exist without Salt N Pepa? I don't think so. They became big when rap became big in America. If they hadn't started when they did we might not have Nicki Minaj, the latest female rapper to take over the music industry. It almost seems as if Minaj is the only female rapper in the music industry. Eve, Lil' Kim and Missy Elliot traded in rap for acting careers, jail time and producing which made space for Minaj.

Before Miley Cyrus

There was Britney Spears. She was the one of the first to
  • start of as a Disney sweetheart and turn into a world phenomena - Britney Spears

I can't say Spears or Cyrus are my favourites but what is pop culture without them? I don't know why everyone was shocked when Cyrus chose the sexy route because we had seen it all before with Spears. She started of as a cute sixteen year old singing about boys breaking her heart, then all of a sudden she came out barely dressed with a snake. Cyrus followed the same route and became pop culture royalty.

Before Thandiswa

There was Miriam Makeba. She was one of the first to
  • take South African music to international heights - Miriam Makeba

Mirriam Makeba wasn't a singer from South Africa trying to be like an American singer. She didn't sing pop music, she kept it South African and Xhosa. She was our first South African star to make her mark in the international scene and artists like Thandiswa have her to thank. Thandiswa might not be an international star ... yet, but she has kept to her Xhosa roots the way Makeba did.

Before Jennifer Lopez

There was Gloria Estefan. She was one of the first to
  • make latin music popular in pop culture - Gloria Estefan

Lopez may be the great American Latin superstar but Estefan was there before her. She might have not been as famous as Lopez but she made her mark as the Queen of Latin Pop.

Before Charlotte Church

There was Sarah Brightman. She was one of the first to
  • create the classical pop genre - Sarah Brightman

Pop culture didn't pay attention to classical music until Sarah Brightman crossed over. When Charlotte Church made her appereance on the scene I didn't see it as anything spectacular because Brightman pioneered the genre. Unfortunately Church, didn't remain a classical pop singer for long. The Britney Spears effect took over.

Before Alicia Keys

There was Norah Jones. She was the first to
  • female singer to become famous playing the piano and singing - Norah Jones
They might sing different genres of music but the idea is still the same. Females who not only sing and wear barely there clothing but who also play an instrument beautifully. Keys and Jones aren't the only ones with magic fingers. Regina Spektor and Chrisette Michele are also talented piano players and singers who make music that isn't famous with the masses but worth recognition.

Before Amy Winehouse

There was Etta James and Nina Simone. They were the first to
  • change society standards - Nina Simone
  • let her music become more famous than her drug addiciton - Etta James

We all thought Amy Winehouse was the first blues singer to have controversial problems. Drugs and scandal came before Amy Winehouse. None of the mentioned women let their behaviour ruin their music. We remember Simone and James for there music and we will also remember Winehouse for her music as well.

Like everything in the world, Women have left their mark and are becoming greater forces in the music industry.
Female singers and musicians change society standards with their music and ideas.


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