Happy International Women’s Day! In honor of #IWD and all the women doing amazing work in music, we want to highlight some of our favourite female artists from across the globe that have marked the past 12 months with some great music and impactful achievements along the way!
Tems and Ayra Starr are two Nigerian women in music that have made a great entrance into the global music space recently!
From the choir of her church to the front of the stage, Tems has come a long way. The fast-rising artist has always dreamed of becoming a music icon and she is definitely well on her way.
In 2020, Tems not only released her critically acclaimed debut EP Damages, but she also collaborated with Khalid on the single “Know Your Worth” alongside Davido and Disclosure, and was featured on Barack Obama’s Summer 2020 playlist for her “Essence” collaboration with Wizkid.
Ayra Starr, pushed to follow her dreams by her mother, got into music at the age of 17 by learning everything by herself. In 2021, the young singer debuted with her self-titled EP Ayra Starr to rave reviews internationally.
From a teen who doubted her abilities to a young woman with unbridled confidence, Ayra Starr has laid the foundations for something revolutionary, under the tutelage of Mavin Records.
From across the pond in the US, Kali Uchis, Chlöe Bailey and Halle Bailey are three women that have been having an impactful past 12 months and keep doing great things with their music, the pandemic notwithstanding!
With her last single “Telepatia”, Kali is ranked 29 on the Billboard Global 200 chart. Powered by the track going viral on Tik Tok, her album Sin Miedo also hit #1 on the Latin Pop album chart! She has also been nominated for a Grammy for her “10%” collaboration with Kaytranada.
On their side, Chloe x Halle have been one of the breakout stars of 2020 on the back of their captivating Ungodly Hour album and scene-stealing live performance through the lockdown.
Chloe x Halle are also Grammy nominees this year in the Best Progressive R&B Album and Best R&B Song categories, and most recently, the sisters pour life into Vogue Magazine’s March 2021 issue with their depiction of Nigerian folktale ‘Why The Sun And The Moon Live In The Sky’, directed by Julie Dash.
Firmly putting Asian music on the international music map, LiSA and the women of BLACKPINK – Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, Lisa – are some of the incredible women that have been causing quite the stir in global music these last 12 months
LisA’s “Homura” kicked off the new year at #1 on Billboard Japan’s Hot 100 chart for eight weeks and is currently #10 on the chart, and in October, “Homura” was at #21 on the Billboard Global (Excluding US) chart. The Thai singer won last year’s Japan Record Award and has kept busy with her latest single “dawn”, which was released in January, with her highly anticipated acoustic online concert scheduled for March 14.
BLACKPINK have also hit the ground running in 2021, and recently became Goodwill Ambassadors for the UN Climate Change Conference, and last month, they finally gave fans their highly-anticipated online concert event, with their recently-release debut full-length The Album climbing over 80 spots from #148 to #59 on the Billboard album charts.
Over here in the UK, RAYE and Anne-Marie are two women that have dominated the charts, playlists and radio airwaves over the past 12 months!
Raye burst onto the scene early on with successful collaborations with the likes of Jonas Blue and Jax Jones, and 2020 marked the release of her debut album Euphoric Sad Song, which reached #52 on the UK album charts, delivering another milestone in her career. Her latest single “Secret” in collaboration with DJ Regard has also reached #6 in the UK Single Chart.
Anne-Marie has come a long way since her early works with Rudimental. From “Alarm” to “Rockabye”, the artist has gone from hit to even bigger hit, and last year, the singer unveiled her latest single “Her”, dedicated to her mother. A touching and captivating piece about the singer’s love for her mother.
To start 2021, the singer already has another hit single under her belt in “Don’t Play” in collaboration with KSI and Digital Farm Animals, which has remained in the UK top 10 singles chart for 7 weeks, confirming a successful start to the year for Anne-Marie.
Our neighbours in Europe are blessed with Zara Larsson and Aya Nakamura among the sea of women in music across the continent that are making waves internationally!
Swedish star Zara, who almost died at birth, is living life to the fullest through her music! From featuring on the official song of Euro 2016 to making the Forbes ‘30 Under 30’ list, the singer and songwriter has come a long way, with over a decade in the game.
Zara hast just released her new album Poster Girl, which has already broken into the UK iTunes album chart top 10, and she will be headlining an online concert tonight to celebrate #IWD and her new album, with IKEA and Live Nation.
French-Malian singer Aya Nakamura has made a remarkable entry into the world of music. Propelled by the single “Djadja” in 2018, Aya Nakamura is now known all over the world. In 2020, she was the most listened to French-speaking female artist on Spotify and was also nominated for an MTV Europe Music Award.
In the same year, she released her third album, Aya, which reached number two in the French album charts, bolstered by lead single “Jolie Nana”, which topped the French album chart and went gold in two weeks.
These are 10 powerful women who continue to dominate the music world with their talent and artistry, and we wish these incredible women the very best as they continue in their upward trajectories, and we thank them for continuing to push the envelope when it comes to global music!
Words by Lea Renotte and Victoire Gonzalez // Edited by Ayo Adepoju // Collage by Sabina Zamora