My Top 5 Female Musicians


I love the earth-shattering vocal and instrumental power that female musicians exude while still maintaining specific femininity in their own right. It seems a little silly to categorize and rank what limited knowledge I have and claim it as comprehensive. However, it would be a blatant lie to say this list of artists hasn’t been marinating in my head over the years.

HAIM plays at Phoenix's Crescent Ballroom in October. HAIM plays at Phoenix's Crescent Ballroom in October.

1.) Lykke Li – Lykke Li is a Swedish indie rocker who dabbles in pop and electronic from song to song. Her melodic voice maintains an edgy aggression that initially caught me off guard, but I now find it positively soothing. There’s an almost uncomfortable sincerity in her lyrics that tackles everything from irrevocable sorrow in “Sadness is a Blessing” to raw sexuality in “Get Some.” Who am I kidding? I just want to be her.

2.) Cat Power – Emerging in the ‘90s as a soulful rock force to be reckoned with, Cat Power’s music has progressed from acoustic simplicity in her earlier albums to touches of electronic in “Sun,” her most recent. Her voice is bluesy, hard-hitting and I’ll admit, a little “sadcore.” But I kind of dig that. My favorite tune will forever be the short, sweet and completely underrated “Naked If I Want To.”

3.) Lissie – I see Lissie get called the “new Stevie Nicks” under nearly every one of her YouTube videos. Perhaps I’m drawn to her in the same sense others are. Lissie comes across as a real human being who, amid a pool of attention-starved Hollywood singer-actors, maintains identity and soul. Her music typically borders on folk, but “Shameless” takes her blunt vocals and f--- you attitude to the next level.

4.) HAIM – HAIM isn’t a person. It’s a group of sister rockers from L.A. that have been topping charts with their debut album “Days Are Gone.” My sister introduced me to this trio about a year ago and I fell in love with the sort of retro, ‘80s vibe of their song “Don’t Save Me.” I saw them perform in Phoenix at Crescent Ballroom last October and was left in awe of how they synthesize their specific talents in perfect unison. The result? Probably the catchiest yet most intelligent indie pop out right now.

5.) Hope Sandoval – Oh, Mazzy Star. You are so dreamy. Hope Sandoval, singer of the predominantly ‘90s indie rock duo, first captured my heart years ago when I watched “The O.C.” The show would continuously play various covers of “Into Dust.” Last year, I heard “Blue Light” and “Happy” spinning at Film Bar before a movie. Sandoval's voice is atmospheric, ethereal and downright heartbreaking. Mazzy Star heightens my melancholy in the most addicting way. Sandoval sings how I feel.

Reach the blogger at or on Twitter @isabellenovak.

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