Herstory Through Harmony

Whether they’re newbies or pros, underground or well-known, these eight female artists are all making an impact when it comes to women’s history.


As times are changing — and the music industry along with it—  it seems only natural to discuss the impact of female music artists in honor of Women’s History Month. New female artists are making their way into the music scene much more often now and  in ways that couldn’t have been imagined decades ago. 

Women — like the eight artists I have chosen to discuss within this piece — have paved the way for emerging artists and have made their mark on the industry in a groundbreaking way. Though a few of the artists I have chosen to discuss are women who have recently risen to fame, they are still playing a huge role in creating a new image for the music industry. Whether it be by contributing to the formation of new music genres, experimenting with new sounds and techniques, or writing about things that are often seen as difficult to discuss, these women are making an impact and are truly owning their craft.


“Lift Me Up” – Rihanna

“Lift Me Up” was released in 2022 as Rihanna’s first single since her 2016 album, “Anti.” Written for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” the sequel to “Black Panther,” the song is often described by those who worked on it as an emotional ballad written to commemorate the late Chadwick Boseman, who was the star and leading man of “Black Panther.” Rihanna collaborated with Tems, Ludwig Göransson and Ryan Coogler to create a piece that conveys the feelings of missing a loved one who has passed. The deeply emotional lyrics contribute to the overall feelings of loss and grief that Tems wanted the song to embody, with some lyrics discussing drowning and others discussing wanting nothing more than to hold a loved one close again. 

Having begun her career in 2003 when she was just 15 years old, Rihanna is no stranger to the music scene. However, it has been a while since she released any music, so the arrival of “Lift Me Up” allowed Rihanna fans everywhere to breathe a sigh of relief, creating hope for more music to come in the near future.


“Born This Way” – Lady Gaga

“Born This Way,” the second song and title track from Lady Gaga’s 2011 album, is an anthem of self-acceptance. Gaga said that the song was heavily inspired by the preachings of Carl Bean, a gay, Black religious activist. She commented on his bravery and love for all, noting how Bean’s qualities gave her a reason to sing despite his earliest work being 11 years prior to Gaga’s birth in 1986. 

The song talks a lot about the LGBTQ+ community but also discusses other insecurities one may have or things that may be perceived as “different” in a person. The song’s discussion of the LGBTQ+ community and emphasis on the transgender community made it stand out, as they were not widely accepted during the period in which this song was released. 

Gaga continues to make music to this day, with her most recent single being “Hold My Hand,” which was written for the “Top Gun: Maverick” soundtrack. Before the release of “Born This Way,” Gaga had released one album in 2008, titled “The Fame,” with a deluxe edition of the album coming out a year later in 2009. Gaga has also dabbled in acting, starring in the 2018 remake of “A Star Is Born” as well as the fifth season of “American Horror Story.”


“Young and Beautiful” – Lana Del Rey

“Young and Beautiful” is a song written for Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 film adaptation of the novel “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Lana Del Rey sings about the fleeting nature of love and youth, asking if she will still be loved as she ages and pleading with the Lord to allow her to keep her lover with her as she grows old. It seems as though there is a fear of both aging and a loss of love that is conveyed through the lyrics of this song, which is embodied perfectly by Del Rey’s almost-chilling vocals.

Known for her contributions to the indie rock genre, Del Rey continues to capture the hearts and minds of listeners everywhere, as her poetic lyrics are incredibly relatable and spark various emotions, such as heartbreak, admiration, sadness, and much more. She recently released a new single titled “A&W,” which was her first release since her 2021 albums “Chemtrails Over the Country Club” and “Blue Banisters” and was long awaited by many.


“A Pearl” – Mitski

Known for her haunting vocals, Mitski often conveys a lot of emotion within her songs. She typically leaves her songs up for interpretation by the listener, but for “A Pearl,” she decided to comment on her own personal vision of the song’s meaning. The song repeats a line about falling in love with a war that has ended, unbeknownst to the singer. Within Mitski’s interpretation of the song, this seems to signify a sort of toxicity in one’s life that they cannot let go of because they are afraid it will ruin their identity or that they will no longer have an identity. This is further conveyed through the line “There’s a hole that you fill.” It seems as though here, Mitski is singing about the inability to let the negativity or the traumatic experience one has been through go because they feel as though it is important to their character. 

Mitski then says that she hopes everyone will be able to let go of the pearls in their lives. Before the release of her 2018 album “Be the Cowboy” — which features “A Pearl” as its fourth track — Mitski released four albums: “Lush” in 2012, “Retired from Sad, New Career in Business” in 2013, “Bury Me At Makeout Creek” in 2014, and “Puberty 2” in 2016. Mitski’s most recent album was “Laurel Hell,” which was released in 2022.


“20 Something” – SZA

“20 Something” is featured on SZA’s second studio album, “Ctrl,” as the 14th and final track. Throughout the album, SZA discusses many heavy topics, with a lot of the songs relating to navigating the whirlwind that is adulthood. In “20 Something,” SZA reflects on the hardships and uncertainties that come with one being in their 20s. She discusses the feelings of nervousness and loneliness upon returning home after spending time away, as well as the contemplation of certain life choices. Overall, both the song and the album as a whole are extremely relatable to young girls and those in similar situations. 

“Ctrl” was the album that truly made the R&B singer’s music take off, though she did have one album out before it, titled “Z.” Her most recent release is the 2022 album “SOS,” which features yet another relatable variety of songs that have allowed for the singer to skyrocket to fame even more. After these two highly successful albums, it seems as though fans everywhere have high hopes for what is to come in the future of SZA’s career.


“I Never Wanna Die” – Bea Miller

“I Never Wanna Die” is the fifth song off of the 2020 album “Elated!” by Bea Miller. It celebrates the beginning of a new chapter of life and leaving the past behind. Throughout the song, Miller discusses an unnamed person and how their presence in her life has impacted her, making her feel alive again. She makes it clear that thanks to this person, she wants to continue living the way she is — hence the title of the song. 

It is important to note that Miller never uses gendered terms in the song when referring to the special someone who has made her gain this appreciation for her life. However, the words she uses to describe this person point to them being a woman and upon the song’s release, many fans took it as a soft launch of her coming out and acknowledgment of her sexuality. Prior to “Elated!” Miller released two other albums: “Not An Apology” in 2015 and “Aurora” in 2018. She has also released several singles, her most well-known song being “Feel Something,” which was released in 2019.



“The Art of Letting Go” – Mali-Koa

Though she’s known by many as the older sister of 5 Seconds of Summer bassist Calum Hood, Mali-Koa is also a musician. In addition to releasing solo music, she is also one half of the electronic duo “AR/CO.” Her first solo album, “Hunger,” was released in 2020 and features a multitude of deep songs relating to finding oneself. 

“The Art of Letting Go” is the 11th track on the album and takes on a format similar to that of a ballad with some electronic undertones throughout the chorus. The instrumental and vocals both remain slow in tempo throughout the song, with some slight builds in the music when no lyrics are being sung or when leading up to the chorus. In this song, Mali-Koa is flat-out discussing the process of letting someone go, hence the title. She questions this idea of letting go of the only thing you’ve ever known, as well as the difficulty and pain experienced when letting someone go. It seems as though she’s battling herself in some sections of the song, such as the chorus, where she starts listing all of the things that she’ll have to do without the person she is letting go of. 

Prior to the release of “Hunger,” Mali-Koa had an array of singles out, with one of her most popular being “Sorry,” released in 2019. She is not talked about nearly enough in the music scene, but those who do know her seem to adore her and deeply relate to the messages conveyed through her music.


“Good Looking” – Suki Waterhouse

Released in 2017, “Good Looking” is the most-streamed song by English actress, model and singer Suki Waterhouse. It gained the attention of many when it was used as a sound on TikTok in May 2022. The ballad discusses a seemingly unhealthy or unhappy relationship — one that is filled with secrets, inconsistencies and uncertainty. As the song progresses, Waterhouse seems to realize that the relationship is not working out and is ultimately coming to an end. This is conveyed by the line “the skyline falls as I tried to make sense of it all,” which is heard at the start of the song’s chorus . 

Known mainly for her modeling career, Waterhouse has become more of a household name thanks to TikTok. Since the release of “Good Looking,” Waterhouse has put out a full-length album titled “I Can’t Let Go,” as well as an EP titled “Milk Teeth.”. Currently, she is gaining even more recognition due to her role as Karen Sirko in the new Prime Video series “Daisy Jones and The Six,” an adaptation of the book by Taylor Jenkins Reid.