Music has always been a source of healing and comfort for many. It energizes people and reminds them of who they are and what they have to look forward to. The first song to ever be recorded was a French folklore song, “Au Clair de la Lune.” Although a great number of historians argue that it was a woman who sang the song, some have suggested that it was the delicate voice of a man singing. Nevertheless, this monumental event gave birth to the concept of recorded music, which has been a vessel for women to express their inner thoughts. Below are four songs — exploring themes of race, self-love, and sexuality — written by influential women of the 21st century.
Almeda — When I Get Home; Solange
Written by Solange — a resilient singer and mother — Almeda is a song that “reminds [Americans] that the ownership of black culture by black people can never die” (Britt Julious, pitchfork.com). This song celebrates black skin and black hair, specifically braids and waves, as a way to establish her pride in being African American. Almeda is part of When I Get Home, an album which helped Solange stay alive as she battled a mysterious illness anonymous to the public. We should realize the importance of how creative outlets truly help women escape the mucks of inner antagonism. It is significant to note that the title for Almeda was derived from a Latin female name meaning “ambitious.” Solange exemplifies this as she was able to defy all odds against her and advance her singing career after giving birth to her son at age 17.
quiero sentirme bien — Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios); Kali Uchis
The path to stardom for Colombian-American and Grammy-nominated artist Kali Uchis is a tale for the centuries. She was born in Virginia, USA, but raised in Colombia. After drug-related violence escalated, she immigrated back to America, where she would assist her father with construction. At 17, she was kicked out of her parents’ home for her rebellious attitude and was practically homeless. While living in her car, she recorded an album that garnered great attention after being uploaded onto the internet. quiero sentirme bien is a song discussing Uchis’ desires to feel good after experiencing great suffering. Throughout the song, she persistently sings: “All I know/ Solo quiero sentirme bien.” The latter part, which is the title of the track, translates to “All I want is to feel good.”
Girl Like Me; Alexa Demie
American actress and singer Alexa Demie is widely known for her role on HBO’s hit show Euphoria, but not for her single Girl Like Me. Girl Like Me oozes confidence and women power. It talks about how a man tried to make her feel like she would not know how to find happiness after him, but Demie counterattacked those sentiments by praising herself. She sings, “You think a girl like me gon’ be single for long/ You wrong…You think a girl like me/ Goddess like me/ Gon’ be trippin’, you’ll see.” Her self-confidence is something to strive for! As women, we are constantly told we cannot be successful without men. Instead of buying into these lies, ignore these comments and striving for success is the best way to prove people wrong.
girls — BEGINNINGS; Girl In Red
girls is a song about LGBTQ+ positivity. Marie Ulven, better known as Girl In Red, has helped an enormous amount of young girls accept their sexuality and come out to their loved ones. girls serves as a blanket of safety for many. In an interview with NME, Ulven retorted, “I have a bunch of queer kids following me because they see themselves in me and the lyrics, because they need that direct ability to relate to something…I have people messaging me all the time to say like ‘Yo, I came out to your song’, or ‘I’m in the car right now and I just played ‘Girls’ in front of mom and I told her I’m gay’” (Andrew Trendell, nme.com). For such a young artist, Girl In Red already has an incredible influence in helping young girls feel comfortable with who they are.