Though 2020 is now officially in the past, let us not forget some of the amazing women that have released music to help get us through the past year. Here are Katia’s Top 10 Female Artists of 2020:
First of all, if you are expecting Taylor Swift on the list, I’m afraid to disappoint you now. She is hugely successful and created two albums in lockdown, but her music isn’t my cup of tea – sorry T!
This multi-genre list was created in light of content, work ethic and talent. It was really hard to order them as they are all so great in different ways:
10. Billie Eilish
Guiness World Record Holder, Grammy Award Winner Billie Eilish has to be on the list. At such a young age, she has taken the world by storm, and throughout 2020 she was hugely impressive both musically and personally.
She started off the year with the release of No Time To Die which is the theme song of the upcoming Bond film. This makes her the youngest person to have sung the Bond theme song. She faced backlash about not being “the right person”, however she asked the public to be open-minded.
The single my future was released mid 2020, accompanied with a beautiful, animated video. It’s all about self-love, which is an optimistic shift in mood. Billie Eilish‘s final single release of the 2020 was titled Therefore I Am. This title is a play on a famous philosophy phrase and the song is calling out people around her trying to get famous.
Notably, this year, Billie Eilish released a short film NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY which was originally made and produced for her tour. It is about the ongoing, public discussion of her body image, and how people judge her worth off it. Remember – she became world famous when she was just 16 years old. Despite the poignant words in this film, internet trolls continued to make comments about her hairstyle and body.
She also recently lost 100k followers on Instagram for posting her drawings of the female body, during the “post a picture of” Instagram challenge. Despite her success and incredible talent, there seems to be a lot of negativity aimed towards Billie Eilish. There’s a new documentary coming in 2021 and I hope this shines light on just how much criticism she faces, and how admirable her resistance to such is.
Fans of “Skin Goals” SZA have been waiting for new music from her since album Ctrl back in 2017. In 2020 – she provided.
She has a song on the soundtrack of Trolls World Tour with Justin Timberlake. Although it is a kids film, the track is bouncy, upbeat and shines a new light on SZA’s potential.
The biggest release for SZA was Hit Different featuring Ty Dolla $ign. The song really does what it is about… hit different. The video was produced by The Neptunes and directed by SZA. It blew up immediately and was one of the top viewed R&B music videos of 2020.
On Christmas Day, SZA blessed us once again with Good Days. The song is a beautiful look forward to the future, with SZA‘s famously elegant lyrics “half of us chasin’ fountains of youth and it’s in the present now”.
8. Charli XCX
When lockdown first hit, electropop artist Charli XCX created an entire album in 6 weeks titled how i’m feeling now. This includes made-at-home music videos. There is also an accompanying physical and digital book which documents the making process, artwork and pictures made by Charli XCX. The album is a party in your headphones vibe, and completely summarises that lockdown feeling.
She also started “An audience with…” series on her Instagram, which seeks to amplify the work of activists. The activist takes over Charli XCX‘s Instagram story to bring important discussion to Charli XCX’s followers. You can see her previous guests on her highlights.
Additionally, Charli XCX created a series of online diary entries on Instagram which are no longer available. However, you can read about her final 2020 thoughts in Dazed.
On 2nd December, she posted that she’s thinking about making music again… we’re ready…
7. Jhené Aiko
Billboards cover star, Pisces, mother Jhené Aiko has had a long music career, but we were blessed with the album Chilombo in March 2020. Jhené Aiko used singing bowls for every track of Chilombo. The production and lyrics are the perfect mix of spiritual and sexual expression.
In July, Jhené Aiko released Chilombo [Deluxe] with an extra 9 tracks. There are also features of Snoop Dogg, Chris Brown and Kehlani. Summer 2020 is a pertinent track, with lyrics such as “times are changing, strangers getting stranger”.
Jhené Aiko also released a beautiful npr tiny desk (home) concert in October:
London’s Shygirl is a DJ and musician with relentlessly sexy lyrics. I will advise you not to listen unless you’re 18… Slightly less mainstream than the other artists on the top 10 list, but certainly one to get to know.
She landed the cover of Dazed and Notion this year. Most importantly her EP Alias dropped in October – and it was hot. She has a tour planned for 2021, including a date in our very own Manchester.
You can find her Instagram here, but remember – her bio says do not dm unless you’re hot. SLIME is a personal favourite from the EP:
Arca is a producer, DJ and singer from Venezuela. She’s produced work for the likes of Kanye West, FKA Twigs and Frank Ocean.
Arca released her fourth album, KiCk i in June. It has been nominated for the best dance/electronic album for the 2021 Grammy Awards.
The first track, and my personal favourite is Nonbinary:
4. Teyana Taylor
Teyana Taylor has had a journey – both musically and in her personal life throughout 2020. The heart warming music video of Wake Up Love featuring IMAN reveals her baby bump of their second child.
In September, Teyana Taylor and IMAN held a baby shower for their expected one – and she was born the early hours the next morning. The most unbelievable coincidence is that both of Teyana’s births happened in their bathroom.
She released a make up collection with MAC, became creative director of Pretty Little Thing, and also turned 30 in December!
Watch Teyana Taylor‘s beautifully self-directed music video, featuring Elton John:
3. Little Simz
Rapper Little Simz is a huge inspiration for females, with lyrics such as “I’m a boss in a f*cking dress”. Yeah, she really is.
Drop 6 is named after a multitude of other releases… 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. A history of Little Simz random “drops”. Although some may only know her from 2019 album Grey Area, Little Simz has been posting on Soundcloud since 2012.
My favourite from the EP is might bang, might not because it really does bang:
I think Beyoncé is always going to be on the Top 10 female artists of any year, being the woman with the most Grammy nominations in history.
This year she really went above and beyond, for herself and others.
After there were reports about a film, we were graced with Black Is King which is available to watch on Disney+. The visual album created by Beyoncé is a beautifully crafted retelling of The Lion King‘s story. It is a celebration of black culture, people and their ancestry.
In tandem with this, Beyoncé released The Lion King: The Gift [Deluxe Edition]. This album contained the single BLACK PARADE.
BLACK PARADE was her Juneteenth non-profit charity single. In the wake of George Floyd‘s death, all proceeds from the song benefit BeyGOOD’s Black Buisness Impact Fund:
Beyoncé also appeared on the Savage [Remix] with our first place…
1. Megan Thee Stallion
Undeniably, the Queen of 2020’s Top Female Artist list is Megan Thee Stallion, or as Charli XCX says it; the ‘Year of the WAP’
Despite controversy around Megan Thee Stallion, due to her provocative lyrics, her talent is undeniable.
Then came WAP by Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion, which I think might just be the biggest song of the year.
Sadly, Megan Thee Stallion went through what she called on Instagram Live “the worst experience of her life” in 2020. This is in reference to the incident that involved Tory Lanez shooting her in the foot, following which she had to undergo surgery to have bullets removed.
Megan Thee Stallion responded to the event by writing an article for The New York Times titled “Why I Speak Up for Black Women” following the incident.
Another reason why she is our top female artist is because she didn’t release one, but two albums in 2020. Good News was released in the end of November featuring Young Thug, Popcaan, SZA, City Girls, DaBaby and more.
The first song from the album is titled Shots Fired and you can figure out for yourself who it is about…
After all the amazing content that female artists have blessed us with throughout 2020, we can’t wait to see what they bring in 2021!