By Brooke Adams
I had the pleasure of covering so many amazing women artists at SXSW this year, and in honor of Women’s History Month we’d love to highlight some of the best, most surprising, and underrated female artists.
Billie Eilish at The Palm Door on Sixth:
Billie Eilish’s name has been buzzing around social media and music review websites for quite a few months, but it wasn’t until seeing her perform live that I really understood the hype. First, I was shocked to learn she is only 16. For such a young performer, she commands the stage and totally captures her audience’s attention.
I was so pleased with the variety she offered, as well. Not only did she perform in her typical pop synth style, but also with a ukelele, doing acoustic versions. Billie proved that she is not only a performer, but also a mega talented singer with a beautiful voice under all the beats.
Lucy Dacus at Stubb’s:
It could have been a mixture of the beautiful lighting and Lucy Dacus’s entrancing voice, but I found myself totally mesmerized by her performance. Her pure angelic voice rang throughout Stubb’s outdoor stage, which is not something easily accomplished, especially as the opening set for a long night of SXSW performances. But, Lucy Dacus managed to silence the crowd enough to hear her sweet melodies unimpeded.
Her songs hold deep sounds and meanings and her performance captured every inch of the depths of her music.
Soccer Mommy at Urban Outfitters:
While not an exclusively female band, Soccer Mommy’s lead singer and guitarist Sophie Allison totally dominates. She joined the music scene in Nashville initially as a fan, keeping her own music under wraps. Thankfully, she garnered the attention of the right people and has delivered some fuzzy music madness that is unique and rocking the scene.
She had a huge crowd out at the Urban Outfitters performance space, with many fans there just for her.
Cloves at Empire Garage:
As a longtime Cloves fan, I was as delighted as ever to hear her incredible voice live. Cloves has such a maturity to her tone and it shines so brightly in her songwriting, highlighting the lower range that she possesses. Her music has a sensual appeal to it, however her delivery is as simple as can be: just her, a mic, and her band.
She doesn’t over-perform or try to capture you with a flashy stage presence. Her performance relies solely on her voice, and it works perfectly for her.
Bishop Briggs at Aloft Hotel:
Bishop Briggs’ music is combination of a pop, hip hop and synth rock undertones that come together to create what some have dubbed ‘dark pop.’ Her entrance into the scene was quick, but Bishop Briggs has had a solid following since. Her acoustic performance at Aloft Hotel was a great showcase of the incredible voice that drives her music.
She performs with a certain ferocious veracity that was captured even with just her and a guitar. I am such a fan of her style and her uninhibited spirit on stage.
Kim Petras at Plam Door on Sixth:
Truthfully, I had no idea who Kim Petras was when she walked on stage, but I developed mad respect for her. Her music is loud pop with hints of hip hop influences (AKA not your normal KTSW format). It wasn’t until she sat down with just a stool and a guitar and sang “Human” by The Killers that I truly understood the voice she has–which was undeniably amazing. She even said herself that performing acoustic like that is going back to “before all the beats and the auto tune.” That night on my drive home I listened to Kim Petras’ music and with the sound of her acoustic voice ringing in my head, I heard her music on a whole new level.
So, while her music may not be like typical KTSW tunes, her talent was worth noting and the energy she brought to her performance demanded to be felt.
Noah Cyrus at Empire Garage:
I’ll admit, when I first saw Noah Cyrus in the schedule, I was lowkey excited. I’ve actually been impressed with Noah’s music as she has released it over the years, and with her ability to make a name for herself outside of her family. The resemblance in her voice to her sister Miley’s in uncanny, however, Noah tends to be much lower in range and takes on more R&B vibes than her sister’s music.
I really didn’t know what to expect from Noah; I didn’t know if she was going to kill it or totally bomb. But, from the moment she walked on stage, Noah Cyrus performed 100 percent, delivering a high energy and impactful set. She had no vocal flaws and sang everything from intense synth pop ballads, to dark acoustic covers. I was truly impressed with her performance.
All photos by Brooke Adams.