By Timia Cobb
Black women are the backbone of the music industry; they write, sing, produce, rap, dance and more. Black women have shaped the music we listen to today, but what about the music of tomorrow? Here is a list of seven inspiring and game-changing black female artists who I believe will rise to superior stardom in the future of music.
Normani Kordei has been around for years but recently just made her solo debut. Normani was part of the girl group Fifth Harmony for six years until they disbanded in 2018. Normani offers a lot to the music industry. She reminds me of a younger Janet Jackson or Beyonce. The reason I say this is because her voice is soft but at the same it’s fierce and demands attention. Her stage presence and dancing is amazing as well, even though she only has six songs, most collabs and features, she has almost 26 million monthly listeners on Spotify. She just released her video for “Waves” and I’m in awe; the dancing and black representation is definitely going to make her stand out from other artists. Normani might have just started her solo career but I see her making a big impact in the music industry.
Nao is a true vocal queen. Her range of vocals bewilders me and the emotion in her songs makes them perfect to cry to, if you need to. One of my favorite songs by her is “Blue Wine”; the collaboration between high and low ranges, instrumentals and background vocals is godly. The techniques she uses in her songs present themselves in so many ways, but when put together, are truly beautiful. Nao has been producing music since 2016 and isn’t as popular as she deserves to be, but she is an amazing artist that deserves a listen.
Umi is an artist I just discovered. What I really like about her is the vibe she presents in her music videos and songs. She reflects a lot of my generation when it comes to style. I love that as a young African American woman she shows herself being ok with who she is and enjoying the little things. Her music could be described as indie, but is more of a contemporary R&B. Umi and her music just have a very relaxing energy that makes you happy. Her song “High School” is cute, and I can’t help but to smile when I hear it. The song reflects about her being young and in love in high school. The video consists of her and her real life friends going to a party. Most of her music videos gives a lates 80s vibe, which is aesthetically pleasing.
St. Beauty is the black girl singing duo that you never knew you needed, but are so happy you found. Even though they only have one album, their music carries so much versatility. I hate to compare them to Chloe and Halle, but they do remind me of them on some level; they are similar in vocals and style. However, St. Beauty’s music style seems to be more experimental and is always changing. It’s not their vocals that make their music amazing, but how they carry the songs and make each their own. You can really tell by how they sing that they are doing this on their own terms. I generally like them because they’re different. When I first heard the song “Caught” by them I didn’t like it—it sounded off and it made it seem like they were trying too hard to sound different from the rest. However, the song grew on me and lead me to listen to the rest of their album, which I’m happy I did.
Good Girl is an all black, four person girl group, and just knowing that there’s an actually all black girl group in the music industry today makes me so happy. I was born too late to actually enjoy TLC, En Vogue and many of the over late 90s girl groups, but Good Girl is giving my generation the chance to see the power of a black girl group and I’m here for it. The group constantly changes their roles when it comes to rapping and singing, and I love that because it allows each girl to show their talent. The most interesting thing about Good Girl to me is how they started out as a acapella group. Their acapella collaboration of “ All Time Low” by Jon Bellion and Solange’s “Cranes In The Sky” are genius and makes me trust that as artists they know what they’re doing. They also have started putting out their own original music. Their song “I Can Be Yours” is upbeat, catchy and gives each member time to have the spotlight but not hog it. I need a girl group in my future and Good Girl will most definitely be it.
Tierra Whack is weird in the best sense. She’s vulgar yet clever and is the definition of a lyricist. For me she’s a breath of fresh air to the rap industry, and even her style shows how versatile rap can be. Her music and projects deserve so much attention. The entire album Whack World was a take on rap that I never had thought about. The only thing I hate about the album is that the songs aren’t longer. The clever word play she uses and unapologetic realness makes her amazing to listen to and a great entertainer. Tierra puts art and rap together in away that works for her and I can see many artists looking up to her later in her career.
Raye is a South London pop/R&B artist and I love the image she presents. I think many black women are stereotyped as being angry or up tight. Raye shows the fun, carefree side of black women that most don’t see. There’s nothing wrong about being a strong black woman, but Raye shows that we can also be quirky and fun. Her music is upbeat and makes you feel good about yourself. I listen to her song “Cigarette” whenever I’m feeling myself or getting ready in the morning and it always makes me feel better about how my day will go. It’s a song that influences me to be my happy, goofy self, and I think most music should be able to do that. Raye is just a break from what society thinks a black woman is and allows black women to see that we can be ourselves.
All of these women are amazing artists whom I plan to listen to throughout the rest of their careers. Since they are definitely worth listening to, here’s a playlist that consists of more of their music and celebrates the talent of black women.