Fighting with the Sky

The Domination of White Male Singers

Posted on: August 27, 2009

As I have been thinking about which artists and songs to highlight on Sing-A-Long Saturday, I have become more aware of the majority of the music that I listen to is performed by white males. Why is this? I believe in supporting female artists and artists of color, especially female artists and artists of color that are outside of the mainstream. But when it comes down to it, I choose white male singers/bands.

When looking at my “favorite music” section on my Facebook page, I have come to realize that 73% of those listed are all male bands or male singers, only 1 is a person of color, and only 18% were female singers…I did not have any all female bands listed.

Maybe I’m just attracted to the male voice — I do like when guys have a good singing voice — and that’s why a majority of my favorite music is performed by white men. Or maybe it’s that there are more white male singers/bands out there in most genres. Or maybe it’s that society has told us that white male performers are more worthy of our time.

Some of the female singers/bands that I do like (for bands, I am including bands that are at least half female) are:

  • Regina Spektor
  • Feist
  • She & Him
  • Ingrid Michaelson
  • Dar Williams
  • KT Tunstall
  • Girlyman

A lot of the music that I listen to is classic rock, alternative pop, folk-ish, and I think that those genres are dominated by white, male singers/bands in general. Or maybe I’m just missing the majority of the female artists.

Does anyone have any recommendations of female singers/bands? I am interested in expanding my horizons and supporting female artists.

Further Reading:
Why is most of the music I listen to written/performed by straight white males? [Pieces of String]

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14 Responses to "The Domination of White Male Singers"

pretty much anything on kill rock star records (if your into the punky-rock sound).k records also has a lot of female artists as well that are more folkish.bands that are good off the top of my head: the finches, patti smith, the eyeliners, asobi seksu, cat power, beth orton, erase errata, nellie mckayhope the list helps a little.

Some of my favourites are Sleater-Kinney,Gia Shakur,Sahra,Mecca Normal,Lucid Nation,Scout Niblett,Amanda Palmer,Kaia Wilson,Kayla Oberlin,The Gossip,Addiquit,Aja-Monet,Tegan & Sara,Zoe Boekbinder,Dakota Belle Witt.

Let's see. These is a list of diverse styles, ages, cultures: Peaches, Le Tigre, Bikini Kill, Thao, The Butchies, Sleater-Kinney, Heavens To Betsy, Dionne Farris, Erin McKeon, Tegan & Sara, Rebecca Pearcy, Lila Downs, Bratmobile, and M.I.A.:)

Some of the artists I like are:Martha Wainwright, Cat Power, Scout Niblett, Erykah Badu, Tori Amos, Billie Holiday, Hole, L7, Lesbians on Ecstasy, Jewel, Nina Simone, Peaches, P.J. Harvey, Annie Lennox, Eurythmics, Ann Peebles, Heart, Joan Armatrading, Ember Swift… I could go on forever! 🙂

I'd add these to the ones already listed: Imogen Heap (and her band, Frou Frou), Eisley, and Stars (which also features male vocalists from time to time).

Try Deb Talan, Emiliana Torrini, Lucy Kaplansky, Kris Delmhorst, and Priscilla Ahn.They're all pretty folsky and I love them.I also like Poe, which is a little less folsky than the others, and Zazie, but she's French.

I don't think anyone's mentioned Ani DiFranco yet, so I will: ANI DiFRANCO!!! I'll also reiterate Tori Amos, Dar Williams, and Imogen Heap. Velocity Girl was a cool indie band around in the '90s whose frontlady had an amazing, beautiful voice. I should also mention here that I heart Enya. Sonic Youth has Kim Gordon, but she's only one of four band members (VG was that way, too). Juliana Hatfield is also excellent, imo. SiSe is an electronic/hip-hop act with a powerful female vocalist. Diamanda Galas is freaky, in a great way. PJ Harvey also comes to mind, as does Liz Phair, and a little-known singer-songwriter from Athens, GA named Liz Durrett (see Rusted Root has a couple of women members. There's the Indigo Girls, of course. And Belly. And The Breeders, one of which was in The Pixies. The Pretenders, Fleetwood Mac, and Blondie. And finally, for now at least: Jolie Holland does an amazing folk-jazz fusion kind of thing; her voice is evocative of Billie Holiday, who of course is another of the great women of music. Oh wait, one more: Tanya Donelly (who was also in the band Throwing Muses).:)

I left Ani out because it didn't seem like she fit with those listed as "already liked," but definitely worth a shot, as throughout her work she's gone across a wide range of sounds.But for sure, try!

Thanks so much for all the suggestions! I'm definitely going to have to get on youtube or itunes later!

I'm into classic rock too and the majority of the classic rock bands/singers I enjoy are white males. Thanks for referencing Girlyman, I hadn't heard of them before and now I'm listening to their song Joyful Sign. :)Considering the singers/bands you listed and the genres you like, I would recommend:An HorseMenTegan and SaraBikini KillBetty (particularly their song Jesus; it's on YouTube)Uh Huh HerCat PowerTracy ChapmanLe TigreGossipPeachesYeah Yeah YeahsMirah

Some of my faves of faves:Brody Dalle (The Distillers & Spinnerette)The gits (Mia Zapata)7 year BitchL7Bikini KillLucinda WilliamsNeko CaseErykah BaduLita FordHeartPJ HarveyNina SimoneKaki KingJolie HollandNellie McKayBillie HolidayLoretta Lynn Janis JoplinJill ScottSpeech DeBelleEmiliana Torrini

Son looking over shoulder just chastised me for not mentioning Joni Mitchell.And how could I have forgotten Karen O & Blondie!

[…] 29, 2009 · Leave a Comment After a recent post from myself and Laura over at Adventures of a Young Feminist, I’ve become more aware than ever about the kinds of music I consume.  Where does it come […]

Most of my favourite artists are male as well, and I’m willing to bet that this has something to do with the fact that we are probably not hearing the best female talent that is out there — we are only hearing the stuff that has passed through the “okay, she can sort of sing, but how does she look in a tight dress” filter. Female artists are promoted on the basis of how they look, not how they sound — it therefore stands to reason that we are probably just not hearing A LOT of good stuff out there…

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