We’re proud of all the women who make our scene great and push their art to new limits. There are so many amazing ladies in rock that we can’t even begin to name them all. Here are a few who we want to extend gratitude to for all their work in music and ability to inspire young women to pursue their own dreams.
1. Bishop Briggs
Bishop Briggs is a powerhouse of a woman and an astounding vocalist. She’s shattering genre constraints and paving the path for women to be headliners in rock. In 2019, she became the first female to headline iHeartRadio’s ALTer EGO concert. She also uses her success to empower other women by donating funds from her festival fees to abortion relief funds. Beyond that, we guarantee Briggs is a stellar friend as she shaved her head in solidarity with her friend and beauty and makeup guru Arax who was undergoing cancer treatments. She’s a true champion and reminds us that we are, too!
2. K. Flay
K. Flay’s political voice is incredibly impactful and resounds with young females everywhere. In her Solutions trilogy of music videos, she addresses issues all young women face—or will face—such as government policies regarding climate change in “Not In California” and societal issues surrounding patriarchal institutions in “Bad Vibes.” In “Sister,” K. Flay talks about unconditional love between female siblings and friends. She’s the voice of a powerful movement daring women to challenge institutional norms and share deep friendships.
3. Nova Twins
The scene is known for being dominated by men, but the Nova Twins are breaking barriers and lifting up their voices as a duo of black women in rock music. All their songs pack a punch and a heavy dose of glamour. Their music and fashion style is unparalleled, and their debut album Who Are The Girls? is phenomenal with heavy bass sure to melt your face off (in a good way). To answer their question, they are the girls shaping rock music for a new generation.
4. Laura Jane Grace
Laura Jane Grace, lead vocalist from Against Me! and Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers, is not only empowering women, but she’s also a badass advocate for the trans community. In her albums Transgender Dysphoria Blues and Shape Shift With Me, the 2017 APMAs Icon Award winner discusses all the highs and lows that come with becoming who you are and how society reacts to gender dysphoria and transgender people. She doesn’t sugarcoat the transition at all as each song is raw and well-crafted storytelling from her perspective. She even created an Emmy Award-nominated web series called “True Trans” and wrote a book, Tranny: Confessions Of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout.
5. Hayley Williams
Where do we even start with Hayley Williams? Not only is she one of the most iconic women in alternative music fronting Paramore and her own solo project, but she’s also a successful businesswoman who launched her own hair dye collection under the moniker Good Dye Young. She made fun and spunky hair colors cool and widely accepted by young people and parents, alike. She’s also an animal lover and helped a dog named Hayley Williams find a home. Truly, she is an angel in many ways.
6. Bonnie Fraser
I KNOW I IM ANNOYING BUT I JUST NEED TO ADRESS THE FACT THAT AS SOON AS WE GOT ON STAGE I REALISED I DIDNT CHANGE MY TAMPON AND I FELT THE LIQUID AND THE WHOLE SET ALL I COULD THINK ABOUT WAS HOW I COULD POTENTIALLY PAUSE THE SHOW TO GO DO IT BUT I DIDNT BC ROCK COMES FIRST
— The usual aplomb (@bonatlantic) February 28, 2020
Bonnie Fraser is the kickass lead vocalist for Australian pop-punk act Stand Atlantic. It’s no secret that pop-punk tours are male-dominated, so some struggles are one’s specific to her. The LGBTQ+ advocate addressed needing to change a tampon and worrying about leaks, but that “ROCK COMES FIRST.” We love a queen who’s normalizing periods. They are as natural as breathing, but there’s still a huge global stigma about them. Thank you for your service, Bonnie.
7. Lynn Gunn
PVRIS frontwoman Lynn Gunn is a rock queen and shares her vulnerable side on and offstage. In a 2017 tweet, she shared that she was in a hard place mentally, dealing with bouts of stress. “Sorry if I haven’t seemed myself at our shows this summer,” she shared. “[I’m] in the midst of navigating some vocal kinks [and] have felt very uncomfortable…Just hope you know you’re loved [and] appreciated at these shows for being such good energy.” We love how she talks openly about mental health and the anxiety that comes with the musical creation process. Being vulnerable is powerful, and she inspires women to speak their mind and know it’s OK to not feel OK.
8. Jenna McDougall
Tonight Alive’s frontwoman Jenna McDougall has struggled with health issues throughout the course of her touring with some even causing shows to be canceled or postponed. Recently, she shared her struggles with eating disorders in an Instagram post, ending on a hopeful note by saying, “And slowly you start to uncover your original self and life gets brighter again.” Open dialogue is brave and allows other young people to navigate taking those first steps to feeling better. Jenna is a role model and her openness is greatly appreciated.
9. Ash Costello
Ash Costello of New Years Day proves time and time again that tattoos are cute and acceptable. There’s a huge stigma surrounding body modification and she’s trying to change the conversation around piercings, tattoos, injections and more. She makes it clear that it’s your body and your choice how you change yourself. Costello has also shared a deeply personal story about her miscarriage and stated how she made it through and is “unbreakable.” She’s proof that women are resilient and can overcome anything.
10. Bones UK
London rock duo Bones UK use their platform to prove that women know how to rock. Each of their songs touch on notions that there’s a right way to be pretty and that there’s more to women than being “beautiful.” While explaining their song “Pretty Waste,” the duo said, “What you look like on the outside doesn’t have to define who you are on the inside. It’s about not trying to live up to what people expect [or] want you to be because of your appearance, age, sex [or] race. You can be whatever you want to be. None of that shit should ever define you or be put on you by other people. It’s unimportant.” The Grammy-nominated duo is making sure girls everywhere know they are much more than a cute face, and that they can share their talents in music if they so choose.
— h (@halsey) January 20, 2018
Alt-pop extraordinaire Halsey has done amazing things in music and for women across the world. She recited her own poem at Glamour‘s 2018 Women Of The Year Summit sharing an account about how women are considered “inconvenient” when they are confident and outspoken. She asked all women at the end to “be inconvenient.” The poem followed her impactful speech at the Women’s March in NYC. There, she shared miscellaneous stories about Planned Parenthood, rape, sexual assault, misogyny and other topics. She concluded her poem offering a call to all people to listen to women:
But we are not free until all of us are free
So love your neighbor, please treat her kindly
Ask her story and then shut up and listen
Black, Asian, poor, wealthy, trans, cis, Muslim, Christian
Listen, listen and then yell at the top of your lungs
Be a voice for all those who have prisoner tongues
For the people who had to grow up way too young
12. Billie Eilish
Teen superstar Billie Eilish has completely shifted what it means to be a woman in music. At this years’ Grammy Awards, she won Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best New Artist and Best Pop Vocal Album. As a result, Eilish is now the second person and first woman to win all four major Grammys categories in one night. She’s also the youngest to sweep the four awards at age 18. Her candid lyrics and boldness to be different are motivating females of all ages to create their own path. Age does not define success and Eilish makes that very clear.
Rising star DeathbyRomy has quickly gained recognition with her haunting alt-pop tracks and viral TikTok song “Problems.” However, the vocalist isn’t doing it just for fame and glory as she wants other girls to learn and grow, too. “Half of the reason I wanted to do music and have a voice is because I, just like every other girl, really struggled with self-image and self-love and acceptance, Romy told AltPress in issue #380. “And I remember the artists who really helped make me realize that I am beautiful the way I am. I can be a weirdo. I don’t have to look like all the girls you see in the magazines to be beautiful. But it makes me so happy that these young girls are trying the makeup [and] telling me my music helps them cope with breakups or self-image issues. I love helping people, and this is the best way to do it for me.”
Poppy is a highly creative and unique singer who blends metal and K-Pop influences. She stood up to her manipulative creative collaborator Titanic Sinclair and left to pursue her own vision for her art. And it didn’t end their as the stood her ground with the creativity-stifling men and women who run various labels as referenced in her “I Disagree” music video. “From the previous label, there were always conversations that were had where they were very dismissive to a lot of the ideas that I had,” Poppy told AltPress. “But that makes me fight harder. It makes me want it more when I need to prove myself.” Poppy inspires young women to fight for what they believe in for their own creations, and we’re so glad she can now create all her visions how she wishes.
15. Lzzy Hale
— TheOriginalWonderWoman|#TeamOP|NerdOrDie Affiliate (@OG_WonderWoman) May 18, 2019
Lzzy Hale is best known for her rockin’ vocals in Halestorm. The lead singer shared a sweet moment with a young fan by handing them her guitar onstage. This small gesture was shared in front of thousands at Sonic Temple Festival and it felt like a symbolic “passing of the torch.”