“Not all bands fronted by women sound like Paramore” is beginning to become a pretty popular adage in the alternative music scene. It’s not that drawing a likeness to Hayley Williams isn’t a compliment—it may be one of the highest. But consistent comparisons to the most iconic woman-led group to emerge from the 2000s totally overlook the nuances that exist between female vocalists. After all, we wouldn’t compare every frontman to Patrick Stump, right?
It’s not a surprise that, as a collective group, we’re largely unable to distinguish between women’s tones in this context. Looking back at the early scene, there was a relative disproportion of bands fronted by women whose music was readily accessible. Still, it’s not like there was a total lack of variation. We’d argue that we were swimming in it.
Here are 10 women vocalists who brought a unique sound to the 2000s alternative scene.
Lacey Sturm (Flyleaf)
Honestly, we can’t even start to imagine going through an emo phase without the accent of Flyleaf‘s razor-sharp edge. Lacey Sturm‘s extensively ranging, breathy vocals are nothing short of mesmerizing. So much so that even the Simlish version of “Cassie” hits us right in the feels despite being total gibberish. Though no longer fronting the band, Sturm remains active as a solo artist and just released a new single, “State Of Me,” in February.
Hear us out on this one… Ashlee Simpson doesn’t get nearly enough credit for her contributions to the 2000s alternative music scene. The singer-songwriter totally diverged from the precedent set by her pop star of a sister, Jessica, bringing us a punk-rock-informed grittiness with Autobiography in 2004. Her voice has an inherently anthemic quality, lending itself well to the rousing nature of alt-rock.
Alexia Rodriguez (Eyes Set To Kill)
How many 2000s metalcore bands can you think of that were fronted by women? Eyes Set To Kill took the aggressive girl power a step further, boasting an original lineup that was predominated by three women. After original vocalist Lindsey Vogt parted ways from the outfit, guitarist Alexia Rodriguez stepped into the spotlight for their debut album, Reach. Fortunately for the scene, she’s remained there ever since. Her silvery vocals are a striking contrast against the band’s iconic shreds and screams.
Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs)
If you ever struggled to sing “Maps” on Rock Band, then you already know firsthand what kind of legend Karen O is. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs vocalist has a brittle but breezy type of voice that can go from subdued to shattering at the drop of a hat. Though she makes it seem so effortless, we maintain that it’s straight-up impossible to replicate.
Amy Lee (Evanescence)
Do we even need to say anything more? The Evanescence vocalist is easily one of the most recognizable frontwomen of the 2000s scene and beyond. Marked by gothic theatricality and a deeply resonating power, Amy Lee‘s voice is one of few that could hold its own both on Broadway and Warped Tour.
Juliet Simms (Automatic Loveletter)
Once you hear Juliet Simms‘ voice, it will never evade you. Her unique, gravelly but clear-cutting technique truly set Automatic Loveletter apart from the rest of the late-2000s scene. It also made her a notable contestant on The Voice in 2011, which launched her into a solo career that continues to dominate alternative airwaves. Though, it probably should be noted that she’s recently passed the torch on to her alter ego, Lilith Czar.
Lights Poxleitner-Bokan (LIGHTS)
LIGHTS‘ sugary-sweet voice is truly fit for a pop star. That’s what makes her neon alt-pop music so standout, especially in the Warped Tour scene. Not only are her vocal deliveries full of attitude and heart, but they’re also incredibly complex—drawing on a variety of different styles. She’s truly one of the few artists so versatile that she can kill it in the studio with the likes of both Silverstein and Seven Lions.
Cassadee Pope (Hey Monday)
How many vocalists do you know who can lend their voices perfectly to two totally different genres? Cassadee Pope first wowed us with her unique, lightly twangy voice when she debuted under Hey Monday in the late 2000s. Since then, however, she’s gone on to win The Voice and launch a career for herself as a country star. We can’t say that we saw that twist coming, but looking back, it makes total sense.
Lzzy Hale (Halestorm)
Halestorm brought hard rock with a feminine touch into the 2000s, riding on the mainstream alternative wave. While the band are incredibly heavy-hitting as a collective, it’s frontwoman Lzzy Hale‘s vocal contributions that really sell the listening experience. Her powerful prowess draws on elements of classic rock and metal for a sound that’s both all-American and edgy as hell.
You didn’t think we’d round out this list without mentioning Avril Lavigne, did you? Known among the scene as the “pop-punk princess,” Lavigne seamlessly blends punk eccentricity and pop-rock charm into her iconic sound. Alternating between sweet and fiery, her voice is immediately recognizable on every track she ever sang on.
Who are some of your favorite vocalists from the 2000s alternative scene? Let us know in the comments below!