Although 2017 has been a year in which male singers and rappers have received the most success (perhaps due to the fact that some of our favorite girls such as Beyoncé, Rihanna and Lady Gaga released music last year), the most commercial side of the music business has been dominated by the women for a long time.
That said, here is a list of up-and-coming young women artists with fresh style and different perspectives who are ready to make their own rules in the industry (Note: for this list, I only considered singers with not more than one studio album released):
Probably one of the youngest of them all, Billie Eilish is only fifteen and already showcasing her talent in ways many people haven’t been able to in ages. Her first EP don’t smile at me was released this year, and it is living proof of just how good she can be. Her haunting voice mixed with the simple but captivating production and amazingly deep lyrics — written by herself with the help of her brother — resulted in a few great tracks in which the singer takes on many different characters which manage to make things even more cohesive.
Check out: ‘bellyache,’ ‘watch,’ ‘COPYCAT’
If you are at least mildly active on social media, you have probably heard about Dua Lipa. Her song and video ‘New Rules’ have become quite the viral hit, and previous songs like ‘Be The One’ and ‘Blow Your Mind (Mwah)’ got her a stable fan base which is obsessed with her and cannot wait for her popularity to go even further. Her debut self-titled album can become a great gem in any pop music lover’s collection. Her style, her voice and her tracks undoubtedly make her one of the coolest musicians in the industry right now.
Check out: ‘IDGAF,’ ‘Begging,’ ‘Genesis’
Even if Bebe Rexha’s name does not sound familiar to you, her voice probably will. Being featured in hits like G-Eazy’s ‘Me, Myself and I’ and David Guetta’s ‘Hey Mama,’ she has already started to make her waves inside and outside of the industry. She has been releasing EPs of the All Your Fault series during the whole year, which are full of potential hits like ‘FFF (F–k Fake Friends)’ or ‘(Not) The One.’ We are yet to see her thrive all on her own, but she definitely has the attitude and potential to do so.
Check out: ‘I Got You,’ ‘Atmosphere,’ ‘Meant to Be’
In a year in which women have not been very present in the Billboard Hot 100s Top 10, Alessia Cara is the only one who can proudly say she has had three tracks to her name on said list. It took many people by surprise when the so-called outcast who wrote the anti-party track ‘Here’ ended up being so well received by the general public; her voice and versatility allowed her to be the perfect addition to genres like EDM in Zedd’s ‘Stay’ as well as Rap, as in Logic’s ‘1-800-273-8255.’
Check out: ‘Wild Things,’ ‘Seventeen,’ ‘Four Pink Walls’
With over 4 million followers on Instagram and 165 million views on a single video (dethroning the legend RuPaul herself on both platforms), Pabllo Vittar is evidence that you do not need to have English as your first language — or be on Drag Race — to triumph as a drag queen. She earned significant popularity with her song ‘Open Bar,’ a Portuguese version of Major Lazer’s ‘Lean On.’ A few years later she went on to collaborate with the group in the song ‘Sua Cara.’ Pabllo is huge in her country for her upbeat music, active presence as well as LGBT+ acceptance.
NOTE: Pabllo Vittar does not identify as a woman, but they are listed here, because their drag persona does represent a woman.
Check out: ‘K.O.,’ ‘Corpo Sensual,’ ‘Todo Dia’
Although she started making pop music in English, Becky G is currently getting most of her popularity from Latin America. You may know her from the smash hit ‘Shower,’ but a few years have passed since then, and the singer has decided to take a different route with her music, as she now sings in Spanish and represents one of the only female voices in Reggaeton and Latin Urban. The tracks she has released so far from her debut studio album are all interesting, and it is great that her fans will finally get it after waiting for years.
Check out: ‘Mayores,’ ‘Todo Cambió,’ ‘Mangú’
Definitely the youngest of them all, 14-year-old Grace VanderWaal is making wonders with her music by allowing teenagers and adults enjoy her songs by relating to her lyrics. She won America’s Got Talent in 2016 and did not wait long to release her debut EP Perfectly Imperfect which she went on to promote on The Ellen DeGeneres Show as well as the Special Olympics World Winter Games held in Austria. She is set to release her studio album Just the Beginning this upcoming November — the title couldn’t be more spot on as this truly seems to be just the beginning of a long and successful career.
Check out: ‘Moonlight,’ ‘I Don’t Know My Name,’ ‘Sick of Being Told’
Unlike the others in this list, Hailee Steinfeld began her career by acting. She earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in the film True Grit (2010) at the age of 14, and she has been in over 10 other projects since then. After singing in Pitch Perfect 2, she got signed by Republic Records and released a Teen Pop-esque EP called Haiz which still somehow managed to be clever. This year, she put out the female empowerment anthem ‘Most Girls’ leading up to her debut studio album.
Check out: ‘You’re Such A,’ ‘Love Myself,’ ‘Most Girls’
It has been more than a year since I heard her first single and fell in love, and it is still hard for me to understand why Jessie Reyez has not completely blown up. Her style is very similar to SZA’s, but the best thing about her is how she manages to fit her voice to the lyrics and the beat she is singing to in a perfect way. Her debut EP is a mix of themes such as anger, sadness, pride and learning; it is one of the best I have heard all year.
Check out: ‘Figures,’ ‘Gatekeeper,’ ‘Great One’
If you need a music goddess to calm you with her voice for a while, Jorja Smith is the one. At 20 years old and only one year into her career, she has the potential to become a new force in the R&B world who will enhance it with fresh jazz melodies. She blew up due to being one of Drake’s favorites — here is to hoping she will be just as big as him someday.
Check out: ‘Beautiful Little Fools,’ ‘On My Mind,’ ‘Teenage Fantasy’
Originally from Colombia, Kali Uchis is coming into the business to shake things up in the United States as well as the rest of the world. Although she is most recognized in the alternative genre, her music is quite hard to define, ranging from R&B and Soul to Reggaeton and Latin Pop. Her songwriting is really good, but it is not hard to get lost in her unique voice for a majority of the time. The music video for ‘Tyrant’ is, in my opinion, one of the best of 2017.
Check out: ‘Tyrant,’ ‘Nuestro Planeta,’ ‘Sycamore Tree’
Over the past few decades, we have seen many girls come out of Disney Channel and launch their successful careers as pop stars, and Sofía Carson is just one more example to add to the list. She is one of the few and most significant Latino figures in the network, which is definitely a huge deal for those watching. She starred in the hit film Descendants (2015), in its sequel and in the 100th Disney Channel Original Movie, Adventures in Babysitting, alongside Sabrina Carpenter, who is also a rising star to be noted.
Check out: ‘Ins and Outs,’ ‘Back To Beautiful,’ ‘Love Is the Name’