“I have struggled with [independence] more in the past, just because [major record labels] always want a single; they always want you to have mainstream/commercial success. With this album, in the end they just gave me the money to go ahead and go off by myself,” says Natasha Khan, aka Bat For Lashes, on her latest album, The Bride.
In Huck 56 – The Independence Issue, we spoke to Khan about her creative success and maintaining artistic autonomy. “It’s not that I want independence,” says Khan, “it’s more that I can’t help but be independent.”
So get comfortable and listen to these tracks made by female musicians who value their independence above all else.
The Norwegian singer, writer and composer Jenny Hval is both an artist and social critic. She has made a name for herself in recent years for her potent lyrical content and avant-garde, often minimal approach to music-making. “Statistics and newspapers tell me I am unhappy and dying/And I need man and child to fulfil me,” she tells us on one of the stand out tracks from her latest album, That Battle is Over.
Molly Nilsson is the epitome of the independent artist, running all facets of her own label (Dark Skies Association) as well as putting out her own solo albums. In the past she has bemoaned taking on as much as she does, griping about how much admin she does, for instance. But if she didn’t, she wouldn’t enjoy such creative independence.
Elza Soares is a strong voice for the disadvantaged in Brazil. Her 79 years have seen great hardship – married off at 12, widowed by 21, expelled from Brazil, and watching her children die of malnutrition to are just a few of the troughs she has experienced in her life. And yet she keeps singing. Hear her latest cathartic, empowering single above.
Grimes may seem obvious to include here but it would a travesty not to. The Canadian singer-songwriter rose to fame in 2010 with a remarkably DIY approach. Included below is one of her most loved tracks, made on nothing less than everyone’s favourite free music making software GarageBand.
Sarah Midori Perry
As the front woman to the PC music-esque trio Kero Kero Bonito, Perry’s lyrics blend feminist social critique with influences from a childhood saturated in Super Mario. Indeed, Perry is the voice for a generation of girls and women excluded from the male-dominated and directed world of computer games. Hear Perry and the trio at their most playful and critical below.
Sonic Youth bassist Kim Gordon is not just a feminist role model, but an inspiration for all young creatives. Gordon has forged a long and successful career for herself, despite fighting prejudice and discrimination throughout her many years in the music industry. Recently she generated furore surrounding over her biography Girl in a Band: A Memoir, in which she spoke out about the appalling treatment of women in the music industry.
Sleater-Kinney are one of the most intriguing all-female bands around today. Made up of Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein, and Janet Weiss, the trio have long been associated with the Riot Grrrl movement and have become known for their punk sonics and feminist politics. Remind yourself of one of the tracks that spurred on their rise to fame.