On the beat

Celebrating female artists for Women’s History Month

Avery Shanahan

More stories from Avery Shanahan

Police Blotter
November 24, 2021

Graphic by Bethany Mennecke

Welcome to “On the beat,” where we discuss all things entertainment and pop culture. To celebrate March as Women’s History Month, we will be discussing four women in the music industry. 

Phoebe Bridgers:

Phoebe Bridgers is an indie, folk-rock star from Los Angeles. According to her website Bridgers’ first album, “Stranger in the Alps,” debuted in 2017.

Following “Stranger in the Alps,” Bridgers released her most recent album “Punisher” in 2020. This album earned Bridgers her four Grammy nominations. One of these nominations included Best New Artist according to NPR.

“Punisher” was also nominated for Best Rock Album of the Year, with a featured song “Kyoto” nominated for Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance. 

An article in Stereogum Publication breaks down Bridger’s Punisher album. The article explains how the album is creative and each song tells its own comprehensive story. 

Across ‘Punisher,’ her words are biting, hilarious, open-hearted, therapeutic, turning from unflinching honesty one moment to a sardonic punchline the next.”


Solána Imani Rowe, also known as R&B artist SZA, grew up in St. Louis. The artist released her first album, “Ctrl,” in 2017. 

Before her album debuted, SZA collaborated with music industry stars like Beyoncé, Rihanna and Drake.

According to Billboard, “Ctrl” hit the number one spot in June of 2017. The album stayed on the top 100 chart for 195 weeks. 

SZA has been nominated for nine grammy awards. She earned Billboard’s “Rulebreaker Award” as well as the “Soul Train Music Award for Best New Artist” in 2017. 

An article in Billboard analyzes the depths and lyricism of “Ctrl.” 

“A minute after pressing play on album opener ‘Supermodel,’” it reads, “her dreamy voice details adulterous revenge and temporary love while flipping through things everyday women can relate to — like finding security in yourself, a common theme throughout.”


Mitski Miyawaki, known professionally as Mitski, is a Japanese-American indie artist. The artist has released five albums throughout her career as a musician. 

Her most recent album, “Be The Cowboy,” has earned the indie artist a Best Rock Album and Album of the Year nominations from the American Association of Independent Music. The music video for the song “Nobody” was awarded the Music Video of the year on that same album. 

An article in the New Yorker titled, “Reclaiming Rock: Mitski uses the tropes of rock to make something novel,” goes into detail about Mitski’s narrative skills in her lyrics. 

“She shares DNA with a broad spectrum of artists, ranging from Fiona Apple to Adele,” the article reads, “artists who produce songs that cut to the heart of shared emotional experience and who write a good hook, too.”

Taylor Swift: 

We cannot discuss successful women in music without mentioning Taylor Swift. 

Swift, born in Pennsylvania, originally started her career as a country music star. Since the beginning of her career in 2006, she has released nine albums. 

Her first album, self-titled “Taylor Swift,” released in 2006. Most recently, Swift debuted two albums in the year 2020, “Folklore” and “Evermore.”

Swift is highly decorated in the music industry. The pop and more recently folk artist, has earned 11 Grammy Awards, 32 American Music Awards, 23 Billboard Music Awards and many more. 

In an article written in the New York Times, a critic analyzes Swift’s use of the language of nature specifically in “Folklore” and “Evermore.”

Songs like this — in which nature is a place to bond, seek solace or just hang out — maybe even more needed than songs that preach about saving it,” the critic wrote. “Because this is not nature as a living (what I do) but simply nature as part of daily life. And that is what we are missing.”

All of these artists and albums can be found on Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, or wherever you get your music.

Shanahan can be reached at [email protected]