THE OTHER WOMAN: why 2013 is for the girls

Los Angeles band Haim

BBC Sound of… poll winners Haim

It’s high time we here at The Other Woman stood on our soapbox (er, beer crate) and triumphantly punched the air. It seems 2013 truly is the year of women in pop. Some will scoff at this statement and cite the last ten years as an excellent decade for women in music but that is where I beg to differ.

Yes, we’ve seen the likes Adele, the late Amy Winehouse, Florence Welch, Rihanna, Leona Lewis, Jessie J and Lady Gaga explode into international megastars. Yes, they’ve dominated headlines, charts and popular culture but it’s never been enough for me, hence the existence of The Other Woman. These stars are all certain types of carefully marketed ‘pop stars’; solo women with either a big diva-like voice or a flamboyant sense of style. Diversity is what I’ve always fought for on The Other Woman bands and artists a million miles away from the cookie cutter marketing A&R man’s dream.

This is where 2013 stands out as the year of women in pop. Take a look at Amazing Radio’s Tips for 2013: the sultry nu-soul of Lulu James, the spiky urgency of Jehn fronting punk rockers Savages, quick fire MC Lady Leshurr, the grungy hard rock stylings of Marmozets front-woman Becca McIntyre (widely noted specifically as a ‘heavy rock band with a female singer’), Daisy who leads the gentle sunshine pop of Mausi, everyone’s favourite classic L.A. popsters Haim and indie electro-pop Scots Churches, led by Lauren Mayberry.

As the BBC’s Sound of 2013 winners Haim have put it, the top five list they have recently topped is:

“All about the ladies… you know, it’s really awesome we’re being represented!”.

The BBC’s list feels far more grassroots than years gone by. Yes, we’ve seen Adele, Corinne Bailey Rae, Ellie Goulding and Jessie J top this list, but, and here’s that word again, where’s the diversity? In 2013 it’s right there in the top 5 along with Haim and Churches: hardcore rapper Angel Haze, groovy R&B from AlunaGeorge and classic soul courtesy of Laura Mvula.

These women are outspoken and bright inside and outside of the music they make… and a million miles from the record label marketing categories and boxes. What a joy.

Ruth Barnes

The Other Woman is a new music blog and podcast, featuring a genre-defying selection of new music by women artists. Ruth is Tom Robinson's Girl Music Guru every Monday morning on his BBC 6 Music Introducing show and also presents The Other Woman on Amazing Radio Sunday evening's 7-9pm.


  1. WELL SAID! Ruth Barnes – you are my HERO!

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