The New Underground – Girls On Top

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Photography by Hedi Slimane Words by Elizabeth Pollard

In the last few years, pop music has seen an uprising of young women storming air time and rebelling against the manufactured, Britney-style pop princess. Super cool twenty-something’s who started writing music before they could walk, befriending fashion heavy-weights and dominating the blogosphere are demanding creativity back from their record labels and taking their brand (and their dance moves) into their own hands.

Solange
As the leader of the pack, Solanges’ 2013 EP, True, is a real example set to her younger and less experienced colleagues. As with many of these artists, Solange has taken influence from the hip-hop greats of the 90’s, in melody and soul, without shying away from a catchy chorus and sing-along-lyrics. What makes Solange truly great though, is her innate creativity that translates through her sense of style, music videos and her wonderfully curated blog. Solange does not care to bare flesh to sell records but rather enjoy the relationship between fashion, music and art which she has firmly established after being appointed Creative Director at Puma.

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Sky Ferreira
Poster girl and Hedi Slimane muse, Sky Ferreira, took four years to write and release her debut album; Night Time, My Time. Signed as a teenager, Ferreira competed with her record label for creative control; which eventually paid off to create a surprisingly mainstream sound but with a look that competes with Courtney Love.

Haim
This family trio are a refreshing take on most of the polished-grunge that LA produces. Naturally, I enjoyed Haim’s sunny, catchy, drum- heavy beats immediately, but it wasn’t until I saw them live that I really fell for these Californian natives. These girls are not afraid to get physical; embracing movement and expression doesn’t always look glamorous but it’s that passion that’s their charm. Weird, unashamed, beautiful.

Grimes
By far the most alternative of these ladies; Grimes has lead hipsters into ‘Oblivion’ with those shoes and that fringe. Queen of twitter, tumblr and Style Rookie readers, Grimes shows us that her music is a way of life not an opportunity to mac with Madonna. Every track has been carefully produced to create a defining musical style without sounding like a 1-trick-pony.

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Lorde
Her age is only the first thing that draws your attention to Lorde which is very quickly forgotten when you hear her dark and smokey vocals. Incredibly self-assured for a 17 year old but by no means bratty – would you ever see Miley perform in her school shoes at the Grammy’s?

Despite the obvious feminine synth that runs throughout all of these artists’ music, there’s an edge that doesn’t falter with fame and recognition, or at times, the lack thereof. The awkwardness of being a young woman is celebrated in all of these artists – not hidden behind a marketing team who’s solution to youth, fame and a vagina is to take all your clothes off and rub against… well anything! Let’s hope, that with the reach and global access of social platforms, such as Twitter and Soundcloud, we keep discovering these passionate, creative and very talented young artists.

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