The charge for women in EDM went from token news story to a full-blown movement in 2015. While the likes of Nicole Moudaber, Anna Lunoe and Maya Jane Coles have become stalwart DJ and production icons, constant interviews and diatribes still beg the question: “Where are all the women producers?”
Don’t worry, we have that covered. While 2016 promises continued success for the aforementioned artists, their success also allows the underground-to-mainstream floodgates to open. Here are 10 women to keep an eye on as they bash glass ceilings over the coming months.
Posso (meaning “I can”) is the collaborative project between longtime friends Marylouise Pels and Vanessa Giovacchini. Bridging the gap between music and fashion, the duo has done everything from design a capsule collection for VOLCOM to fest plays in locales like Japan and the Bahamas.
2016 is pivotal for POSSO, with a forthcoming release on Armada, a song featuring the vocals of Kaleena Zanders (you might know her from SNBRN’s ‘California’) and an entire EP revolving around the theme of a strong woman, with titles like ‘Bad Bitch’ and ‘Run This World’.
Along with this, they’re composing acoustic versions for each song on the EP and expanding their online store. “A lot of women are afraid to step up to the plate,” says Marylouise, “and we want to be here to inspire other people to say ‘I can do that too.’”
Washington D.C.’s Eau Claire spent 2015 making waves as a nu-disco production star. Major label remix opportunities, like her take on Phases’ single ‘I’m In Love WIth My Life’, are now paired with her viral SoundCloud smash remixes of tunes from artists including Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and yes, Mike Posner.
She’s found a niche in highlighting happy, feel-good vibes in her work, and plans to release her first EP in 2016. The end of last year saw her continually nominated by an endless list of outlets naming her as one to watch and now we’re joining their voices.
The Black Madonna
Chicago-based Marea Stamper, a.k.a. The Black Madonna, had a mightily impressive 2015. Her voice erupted in interview upon interview, leading to Mixmag naming her the ‘Most Inspirational’ artist of the year. An open book on the subject of equality – in every form imaginable – she admits she’s “got a big mouth” but it’s always for the greater good.
It’s refreshing to hear someone’s opinion free of consequence, and it’s also refreshing to see how much she genuinely cares for and cultivates the scene she’s a part of. Wearing multiple hats, she’s also music director for the Windy City’s legendary Smart Bar and constantly tours, sharing her brand of joyful, physical house-disco-techno sets.
Nina Las Vegas
Nina’s success has been imprinted for years, but recent changes anticipate an even greater jump in the near future. Australia born Nina Agzarian made her name hosting triple j radio, having a huge assist in breaking the likes of Flume into a full-fledged household name.
In 2014 she left her post, making the journey from taste-making disc jockey and radio presenter to festival DJ, producer and label owner. She was soon touring worldwide, and paired with Melbourne producer Swick for the ‘Don’t Send’ EP with Skrillex’s online label Nest HQ, as well as the ‘Cool Sports’ EP on Fool’s Gold. Now free of radio duties with her feet planted in Los Angeles, one can only suspect that there’s much more in the offing.
Toronto-based techno producer Isabelle Rezazadeh – known to the world as REZZ –exploded from the pages of SoundCloud into underground-to-mainstream acclaim in 2015. Referred to as the “female Gesaffelstein,” this certainly isn’t an allusion to her chain smoking in the DJ booth while throwing down mind-bending and thunderous tunes.
She combines Kraftwerk-like melodic structures with a clear affinity for booming builds more in line with electro house, catching the attention of Deadmau5 and, well, everyone else.
She recently finished with the Ship2Ship tour alongside Destructo and Justin Martin. With loads of new music on the way, it looks like this little ferret (as she calls herself) is about to have a stellar 2016.
Sure, secret identities aren’t anything new within the music arena, but rising electro-pop artist Elohim takes incognito to another level. Not only does she obscure her face in photos, she’s been known to use text-to-speech software for interviews.
The point, she says, is to allow her art to enter the world unaffected by all the trappings an attached appearance would bring. This ethereal, almost spiritual way of looking at her art is echoed in the choice to call herself Elohim, the Biblical Hebrew name for God. Her buoyant but melancholy vibe harkens to a Dragonette-meets-Portishead vibe in songs like ‘Xanax’ and ‘She Talks Too Much’ that let the listener wallow in their lushness. We don’t need to see to believe.
If you’re stateside and haven’t yet heard of Lady Bee, the Dim Mak and Mad Decent darling that’s been releasing scores of trap, moombahton and radio-ready tunes for years, you’ll know her soon. Cutting her teeth early in life as a UK-garage and drum and bass emcee, Bianca Latupapua shifted to production, releasing 2step and house before finding her current sound.
The current hallmark of Bee’s songs is a feel-good foundation with underlying, dirty bass, a vibe she calls “female friendly tropical bass.” Her 2016 started off with a bang – doing a guest mix for BBC Radio 1Xtra’s ‘Diplo and Friends’ that teased several ID tracks from the artist herself. It’s a marker of things to come – Bee confirms she’s finishing a Dim Mak EP and more than one collaboration with booty shakers TWRK.
Los Angeles-based Ducky carved out a nice space for herself in 2015. A relative newcomer to the city, she managed to do a lot in a small amount of time, releasing her label debut with B.Yrslf Division and following up with an EP on Nest HQ. Co-signed by Skrillex both on Twitter and in Skrillex Selects, Ducky ramped it up shortly thereafter with a mini mix, highlighting her taste in frenetic, 160bpm club jams.
She’s a touch vague on plans for 2016, only saying that she has “a few single releases sorted with exciting labels,” but is happy to share that she’s starting her own venture. Done in collaboration with Bianca Oblivion and Suspect Bitch, the label (called Club Aerobics) will release original, free singles on the first Tuesday of every month. We can’t wait.
Tasha The Amazon
Canadian Tasha The Amazon is a rapper, producer, and an obsessive hobbyist when it comes to instrumentation. She plays the piano, bass, saxophone and also “a bunch of weird ethnic instruments,” which might explain the unique can’t-quite-place-it vibe of her music.
It’s not dancehall, it’s not hip-hop, it’s not trap… it’s all of them and more. With a rebel I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude, her songs (all co-produced with boyfriend Danthrax under umbrella Bass & Bakery) are explosive with lyrics like “I am the king, and the maharaja and the sultan, so if you’re with my team we live and prosper like volcanoes.”
Named as one of Spotify’s Spotlight artists for 2016 and with plans to drop her next album/mix tape by summer along with music videos, Tasha and her team of scallywags are ready for the next level.
Toulouse-based guitarist and producer CloZee has a deep musical background. Playing guitar from the age of 11 and producing from the age of 16, this world bass futurista has become a favorite of labels like Otodayo and Gravitas and won Best International Newcomer at the 2013 UK Glitch-Hop Awards.
Combining funky, jazz-driven instrumentation with organic sound effects like running water, claps and additional foley, CloZee adds depth and delicacy to even the crunchiest of songs.
Clearly an open soul, she often shares videos with her fans of off the cuff guitar sessions and cinematic soundscapes, letting them feel equally immersed in the creative process. Considering how acclaimed every one of her recent releases has been and that she’s fresh off a second North American tour, we’re anticipating a tipping point for CloZee in the near future.
Words: Dani Deahl & Marcus Dowling