I’m the kind of person that tends to jump from song to song, focusing on the lyrics rather than the specific artist behind the various melodies. However, there are occasions where I’ll find certain musicians popping up quite a bit on my playlists. With a passion for intricate lyrics and complex narratives, they have a gift for artistry but somehow haven’t achieved the viral fame of mainstream songwriters. So I’ve decided to shine a spotlight on the five female indie artists who I believe deserve more recognition:
- Gracie Abrams
Daughter of famous film director J.J. Abrams, Gracie Abrams has made quite the name for herself in the Indie Pop scene. She’s released two EPs, Minor and This is What It Feels Like, and I can honestly say that I love every single song on both of them. Her gentle voice transmits every emotion so perfectly. Her music videos bring spectacular cinematography as well, especially for “Mess It Up.” Abrams is known for her relatable lyrics such as “‘Cause if I’m gonna learn how to love you/ I’m gonna have to unlearn how to love too/ Need to unlearn how to run when it feels right” (“Unlearn”) and “When I told you ‘I’m fine,’ you were lied to/ How could I think that all that I gave you was enough?/ ‘Cause every time I get too close, I just go mess it up” (“Mess It Up”). Fellow singers Post Malone, Billie Eilish, and Olivia Rodrigo have all expressed their love for Abrams’ music, with Rodrigo citing Abrams as an inspiration for “Drivers License.”
- Gabrielle Aplin
Aplin got her start posting covers to YouTube and continues to maintain her channel, recently releasing a cover of Adele’s “Easy On Me.” She’s released three studio albums, three live albums, and seven EPs over the course of her career. Some of her hauntingly beautiful lyrics include “There’s magic in this misery/ So no matter what you say/ I don’t think I’ll ever change” (“My Mistake”) and “When you’re awake and your shadows turn into ghosts/ Home becomes what you’re scared of the most” (“Ghosts”). Aplin also co-founded an independent record label, Never Fade Records, with talent manager James Barnes. Never Fade Records releases music from artists like Hannah Grace, Anna Straker, and Nick Wilson, while also running live music events.
- Nina Nesbitt
Another artist who began her rise to fame on YouTube, Nesbitt has written all of her own songs, as well as co-writing with artists like Jessie Ware and Olivia Holt. She’s released three albums and eight EPs. Some of her popular lyrics include “And all I want is their respect/ But I can’t take a compliment” (“Black & Blue”) and “When you’re young and you get your heart broken/ And he leaves, leaves the scars open/ When you can’t believe it’s over/ That’s when you get a little colder” (“Colder”). She’s also written a song with aforementioned artist Gabrielle Aplin titled “Miss You 2.” Nesbitt is also the subject of Ed Sheeran’s “Photograph,” having previously been in a relationship with the singer.
- Olivia O’Brien
O’Brien is known for writing and featuring on Gnash’s single “i hate u, i love u.” She’s released two albums and three EPs, with an upcoming third album announced to be in the works. Her lyrics are rich and complex, and she has a gift for intertwining intricate narratives with catchy tunes. Some of her most popular lines include “Yeah, I’m empty inside, I just don’t feel alive/ And I don’t want to live, but I’m too scared to die” (“Empty”) and “I don’t understand it, what happened to your standards?/ Thought you were a gentleman but you ain’t got no manners/ Oh, where’s your self-control?/ You’re making it too easy to let you go” (“NOW”).
Some of dodie’s songs have appeared in a few of my previous articles, but her artistry is so good I just had to put her in this one as well. She has released one album and four EPs, with a majority of her music being self-released. Her music videos enhance the narratives of her songs, and her gift for dance leaves me craving as much choreography as possible. Some of my favorite lyrics include “I’m not magical, I can’t read your mind/ But how can you not hear the whole conversation/ I have, sitting still with a brain on fire?” (“Hate Myself”) and “I can tell you believe that you’re guiltless/ But I don’t think I’d feel better if I opened your eyes/ I’ll carry your burden ‘til the day that you die” (“Guiltless”).