Underrated women of color in music

Meet Abra, a singer, songwriter, and producer from Atlanta and one of the three women that make up Father’s Atlanta collective, Awful Records. Her second self-produced album, Rose, is what put the singer on many people’s radar.

The self-proclaimed “darkwave duchess” has a gift for luring her listeners in with her heavenly voice, infectious beats, and refreshingly sincere lyrics. Abra’s raw, “do-it-yourself ” mentality feels far more genuine than amateur. The appeal to Abra’s lo-fi R&B music is not simply due to her heart-stopping vocal talent but also in her moody yet vulnerable words; words that are at most times so relatable that they give the listener a respite from their sadness, their anger, and their melancholy.

Tommy Genesis is a Canadian-born “fetish rapper” and visual artist who also gained notoriety when signing with Awful Records. Genesis released her first album on the label World Vision, which combined a mixture of Atlanta trap with Genesis’ soft voice and clever flow.

Her sound is effortlessly and entirely unique, which is hard to find in today’s industry.
Genesis’ music screams female independence. Her lyrics very rarely speak of heart break at the hands of a man and often break the conventions of normalcy.

Gensis is perhaps one of the few rappers to sing about her relationship with women on a sexual level, but also to rally for all women to seize their identity as inherently powerful creatures. As a musician, Genesis exploits the contrast (and beauty) between combative lyrics and unique beats, which pulls her music into her self-described “dark happy place.”

Last but certianly not least, Sevda Alizadeh, known professionally as Sevdaliza, is an Iranian-Dutch singer, songwriter, and producer. Along with masterminding the majority of her own music, she has also created her own label: Twisted Elegance.

With her very first full length album, ISON, being released only this past April, Alizadeh has dug her claws into the electronic R&B with a furiousness that one can only hope never dies away. Like some sort of musical alchemist, Alizadeh combines delicate beats and traditional Persian music with her powerful yet poised voice.

Alizadeh’s music integrates her own art and identity. Trump’s travel ban, banning refugees and immigrants from entering the country indefinitely, was a deeply personal issue for Alizadeh. Being Iranian and based in the Netherlands, Alizadeh was unable to travel to the United States. Her frustration fueling her, she wrote the song “Bebin” to extend support to others also suffering from the ban.

The track is sung entirely in the Persian language, Farsi. In an interview with Billboard, Alizadeh spoke about this track and impact she hopes to make. Upon being asked about how people can cope and come together she answered: “There’s much in the mirror but nothing in the room. I would like to get rid of the mirrors and face each other.”

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