Feeling like your usual playlists are a little heavy on the dudes? Craving the sounds of some of Memphis’ raddest women? Look no further. Here’s an introduction to five Memphis women who rock.
1. Liz Brasher
Bringing together the sounds of her longtime home of Memphis and her birthplace of rural North Carolina, Liz Brasher offers a new take on soul for this millennium. According to her site, “Liz Brasher makes her own kind of southern music – one that’s caught halfway between the garage, the church, the bar, and the bedroom.” At once a soul singer and a guitar-playing rocker, Brasher is a master storyteller, weaving retro-inspired sounds with the influence of her multi-ethnic upbringing into her music. “By nature, I’m mixed. That’s been my whole life – having to reconcile two different cultures, or the religious and secular world, or the different genres that have all influenced me.” Let Liz Brasher take you to church by watching her Jam in the Van performance of “Blood of the Lamb.”
2. Louise Page
With sounds that will make you think of Regina Spektor and Lana Del Ray, Louise Page is an impressive vocalist and pianist. But what makes her even more interesting is how she uses her music as a way to bridge gaps and give the underrepresented a voice. “I am deeply interested in using music as a way to bring communities together. If there is a cause that helps disadvantaged communities – queer folx, POC, women, the homeless – music, specifically live shows, can be a way to bring light and love to that cause and that community in an exuberant and accessible way.” With passion unparalleled and a voice to match, listening to Page is the perfect soundtrack for your mood swing listening pleasures. Jam out to one of her 2019 songs “Future Runaway Bride” below.
3. Alicja Trout
From Lost Sounds to River City Tanlines to Sweet Knives to Alicja Pop, Alicja Trout has been creating some of the defining sounds of Memphis music since the 90s. The good news for Memphis music lovers is that she’s nowhere near done. The guitarist, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is making new music and repping Memphis on stages across the country. In 2019 she toured with Sweet Knives and became a resident artist at Crosstown Arts. “Music is like meditating with my hands on instruments, waiting to see where they take me. My lyrics come from thoughts that have been swirling in my head in confusion as if a little brain monkey is teasing me. Finally, she can’t resist organizing my thoughts into a nice packaged daydream or soundscape. I’ve been addicted to this cathartic satisfaction since I began.” Hear her rock out with Sweet Knives and enjoy this video for “I DON’T WANNA DIE,” and then go on a sonic journey through her many projects over on Spotify.
4. Talibah Safiya
If you’re looking to vibe out or maybe even get a little in your feelings, Talibah Safiya is the soundtrack you need. A soul singer born and raised here in Memphis, she uses minimal but impactful instrumentation paired with moving visuals to create a listening experience unlike any other that is sure to bewitch. “I grew up in a house where we listened to a lot of music as a means of lifting us up from our circumstances. Everybody uses music as healing, and for me, I recognized at a young age the necessity for music in my life.” Most recently she toured the country with A Deep Water Sound – an experience that took her on the road coast to coast, playing intimate shows that created a one of a kind, exported Memphis experience. Experience the dark and light in heartbreak by listening to her song “Healing Creek” below.
5. Marcella Simien
Daughter of two-time Grammy award winning Zydeco artist Terrance Simien, music runs in Marcella Simien’s blood. And you might think that she would ride the wave of her family’s success, but Marcella has blazed her own trail and made a name for herself here in Memphis and beyond. “A lot of my words come from journals I’ve carried with me since I was 14. I started writing songs when I was 12 in an attempt to try and keep up with an imagination that was always running away from me. It’s still like that now, in a way.” A multi-talented artist, Marcella moved to Memphis from her hometown of Lafayette, La., to study at Memphis College of Art, but she found a home in the music scene. Described as a living testament that soul music is alive and well, Marcella is an accordion-wielding powerhouse of spunk and full-bodied sound. Catch the vibe by watching her Jam in the Van session below.