5 Female Artists You Don’t Want to Miss at Coachella 2016

Featured Image by Amanda Silberling

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival returns to Indio, California this year for two weekends of ‘round the clock musical performances. While this year’s roster may be more female-centric than last, it still indefensibly boasts a largely male-dominated lineup, mostly accentuated by its three headliners Guns N’ Roses, LCD Soundsystem, and Calvin Harris. This year’s festival has made improvements to last year’s meager offerings by adding female-fronted acts to the top of the lineup with names like Ellie Goulding, The Kills, CHVRVHES, Halsey, Sia, and Beach House featured on the second line for each of the festival’s six days.

Whether their names are pronounced in 16-point font or buried beneath the top three rows of the lineup, here are my picks for some of the female artists you should check out at this year’s Coachella.

1. Mavis Staples

One of my favorite announcements was that of 76 year-old R&B and Gospel legend, Mavis Staples, whose name is insufficiently buried in the fine print. Staples is off to a great 2016 with the release of her new full-length Livin’ on a High Note, for which she’s enlisted the likes of M. Ward, (producer) and collaborators Nick Cave, Bon Iver, Neko Case, Aloe Blacc, and Philly native, Son Little. Staples discussed the unparalleled advantages of musical collaboration in a recent statement, saying: “I’ve been singing my freedom songs and I wanted to stretch out and sing some songs that were new…I want to leave something to lift people up; I’m s busy making people cry, not from sadness, but I’m always telling a part of history that brought us down and I’m trying to bring us back up.”

2. Beach House

Sure, Beach House is only 50% female but, rest assured, the alluring sound put forth by vocalist and keyboardist, Victoria Legrand, is the stuff of dreams. The duo’s fifth studio album, Depression Cherry, was released last August, immediately earning acclaim as the new standard for dream pop in 2015. Wholeheartedly entrancing, Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand manage to marry winsome vocals with seemingly displaced percussion, creating an entirely dream-like album that you definitely want to stay awake for.

3. Ibeyi

French-Cuban twin sisters, Lisa-Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz, known as Ibeyi, make their Coachella debut this year after the release of their self-titled debut album in July. An under-appreciated collection of songs written in both English and Yoruba, the Nigerian language spoken by the sisters’ ancestors, Ibeyi is a fiercely soulful expression of sound. There is little in the way of percussion or anchoring chords; most of the arrangements appear skeletal, allowing for Lisa-Kaindé’s sultry vocals to fill an empty space, echoing with great tenacity. With rhythmic, yet lyrical songs like “River,” Ibeyi has earned the attention and endorsements of such stars as Beyoncé, and things only look to be getting better for the twins in 2016.

4. Courtney Barnett

The Australian singer-songwriter came out of the gate strong on 2015. With only two EPs under her belt, Barnett released Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, a half-spoken album that seems to simply jam to Barnett’s thoughts and her perceived thoughts of those around her. Perhaps what’s most lovable about Courtney Barnett is her apparent lack of hidden agenda; Barnett has nothing to prove that she hasn’t already. She’s a storyteller for those of us tired of hearing the same old story, and that’s enough to make me watch her perform over and over.

5. Meg Myers

After a couple of years spent bridging the fine line between pop star and rocker, Meg Myers has finally managed to entwine her Fiona Apple-esque persona into an entirely original artist. Myers is just the right amount volatile on her debut album Sorry, where her voice absolutely pummels every one of her victims—and rightfully so. Myers is a force of nature as she aims to de-sexify notions of women in music with her wild, whipping melodies and unrelenting lyrics.

If you do decide to trek out to the West Coast, who are YOUR picks for Coachella this year? Tell us in the comments below! 

1 Comment

  1. Lauren Silvestri

    April 13, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    I would love to see Beach House!! Too bad there’s no chance of me heading to Coachella this year.

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