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10 Underrated Songs Powered by Female Artists and Why You Should Listen

music & podcasts

Fri, August 11

We possibly live in the most historical era for women in music as countless remarkable women take over the music industry. While plenty dominate the world with hits off the Hot 100, there are plenty of female artists who've created captivating tracks that just haven't made it big yet. Nonetheless, just because they haven't found huge mainstream success doesn't automatically mean they don't have what it takes to command audiences.

Comprised below is a list of female musicians who've found their voices that revolve around 10 songs. This article serves as a celebration for these bright, underappreciated women and their immeasurable monument to music.

1. Lovegod - Sarah Kinsley

Starting strong, we have the immensely beautiful and splendid sound of Sarah Kinsley. Coming from a life led by music, it makes sense why Sarah's musical career has taken off. Sarah had trained in classical piano since her formative years, a powerful skill that paid off later on when she started making music. She then studied musical theory at Columbia University, and she now lives in New York City, making audibly stunning songs, most of which she produced and wrote herself.

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Sarah's first taste of viral stardom was when her song, The King, first blew up on Tik Tok, the single off of her 2021 EP with the same title. I have been a fan of Sarah for over two years now, and if you've heard The King EP, then you already know how Sarah's music sounds. I would describe her music as ethereal soundscapes that suck the air out of your lungs and spit it out into the earth's atmosphere where it's lost in space, floating forever.

It's not just the production that sucks people into the worlds Sarah creates, but her storytelling lyrics reel you in until you can't help but hit repeat to catch details you missed before. Not to mention, she produces and writes most, if not all, of her songs. It's an important job that Sarah has continued to express, as there is a lack of female producers in the industry. To narrow down one singular track in Sarah's discography to recommend is beyond impossible, but for a heavy reason, the track I've chosen is her single Lovegod off of Ascension.

With the release of her newest project, Ascension, released in June of this year, Sarah's sound has gotten even more atmospheric, as if you ascend upon soaking in the unique sparkly productions and lyrics that beg to satisfy the listener for how genius her writing truly is; her insane vocals wrap you around in circles that make you feel lost, but the beauty that is Sarah Kinsley's sound makes the experience forgiving for how truly devastating her music is. It's not just the synths or the clever rhythm she curates, it's the emotion behind it all. Lovegod especially reflects this idea; a storylike song, and as the title suggests, is a plea to a Love-God to send someone to "close the mountain inside" and "kiss away the forces in my mind" as Sarah sings.

It almost comes across as desperation; the production is very mystical and fairytale-like as if she is casting a love spell. Any Sarah Kinsley song has its own story and depth-- however, what they all have in common are the clever lyrics. Sarah never fails to curate a beautiful story that leaves you wanting more. Her music is a cinematic retelling of the tragedy that leaves you withered and cold, and Lovegod is no exception.

I can't and won't ever stop recommending Sarah's music to people because of how undervalued she is, in the eyes of the industry. She has gotten praise for The King, but not enough to respectfully captivate her endless talent. The day that everyone knows Sarah Kinsley's name is the day when I can finally rest, but until that day, I will be streaming her music while waiting for her voice to be heard by millions. Stream Lovegod and the entirety of Ascension on streaming platforms now and check out her Tik Tok as well!

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Sarah Kinsley (@sarahkinsleyd) • Instagram photos and videos

2. 1972 - Matilda Marigolds

Another young and talented artist from New York City is Matilda Marigolds. Also known as 'NYC'S #1 Cowgirl', the singer-songwriter is no stranger to music, having learned drums, ukulele, and guitar as a child. Matilda first appeared on my Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify, featuring her track Time 2 Go. Before this discovery, I hadn't heard of Matilda nor her music, but since listening and re-listening to her entire discography (which is just nine songs), I feel I have uncovered a (Mari)gold mine.

She describes her sound as "the space between Phoebe Bridgers and Fiona Apple", as stated on her website biography, and I wholeheartedly agree. Upon first listening to her latest single, 1972, I was quick to spot the relationship between her music and Phoebe Bridgers'.

Matilda's dreamy melancholic guitar, mixed with vocals that hailed every bit of emotional devastation in her voice-- all in just 4 minutes. To pack that much brilliance in such little time is a feat only a few artists can do cohesively, so to rope Matilda into the same category as Phoebe Bridgers, and even at moments, Jeff Buckley, given her captivating live performances, especially after 1972, is a very deserving label.

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The title of 1972 suggests the feeling as if knowing someone since the year 1972, and now, I feel as though Matilda Marigolds' music has lived beyond life with me. As if her songs echo a soundtrack to every high and low I've felt, even after just discovering her not long ago.

Her voice is comforting, similar to a warm blanket wrapped around me, consuming every bit of my heart, even during the points where she belts during 1972, even up until the end of the verses that string you along her own emotions until finishing off with the line "I don't know what to do", a simple but profound end to a tragically mesmerizing song that I can't stop listening to.

The song itself was recorded live at Audiotree in Chicago, Illinois, giving the song a raw sound with just Matilda and her guitar. The creative choices during this recording create an isolating feeling, a vulnerable state given the simplicity. Though Matilda's soft delivery of her writing strings you along a retelling she's created, a story that just needs her and her guitar.

The lack of other elements doesn't make the worth of it weak, instead, I think it truly shows how far Matilda can go as an artist. In a world where music is so accessible to create, it's easy to get carried away in the production even when the writing lacks, but what Matilda was able to accomplish in 1972, is prove that all anyone needs is a guitar and a voice yearning to be understood.

I could go on and on about how beautiful Matilda Marigolds' musical technique is, but I don't think my words are enough to represent her pure ability to create timeless songs. All I can suggest would be to just listen to 1972 and her eight other astounding songs so you can also feel as though you've uncovered your very own (mari)gold mine.

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Matilda Good Margolis (@matildamarigolds) • Instagram photos and videos

3. Girl Named Sue - the Dawns

An up-and-coming girl band from Auckland, New Zealand, The Dawns. Comprised of Mila (vocals), Georgia (guitar), Imogen (bass), and Elliott (drums), are four friends who started their band six years ago and have been jamming out ever since.

Finding their covers of bands like The Cure on Youtube, I was instantly inspired to see a talented group of individuals who possess early talent with prospective years to follow. Impressed by their 2020 single, Oblivious, first reeled me into their own music. An edgy, rich song with an unforgettable guitar riff/solo about defying an oblivious boy listening to the song while not realizing it's about him.

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Girl Named Sue takes on a different tone compared to Oblivious, a more indie-surf type of song, a perfect song for the beach. Even just shy of two years since their first-ever public release, their musical composition abilities have sky-rocketed. Even just their own elements morph into one sounds as if they've been making music longer than just six years of being a band.

The lyrics are catchy, describing a girl named Sue that seems to be the girl of everyone's dreams. As the lyrics suggest, she, "makes heads turn just by walking in the room", one of the many snappy phrases that carry the song along with a sweet guitar riff that almost acts as vocals on its own. The talents of all the members equally balance the nature of their music, each bringing their own unique talents to the table while creating music that is enjoyable for their audience but for them as well. Seeing young artists enjoying what they love will always be a proud thing to see.

Check out their Youtube to binge their covers and stream Girl Named Sue on streaming platforms now!

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The Dawns (@_thedawns) • Instagram photos and videos

4. crash on the couch - Faith Zapata

One of my personal favorite artists on this list is the one and only, Faith Zapata. She appeared on my For You page on Tik Tok with her viral cover of Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus, though sung in the style of Phoebe Bridgers. After going viral, Faith released a recorded version titled, Party in the Alps, which remains one of my favourite covers ever.

From the Bay Area in California, Faith records and produces her own music in her bedroom, being solely an independent artist. Despite these factors, she continues to deliver immensely splendid songs packed full of lyrics of imagery.

Her newest release this year, crash on the couch, is a first-hand example of the gift that Faith continues to give. The soft, sweet, gentleness of her voice in every song is a familiar relief that compliments her acoustic guitar. In songs like crash on the couch, she uses her guitar as a drum beat as well, chucking the strings, creating a seamless sound to her already beautifully ruinous voice.

The lyrics themselves shine brightly on their own, and in my opinion, one of her best-written songs to this date. With lines such as, "I understand now when they say that absence makes the heart grow fonder // but distance does the trick as well" followed by direct, yet clever wordplay like, "You're a soft summer rain // the left side to my right brain". With these lyrics, I assume that the song is about falling for someone while being long-distance, though the interpretation is left for the listener to decide amongst themselves. However, I think classifying this song as the anthem for long-distance partnerships is very telling because of the lyrical elements.

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Anyone who's endured a long-distance relationship is familiar with the sense of falling rather fast for the other person, the distance itself lifting the barrier of time, causing partnerships to feel like they could last forever. Though distance is a clear dealbreaker for some, distance also acts as an excuse to allow yourself to fall.

The distance makes meeting at the end worth all the desperation, all the time waiting, all the scenarios made-up before going to bed-- it makes it mean something. Without the distance, there isn't a sense of pining for the other, but with this song, Faith was able, to sum up the wistful desires, shaping a poetic demonstration that suggests that distance is worth all the trouble it brings.

I could be entirely wrong with my interpretation of the song, but I think that's what's so great about music is that, in the end, it is all up for interpretation. Even if I'm entirely wrong, Faith's music still hits a nerve in me so intensely that I've created my assumption of what it could/can be about, and that's what I enjoy when listening to music, but especially crash on the couch.

The song makes me want to fall in love and makes me want to have the same ache in my heart for another person, an effect I find myself feeling when listening to Faith. Her craft is the embodiment of a bright beacon of hope, and a testament to true love and all its wondrous endeavours that consume you whole.

Make sure to have a tissue box near when you stream crash on the couch and the rest of Faith Zapata's recordings anywhere you stream music and take a look at her Tik Tok too for more covers!

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faith zapata (@faithzap) • Instagram photos and videos

5. Another Seventeen - Florence Road

The rising band out of Ireland, Florence Road, are made up of four members: Lily Aron (vocals), Ailbhe (bass), Hannah Kelly (drums), and Emma Brandon (guitar). First meeting at school, the teenagers created their band, named after the street their school was on, Florence Road. They first blew up on Tik Tok after performing a cover of Olivia Rodrigo's Good 4 U in their school cafeteria. After the video blew up, they grew a dedicated fanbase online, showing consistent support for their various covers and snippets of new music coming soon.

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Like others, I found the band on Tik Tok and was in awe of the captivating performance they held at their school, but was also pleased to hear that their sound is just as cohesive on recording as it is live with their only song out at the moment, Another Seventeen. The group were able to record their debut in a professional studio after winning a competition that granted them the opportunity.

They've also had the incredible opportunity to open for bands such as The Academic and Paddy Casey, fellow Irish musicians, but along with that, they've performed at their gigs which have brought more on-stage experience as well.

Now, being a seventeen-year-old myself, I find the lyrics to the song entirely relatable. The lines suggest not knowing what you're doing with your life while also feeling like an idiot trying to navigate the in-between of childhood and adulthood, but making it a repeatable song that I can't stop myself from humming everywhere I go. I think, especially, Lily's vocals possess a grittiness to the track that compliments the percussive indie drums and raw guitar.

Even being able to distinguish the bass lines that jump out of the song, all while implementing creative riffs that keep the song on your toes. I think what Florence Road can do with their sound is create an independent, modern record, yet also resemble the 2000s indie-rock sound that The Cranberries and The Sundays had that defined the indie genre of that generation.

I hope that as their music grows, the nostalgic factor they bring to the table is a piece of their puzzle that remains, but even so, I can't wait for the next release by Flo Ro. For now, I'll be singing about being seventeen even long after I've passed that age.

Check out Florence Road's Instagram for new releases and if you live in Ireland, see if they're performing at a venue near you and swing by their Tik Tok to check out their covers!

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florence road (@florence.road) • Instagram photos and videos

6. Anywhere - Unflirt

Christine, known online as Unflirt, has been a new face for bedroom pop since she first started making music in 2020. Despite the early stages of her music career, she's performed shows with beabadoobee, another well-known former bedroom-indie artist also based in London. Now, Unflirt has released her EP, Bitter Sweet.

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Producing melancholic melodies, Unflirt's ability to hold the ear of a listener with her delicate voice and catchy musical output with each of her songs makes her stand out of the genre. Having just released her debut EP, Bitter Sweet, earlier this April, Unflirt brings along a different sound from her former quarantine days where she released popular songs such as, Crush, a staple in the indie bedroom-pop genre. With the drop of this EP, it sounds as though Unflirt left behind the 2020 sound and welcomed a more mature voice, a voice I adore completely.

Bitter Sweet is made up of four songs, including one deserving of some spotlight, Anywhere. With elements that hint at her former tour buddy, beabadoobee, this song serves as a powerful breakthrough a talented artist like Unflirt possesses. I think it says a lot about the differences in her music from 2020 to 2023, the maturity in sound in just shy of three years.

I really enjoy Anywhere not only because the chorus sounds audibly unique from her other songs, it still has that raw, dreamy factor that's within her discography. Though she sounds different, it still sounds like an Unflirt song. That's what I like when it comes to artists switching up their sound, from people like Taylor Swift going from country to pop, or Clairo from bedroom-pop to indie-rock, those artists still keep their voices consistent. Being able to pull off this action can be difficult, but I believe Unflirt did this seamlessly with Bitter Sweet. Anywhere remains a favourite of mine because it's simply beautiful. The guitar, her voice, and the production elements just tie the entire song together and turn it into a slow-rock headbanger just making the song perfect in my eyes.

Just hearing her voice brings me back to simpler times in quarantine, a time I'm sure folks from this generation miss every now and then despite the isolation. Check out Bitter Sweet anywhere you stream music, and follow Unflirt on Instagram and Tik Tok to stay up to date with tour dates and new releases!

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christine <3 (@unflirt) • Instagram photos and videos

7. Same Place Again - Patricia Lalor

Patricia Lalor is another talented musician out of Ireland, first gaining viral attention in 2019 after uploading covers on Youtube, such as Hozier's Cherry Wine and I Don't Know You by The Marías, which acquired millions of views for the intimate and personal renditions Patricia brought with just her and her guitar. Getting so much attention that even the lead singer of The Marías, Maria herself, commented on her video to show her love and support for the budding artist.

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In the past four years, Patricia's released her own music. Three EPs, Actually (2019), This is How We Connect, While You Stand So Tall (2020), and Covers (2020) which feature some of her most popular covers from her channel, not to mention a handful of singles as well. Though out of all the songs Patricia has, the one that deserves the spotlight is Same Place Again off of This is How We Connect, While You Stand So Tall.

The song reminds me of an endless time loop, the musical components by itself reflecting this idea as the same guitar riff is played through the entirety of the song. Also, Patricia reused the phrase 'again', which reinforces this concept of a never-ending spiral. The lyrics make it seem like she's reflecting on simpler times, while also reminiscing on a person that was once in her inner circle, one that she knows she won't ever see again.

Towards the end of the song, a sound that sounds robotic bounces from each ear (if you listen with earbuds) encapsulates you in this feeling of being stuck in a loop, dwindling into a spiral. I think overall it's a genius song that drowns you in this sombre feeling. Having this song be the least streamed song off this particular EP is crazy because I feel it's addicting to listen to, just by pointing out the hidden details alone.

Even though Patricia hasn't released any new music since 2021, she posts pretty regularly on Instagram. Usually snippets of new music or covers, but either way, Patricia Lalor is a promising young artist that's worth keeping track of. Check out Patricia's Youtube, and Instagram, and stream her music on a streaming platform of your choice!

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Patricia (@patricialalor_) • Instagram photos and videos

8. All At Once - Kaleah Lee

Gaining Tik Tok attention for her beautiful covers of Gracie Abrams' songs due to her strikingly similar voice to the aforementioned, Kaleah Lee resides as one of the many vocally stunning artists mentioned on this list. Even with comparisons to Gracie Abrams, Kaleah remains an individual artist that is more than just the covers she performs; she makes her own music as well.

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All At Once is Kaleah's newest single, released earlier this year in March. This song especially reflects Kaleah's storytelling ability when it comes to songwriting. Describing moments of diving in the ocean and the anxieties that come with it, sinking or swimming.

Turning mundane moments into beautifully poetic imagery that has tattooed the inner part of my brain, not to mention her vocals. The almost shakiness that's present in her songs, reels me in because the lyrics she sings represent the emotion within her voice. You can feel her singing, which sounds silly, but that's what it is. You can feel the emotion, the pain behind every element in the song and just feel her voice entirely. It's just a piece of what I respect about Kaleah's music. To be able to convey your pain in a song is difficult, and my hat is off to her because she can do this with every song, every cover she's ever made. It's painfully devastating music, really, but that's what makes it so good. All At Once is a perfectly orchestrated depiction of this truth. I would compare it to songs like The Archer by Taylor Swift, given how the whole song feels like a buildup for the beat to drop, but there isn't one. Songs like theirs represent my anxiety at least, so to be able to listen to songs that validate my feelings is refreshing, and I'm more than sure this is a relatable truth for many.

If you're a fan of Gracie Abrams or lyricism like Taylor Swift's, then you have to listen to Kaleah Lee, or at least All at Once, which is available on streaming services now. Follow Kaleah on Instagram and check out her Tik Tok as well to watch her amazing covers!

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Kaleah Lee (@kaleahlee) • Instagram photos and videos

9. Cowboy Gangster Politician - Goldie Boutilier

Canadian-born singer-songwriter Goldie Boutilier is up next, creating songs that evoke memories from the past by creating the historical sound of the Golden Ages of the 50s and 60s. Her aesthetic follows this formula as well, reminiscent of Old Hollywood Glamour. Goldie has found success in the industry by working with big names, but after parting ways with former management, she's had to find her way back to music and, luckily, she has.

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Goldie Boutilier released her sole EP in 2022, Cowboy Gangster Politician, finding the most success with the song of the same name. Cowboy Gangster Politician is all around a phenomenal song in my opinion. It has the perfect blend of Western twang with Goldie's vintage sound that I can't get enough of.

The lyrics are also just unbelievably catchy, like, "Every saint's a sinner, we all have our past // forever is a fiction, nothing lasts." I mean, the storytelling that's in this song is addicting. Goldie hits the nail at painting this story while incorporating a production that perfectly reflects the lyrics. I can just picture a setting in the late 1800s out in the West, riding a horse away from the law. It makes me want to be a cowboy, truly.

Her voice is also just pure silk. While it sounds familiar, it's also entirely unique, forever laminating her individuality within her music, which also just completes her look too. The cinematic glam aesthetic that Goldie Boutilier embodies is just another factor that I adore about her.

Not to mention, this EP is just the beginning of Goldie's journey. Her full-length album, Emerald Year, is expected to be released sometime this year, which I am very excited about. The mark of this album and these new songs are a giant step for Goldie and her music career given her past, and I could not be more proud of her return. Being a new fan, I can't wait for the album and will be listening to her EP until then.

Listen to Goldie's EP on streaming platforms and keep an eye on her Instagram as well for updates on her full-length album coming hopefully soon!

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goldie 👸🏼 (@yunggoldilox) • Instagram photos and videos

10. Limerence - Ava Maybee

Many are familiar with the name Ava Maybee on their television screens after her charming journey on American Idol, but after being eliminated after making the Top 14, Ava has proven that she is more than just a contestant on the famed show, she's become her own artist.

I was first introduced to Ava's song, Colors after a video of her concert appeared on my Tik Tok. I was immediately attracted to her stage presence. The way she takes control of the stage while performing was just so fun to watch.

Also, Colors is just a fantastic song in general. Being a huge fan of the artist, Benee, Ava reminded me so much of her, not just her music but also her personality. Ava radiates positive, colourful, bright energy that is admirable. Her sense of style is just marvelling and so individual to her and the music she makes, Limerence being no exception.

Photo by Serina Epperson

Ava's stunning alto voice is the star of her most recent single, Limerence, a quality of Ava's that's not highlighted as much in her previous hits. The song itself is audibly different compared to her other songs, a taste of the range Ava is capable of. I'd always known of Ava's vocal abilities, but Limerence shows the heap of talents she has.

While the song starts slowly with a sweet guitar lick but then builds into a full-on alternative-rock headbanger, a side of Ava I haven't ever heard. To be honest, I didn't expect that from her, but I'm glad I know now because wow. The way that she's able to transition to such a different sound when compared to songs like Colors or See Me Now, proves how far Ava can go with her voice. I honestly can't get enough of Limerence, it's a song everyone needs to hear. You may or may not have been like me and had to Google what Limerence meant, but now knowing what it means, it changes the meaning of the song for me now, especially with lyrics like, "'Cause I know you're looking for forever, I'm just looking for someone to want." Her voice characterized by the difference between love and limerence throughout the song really drives it home. The question I find myself asking after re-listening to Ava's discography is, what can't she do?

Honestly, I feel so lucky to watch Ava grow as an artist and gain more traction with her platform because she possesses every quality that makes a great artist. Crossing my fingers for an album release date or the next single to drop because Ava Maybee may be the next voice stuck in everyone's heads. Stream Limerence and check out Ava's socials like Instagram and Tik Tok for music updates and outfit inspo!

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Ava Maybee (@avamaybee) • Instagram photos and videos

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To Sum it up...

It is evident that the realm of music is blessed with an abundance of remarkably talented female artists whose artistry and contributions often remain overlooked or underestimated, and I hope that this list has served its purpose by inviting you into a whole new world of talented musicians. As we celebrate these trailblazing women and their exceptional musical prowess, it becomes apparent that recognition and appreciation of their work are long overdue.

We must amplify their voices and shine a brighter spotlight on their songs, for in doing so, we enrich not only the tapestry of music but also our own lives by embracing a diverse and inclusive musical landscape. We can collectively continue to shine a spotlight on these artists by streaming their music and following them on all social media platforms so their voices are forever heard by an audience.

Serena Hinahon
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Writer since Jun, 2023 · 4 published articles

Serena Hinahon (they/them) is an 18 year old high school senior living in Austin, Texas. Serena loves all things music and film, and loves playing the guitar and drums in their free time. Serena hopes to become a full-time author/writer after graduating high school, and to travel the world.