6 Female Artists That Have Revolutionized the Modern Music Industry

While society slowly starts to crawl from the “man’s world” that it has been stuck in for centuries, women have been breaking the glass ceiling all around the world–pioneering the way for other women to follow in their footsteps. One area of the world where women are still underrepresented, however, is within the music industry. While many women have held top artist positions for significant lengths of time, billboard.com cites that in 2021, a mere 21.3% of Billboard’s Hot 100 Year-End artists were women. Despite these low numbers, there are many modern female artists who have revolutionized the female legacy in the music industry and continue to do so today.


1. Beyonce 

Beyoncé is the highest  overall Grammy awarded artist to date. With 32 trophies under her belt, Beyoncé has won music recognition not only with the former girl group, Destiny’s Child, and famous rapper husband Jay-Z but during her solo career as well. Beyonce’s successful career has been chock full of songs about romance, breakups, family and female empowerment. Beyonce, along with her most famous songs, such as “Run the World (Girls),” has provided a role model and an empowering song for women around the world. 


2. Taylor Swift 

Since age 14, Taylor Swift amassed fame and has continued to not only maintain relevance but grow in popularity, since her debut in 2006. Swift is considered a pop-music icon, as she has overcome not only an acceptance speech interruption from controversial artist Kanye West but also has re-recorded two of her studio albums in order to regain control of her masters and usage rights. Swift’s “Taylor’s Version,” albums, since release, have inspired women to fight for their right to be self-made stars within the industry. Swift is one of few female artists to win the Album of the Year, and the first woman to receive the award three times, for “Fearless,” “1989,”  and “Folklore.” All three albums that have won the Album of the Year award at the Grammy’s have also been co-produced by Swift herself. 

3. Adele 

Adele is one of the most well-known female artists across many different groups. She surpassed just single-generation superiority and is well-known across a wide range of ages nowadays. Adele is the 4th most Grammy-awarded female in the music industry, and her impressive vocal range and specific style of singing make her one of the most impressive women in music to date. Growing up in England, Adele has made a name for herself across many different countries. 

4. SZA 

At 33 years old, SZA’s sophomore album “SOS” is the first female R&B album to spend its first month on the billboard chart at #1 since 1993. Less than 10 female artists made Billboard’s top 50 R&B/Hip-Hop artists Year-End chart, with SZA being one of five women to make the top 20. Despite the fact that she’s only released two albums, both albums have been extremely successful, featuring a wide variety of other artists such as Travis Scott and Phoebe Bridgers. 

5. Rihanna

Rihanna’s talent in the music industry, coupled with her successful business endeavors makes her a pioneer of the modern era. Not only does she have nine Grammy awards, but Rihanna’s billion-dollar makeup company, Fenty Beauty, represents that women can have it all. Many popular male artists have also created successful businesses alongside their successful careers, such as Kanye West and his brand “Yeezy,” but not many women in the music industry have done the same. And alongside the fact that Rihanna has a successful music and business career, she has also starred in famous movies such as “Ocean’s 8” and “Battleship.” 

6. Cardi B

With one of the most inspiring stories in the industry, Hip-Hop/Rap’s Cardi B amassed a large number of fans back in 2016, and then truly blew up with the release of the single “Bodak Yellow” in 2017.  Cardi B probably has one of the most humble beginnings in music, and after growing up in New York with a bad relationship with her parents, she was still able to make a name for herself as well as build a successful career. Cardi B’s importance in the music industry comes not only from her success but from the message she promotes. She is open about her past, admitting to being an ex-gang member as well as being in sex work, but she’s never shameful of it. Cardi B empowers other women by being honest about her past, and all she had to do to get where she currently is in life.

While many women have held and still hold successful careers in the music industry, it is essential to recognize the large deficiency of non-male artists, as well as to acknowledge the many women, like the five listed above, who have gone above and beyond in their industries to make names for themselves.