In Earshot: Up-and-coming women in music

Grace Pearson-Thompson, Arcade Editor

Maybe it’s my enneagram type — four, if you were wondering — but I pride myself on being the person my friends go to for music recommendations. I anxiously await my Discover Weekly playlist to update, and I spend hours finding new artists each week. From indestructible lyricism to thoughtfully complex production, here are my favorite women in music on the rise. 

Trousdale is a folk-pop trio formed by Quinn D’Andrea, Georgia Greene and Lauren Jones. Their first release came out in 2020 — a beautiful rendition of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by The Beach Boys — and it’s garnered over two million streams since then, forming a solid foundation to release original music.

Trousdale released their most recent EP, “What Happiness Is,” last year and contrasts well with their earlier and slower EP, “Look Around.” Each song is delightfully distinct, but all of them are intricately written and have complex vocal arrangements. My favorites are “Happy Anymore” and “Always, Joni.” Greene, a member of Trousdale, has quite the solo career of her own, having performed “Favorite Crime” alongside Olivia Rodrigo. Check out her song “Have You Thought About Me with Somebody Else.” 

Dora Jar started releasing music in 2021 and hit the ground running with the lead single, “Scab Song,” from her most recent EP, “comfortably in pain.” The first comparison that comes to mind is Remi Wolf for sad people who need more neural stimulation than The Smiths

Jar’s music features a lot of complex production elements and modulations, similar to Remi Wolf’s work. Check out “Tiger Face” for a more upbeat song, or “Lagoon” if you’re looking for something easier-going. 

Isabel Pless gained traction on TikTok for her honest and poetic songwriting, amassing over 100,000 followers this year. Pless is completing her undergraduate studies in linguistics in Massachusetts but hails from Vermont. She carries the wanderlusty nature traditional of her home state into her music, earning placement on many of Spotify’s editorial playlists. 

I found Pless’ music through her song “Eldest Daughter,” which I immediately sent to my co-editor, Holly Haney, so we could be “back on our eldest daughter bulls–-” together. I adore Pless’ two most recent singles, “Bechdel Test” and “More to Give.” 

Chappell Roan found immense success from her 2020 single, “Pink Pony Club,” complete with bright synthesizers and emotional powerhouse vocals. Roan, one of the openers for Olivia Rodrigo’s SOUR tour, took a two-year hiatus after releasing “California” in 2020. 

Having been dropped from her label, Roan navigated the world of independent releases by storm with the release of “Naked in Manhattan” this year. At over 500,000 streams just three weeks after it came out, “Naked in Manhattan” marks a new era for Roan’s music career. 

Wallice’s grand debut in 2020, “Punching Bag,” was nothing short of grand, sitting at over five million streams on Spotify alone. Wallice went on to release “23,” a hard-hitter that talks about wanting to grow up but being scared to do so. Later in 2021 came her debut EP entitled “Off the Rails” with a feature from fellow indie artist, marinelli. This year, she secured the opening spot on Still Woozy’s tour, coming to New Orleans’ Joy Theater on May 19

Susannah Joffe, a native of Austin, Texas, has been performing and gaining momentum in the city’s homegrown music scene since she was 16. Now finishing her undergraduate degree in film from University of Texas at Austin, Joffe has been releasing music her entire college career — how she balances that is beyond me. 

I found her through her song “Backseat,” but loved “My California,” where Joffe recalls a trip to California with someone she loves, but the trip was canceled due to wildfires. Joffe released her first EP, “The Punch,” this year and will be performing at Austin’s South By Southwest Music Festival this month. 

Rachael Jenkins initially gained traction for her forthright songwriting, spanning topics from religious trauma to emotional abuse. Her career began with the release of “untitled” in 2021, making for a very successful debut at over one million streams. Jenkins’ subsequent releases, “I Don’t Know” and “Allergy Season,” were received with similar acclaim, praising her strong and sobering lyricism. This year clearly has much in store for Jenkins: already, she was featured on Samia’s cover of “Born on a Train” by The Magnetic Fields

Carol Ades found success in songwriting — having written for pop legends like Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez  — but struck gold releasing frank and intricate tunes under her own name. Amid writing for “WILD: A Musical Becoming,” a new musical following youth fighting for climate change, Ades released her debut EP, “Through.” She addresses gut-wrenching subjects in her songs, from life after trauma to self-growth. The entire EP is worth a listen, but my favorites are “Crying During Sex” and the titular track, “Through.” 

Leave a Comment