Remember Lilith Fair? Founded by Canadian singer Sarah McLachlan, the music festival championed female musicians from the more popular ones like Lisa Loeb, Fiona Apple, Cristina Aguilera, Jewel, and Sheryl Crow to cult favorites like Juliana Hatfield, Cibo Matto and Aimee Mann. But as McLachlan’s popularity waned, Lilith Fair lasted only a rather short-lived three years.

About five years since then, a lot of outstanding female singers have cropped up, a lot of them garnering religious indie following, their music very well diverse. Here are five musicians that definitely deserve a spot in a modern-day Lilith Fair – should there be one. Some of them may just turn out to be as durable like PJ Harvey (artistically, too, like Bjork) or become pop darlings like Sheryl Crow. Or maybe, some might earn a short-lived turn at the spotlight. Remember Leona Naess?


Feist (real name: Leslie Feist). Her song Mushaboom made her more accessible thanks to that Lacoste commercial. While she sings some of her songs in French, she’s actually from Canada. But she’s now based in Paris, where she recorded her second album Let It Die (from which Mushaboom is taken). Apparently, she’s popular in France but she’s also lent her voice as a member of Canada’s indie supergroup Broken Social Scene. She’s done collaborations as well with US indie acts like Bright Eyes and Postal Service. Her music incorporates a bit of jazz, bossanova and indie-pop together with her sultry voice. She’s not bad-looking either.


Cat Power (real name: Chan Marshall). Notorious for her chaotic, heavily booze-influenced live performances, her music incorporates elements of jazz accompanying her wispy, smoky country-style voice. Her most recent album The Greatest (which should not be mistaken for a “greatest hits” compilation) garnered her popular acclaim after hovering around the music scene in the States since a decade ago. In that album (which was actually released locally), she was backed up by some of the most talented jazz musicians in the US. Outside of music, she’s captivated designers with her rock-chick cool and is rumored to be courted by Wong-Kar Wai for his next movie. Is she rock music’s Kate Moss?

Joan as Policewoman (real name: Joan Wasser). She’s been referred to as the Dusty Springfield of today’s indie rock generation and in Real Life, the opening song to her band’s similarly titled album, which made it to a number of best-of lists for 2006, her voice drifts softly alongside the spare chords of her piano, quite like that guy from Antony and the Johnsons (who actually does a duet with her in the album). She has had a stint playing violin for 90’s indie rock band Dambuilders and has played multiple instruments alongside more renowned performers such as Lou Reed, Elton John, Sheryl Crow, Rufus Wainwright, Scissor Sisters and yes, Antony and the Johnsons, which speaks of not only her talent but her genre-bending musicianship. But what could be her better claim to fame: she was the one-time lover of Jeff Buckley, who drowned in a tragic accident while they were together.

Joanne Newsom. Listening to Joanna Newsom’s music feels like listening to a Medieval fairy tale. Her main instrument of choice is the harp and her music incorporates elements of Appalachian music (traditional Irish, Scottish folk music). Her voice has been described as child-like, even amusingly compared to Lisa Simpson. After her 2004 debut album The Milk-Eyed Mender, she quickly became part of America’s new-folk movement alongside the likes of Neutral Milk Hotel and Devendra Banhart. Her next album Ys (pronounced ay-is) released last year earn for her heaps of praise, featuring only five songs but each clocking no less than seven minutes. Steve Albini – famous for helping produce Nirvana and Pixies, among other cult artists – also helped produce Newsom’s recent album, helping popularize further the resurgence of folk as a genre.

Regina Spektor. Hip-hop and piano? Quite an odd combination, really. But Russian-born Regina Spektor somehow manages to combine the two. In Fidelity – first single from her 2006 album Begin To Hope and probably her most famous song to date – she mouths words in a voice that’s half-singing, half-warbling. A lot of the songs in that album incorporate beat-box rhythms mixed with traditional instruments like piano and guitar or sung a capella. Regina Spektor has toured with more popular acts like The Strokes but her popularity remains largely confined to the US. But her catchy melodies deserve a lot of listening, even to hip-hop fans.
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