The women who inspire our favourite female artists

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We asked our favourite artists to talk about theirs.

For International Women's Day in 2017, we asked a bunch of brilliant artists from around the world to tell us about the women who have inspired them most as musicians throughout their lives.

We've pulled together a selection of the tributes - and the accompanying music - below. 

Julia Jacklin on Fiona Apple

This was the first song I learned to play on an instrument. I used to play it at an Open Mic night every week in Glebe at the Excelsior, which has recently been turned into an apartment building, unfortunately.

She’s just one of my favourite songwriters, and I think this song is just a beautiful picture of what it’s like to fall out of love with someone. 

Gwenno on Trish Keenan (Broadcast)

My favourite lyric of all time is by Trish Keenan of Broadcast and it’s from the song ‘Look Outside’ from the album The Noise Made By People. And it’s ‘I look outside wherever I go, you are there, you colour in the everyday’.

All lyrics written by Trish Keenan I think are incredible, because the music is so layered, it sort of creeps up on you really slowly, and it’s only after listening to the music over and over that you actually get a sense of how complex and… there’s something about the way that Trish writes as well that is in the everyday.

‘Tears in the Typing Pool’ is another song of hers I really love. And it’s sort of making the everyday into something quite magical, but also something quite personal and personable. So combining that with the music that they make as well is just magic.

Kellie Lloyd on PJ Harvey

I think she embodies a lot of the things that Patti Smith has with her music, her poetry, her persona, she’s a strong woman in a world and she’s absolutely amazing. 

Summer Flake on Terrible Truths

This next track, ‘Don Juan’ by Terrible Truths and they’re a band from Adelaide and they’re amazing. I would’ve seen them when Stacey and Rani played in different bands back in the day when they were babies.

Adelaide’s kind of got that nice thing of everyone swapping instruments and filling in. I actually played drums in Terrible Truths for one gig. It was probably their worst gig ever, because I can only really play mid-paced and they’re pretty tight. 

Deradoorian on Chelsea Wolfe

I’ve known her since I was a teenager. We grew up in the same music scene in Northern California, and it’s been great seeing her progress over all the years, musically, and get the attention that she deserves.

I like how she stays true to herself and her roots musically, she’s very diverse actually, but has found a way to connect all those diverse tastes into one. She really liked R&B growing up, and you can really hear that this folk influence in there, and then just all aspects of metal and drone and things like that to make her own sound with with incredible voice on top of it all. 

Natalie Prass on Gal Costa

Gal Costa totally changed the way that I view singing. She has such control and beauty to her voice, but it’s also really aggressive. It’s feminine but it’s aggressive. She doesn’t mind making growling noises and kind of screaming into the mic, and she uses a lot of delay so that it’s psychedelic sounding and she’s just incredible. And hopefully one day I’ll get to meet her. 

Sally Seltmann on Courtney Barnett

‘Depreston’ is one of my favourite songs of hers for many reasons.

I love it when people sort of make up new words, like Depreston – mixing depression and Preston – and also I lived in Melbourne in my youth, and every time I hear that song I just get kind of transported.

I had this great moment of listening to this song – I recently got back from living in LA and I was living in Silverlake and we had heaps of fleas in our house, and not because we have a cat or dog but because we have coyotes in the area. And I was like ‘God, I’ve gotta drive to the hardware store to get more flea bombs’.

‘Depreston’ came on and I was just driving to the hardware store to get the flea bombs just listening to this song thinking ‘this is just such a beautiful moment’ and it just felt like such a right time to listen to a song like that.

I just love it, she’s an incredible lyricist and songwriter.

Ngaiire on Erykah Badu

One of the artists that I aligned myself to when I was a young artist growing up is Erykah Badu. I loved that she was an individual from the get go, I mean she’s been doing it for about 20 years.

Everything that she’s done has been ‘her’ and for an artist that’s always been toying with doing so many different genres all at one time, I found great power and strength in the fact that she didn’t care about what anyone else thought of what she was doing. She was just running her own race. That, to me, is boss and that’s the type of artist that I aspire to be.

Holly Throsby on Patti Smith

One of the women who’s inspired me is Patti Smith, because I love the way she works between different mediums as a poet and a musician. I really love her books, especially Just Kids, and that inspired me in some ways to write a book of my own.