Today is International Women's Day, when societies reflect on the accomplishments and contributions of females around the globe throughout history. It's also a time to think about the many remaining challenges in the struggle for respect, equality, and safety.
The women's movement has gained media attention this year in the wake of marches, the takedown of abusive powerful men through the Me Too movement, and Hollywood's Time's Up campaign. Grassroots activists have advocated for vulnerable women, and there are plenty of organizations to support locally.
It's easy to overlook the artistic contributions of women in one's own community. Miami is stacked with talented songwriters, singers, and musicians. Here's a rundown of some of the city's most impressive musos.
1. Native Youth. Gabriela Guerrero, better known as Native Youth, was well on her way to success as a DJ two years ago when she pumped the brakes to sing R&B instead. "I didn't find the passion in producing EDM. I didn't want to be just a DJ," she said of her decision to shift to a singing career. Two albums later, her collaborations with producers Kaixen and Triangles have created substantial buzz on influential national music blogs, and last year the Kaixen track "Wasting My Time," on which Native Youth sang with fellow buzz-worthy singer Dvwez, was chosen as one of New Times' 20 best Miami songs of 2017. Not bad for career plan B.
2. Dama Vicke. She's a vivid songwriter, engrossing storyteller, and powerful singer, but Dama Vicke's videos are the most arresting element of her artistry. Her alternative, femme-fatale aesthetic is an essential part of her music videos for the song "Sola" and the title track off her EP Point of Inflection. A documentary about Vicke was recently recognized by FilmGate Miami's Women Directors Edition of I'm Not Gonna Move to L.A., an advocacy group. The featured mini-documentary, directed by Carla Forte, follows Vicke's return to her native Mexico City, where she reunites with childhood friends and plays with her band live in the capital city for the first time. Her upcoming projects include more live shows in the United States and Mexico and another EP.
3. Savannah Cristina. "Don't play no more games/I got the crown," Savannah Cristina sing on her latest track, "Florida Boy." It's a lit, bouncing booty jam, and though Cristina tears it down on the homegrown track, she truly shines when she lets her buttery-smooth vocals soar and linger over jazzy R&B beats like that of the sultry come-on "Afro," off her latest EP, Mango Season. The tracks reveal two sides of a versatile poet and artist who fits right alongside heavyweights of the current neo-R&B renaissance such as Solange Knowles and Khalid. Cristina is one SoundCloud upload away from being discovered as the genre's next great voice.
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4. Michelle Grand. The band Ex Norwegian has been a part of the Miami music scene for a decade, and though its lineup has included a revolving cast of musical contributors over the years, singer-songwriter Michelle Grand has played a co-leading role in the project throughout its tenure. Grand's rich vocals add a soulful counterweight to Ex Norwegian's freewheeling rock 'n' roll ethos. She complements co-lead Roger Houdaille, but her own vocals pack a powerful punch when she takes the lead. She recently told New Times she contents herself as a musician by writing and recording songs and playing the occasional live gig. But if you've ever had the privilege of listening to her sing, you're likely waiting eagerly for that next show.
5. Megan Morrison. She's a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, model, and... fire dancer? That's right — even Morrison's talents have hidden talents. The quintuple threat was formally trained in operatic singing and has a background in musical theater, but she channeled those skills into singing in the glam-rock outfit Dorothy's Surrender and, more recently, co-fronting with former pastor Pedro Garcia the soul-stirring band Revlover. Morrison has also appeared as a fire dancer in music videos by Pitbull and Elvis Crespo and onstage with pop singer Jessie J.