Staff Picks: celebrating female selectors on International Women’s Day
Whether the current collective zeitgeist recognizes it yet or not, the future of dance music is absolutely female. And it’s about damned time. While it is no secret that dance music has been, and largely still is, dominated by males, in the beginning of this new decade there has been no shortage of incredibly bright, determined, and talented female torch carriers emerge. Now, as women make tsunami-sized waves across the industry, dance music’s scales feel like they are balancing in the right direction.
From crafting unique sonic landscapes to being the vocal bedrocks of the scene’s most iconic works, women have continuously helped shape dance music from a niche interest to a globally fledging musical culture with a constantly growing reach. Though there is still a lot of balancing to be done, on International Women’s Day, Dancing Astronaut celebrates just a handful of the female DJs/producers and vocalists who’ve kept our staff moving as of late.
Words by Farrell Sweeney
JVNA first came onto the scene around 2016, when she gained a social media following and began making her presence known on Twitch. Already embarking on multiple tours early in her career, the future bass sensation has a long-spanning vocation ahead of her.
JVNA’s music is cinematic to its core, and her ability to fuse a heavy hitting drop with enthralling vocals always makes for a compelling listening experience.
Featured image: Insomniac
Words by Sami Weisband
Exploding onto the scene in 2015, Mollie Collins hit the drum ‘n’ bass circuit running. Now a critically acclaimed presence in the dance space, Collins launched her own imprint in 2019, Right Good Records, and continues to empower more women in drum ‘n’ bass to channel their voices through music.
Mollie’s striking vocals and energetic nuance adds so much dimension to the drum ‘n’ bass world. Her music creates an all-encompassing enjoyment to the listening experience, as evidenced by the three selections spotlit below.
Featured image: Mollie Collins/Instagram
Words by Austria Masim
New kid on the block fknsyd is about to make some serious waves in the scene. With more than 150,000 Spotify listeners and just a few years under her belt, Syd has already mightily solidified her following with her vocals and production, and she’s one of my favorite rising vocalists in the music scene. Her transcendent and mystical vocals transport listeners to other realms as they feel her fiery anguish and emotion. Fans of dance music can expect see her name more frequently in the future.
Featured image: @ramonsview/Instagram
Words by Ross Goldenberg
Anyone who has listened to dance music in the past four or more years has undoubtedly heard RUNN‘s vocals on a track. A mainstay of future bass anthems from the likes of Illenium to Dabin to Nitti Gritti, her enchanting voice has touched lives across the scene, and with her own tracks being released all across 2020, she has shown no signs of slowing down.
I’ve been listening to RUNN’s music nonstop ever since we featured her as our second Supernova in February and wanted to take today to spotlight her again. She’s been one of my favorite vocalists for a few years and makes every single melodic bass track complete.
Featured image: Shutter_Finger
Words by Rachel Narozniak
The music industry would be a fragment of what it is today without the vocal, songwriting, DJ/production, and other creative contributions of women. This is nothing new. However, in 2021, this might be clearer now more than ever before. On the stage and behind the scenes, there are so many women in music who are powerfully impressing their signatures on genres and on the industry at large. This results in a challenge of a good kind: it’s really hard to pick just one to spotlight today.
That said, on International Women’s Day 2021, I’d like to pay tribute to Amy Dowdle, the voice of Lastlings. Though Dowdle’s singing-songwriting and live performance talents—among others—deserve daily recognition, they warrant special attention on a day during which we celebrate women, both in and out of the music industry. In between artistically driving Lastlings’ debut LP, First Contact (November 2020) and most recently, “All We Have” from SG Lewis’ times and a brooding remix of Bob Moses’ “The Blame,” Dowdle has become a fixture of my “On Repeat” Spotify playlists.
Amid her musical activity, Dowdle has also been vocal about unrealistic, often deleterious beauty standards and the role that social media plays in their perpetuation. She’s already a compelling presence in music, and the dance space would certainly be lacking without her.
Featured image: Olivia Repaci
Words by Zach Salafia
Rossy has been making a name for herself for the past half-decade, touring with Krewella and securing a spot not only on Sable Valley’s first livestream but also the label’s debut compilation album Sable Valley Summer Vol. 1. Combining future bass, trap, and classical elements, Rossy’s unique talents are not to be overlooked; her awesome blend of trap and future brings an energy to her music that hits you straight in your soul.
Featured image: Glen Matheny
Words by Jessica Mao
Experimental, unique, free. These are words that come to mind when trying to describe 3l3d3p. While her name clearly stands out, her music goes above and beyond, claiming her own territory amongst a swell of musicians that are apart of the crowd. With only two tracks out on Spotify, the rising star already has nearly 200,000 monthly listeners, and this count is sure to soon skyrocket once she blesses fans with more music.
I love her style 3l3d3p having just two releases. It’s refreshing, bold, and devoid of genre confines. The aesthetic and audio are hyper-glitzy and borderline grotesque. Her music reminds me df the far-edge of the modern internet, and I’m here for it!
Featured image: @fletchershears/Instagram
Words by Sami Weisband
After solidifying herself as one of Dancing Astronaut’s Artists to Watch in 2021, Qrion has continued to take the house and techno scene to new heights, releasing originals across Anjunabeats and spearheading remixes for Apashe, Lane 8, and more.
Qrion has captured my heart this past year. All of her music is so intentional, and as the listener, I can feel what she is trying to convey in just the ambience alone.
Featured image: Doug Van Sant
Words by Chris Stack
At first listen, one might not expect to hear that VVN is such underrated artist. With releases tracking back to 2015, the bass conossieur has only released a handful of songs, all of which are incredibly well-produced and excrutiatingly inventive.
VVN is an artist whose whereabouts can be unearthed from her incisive production skills. Best described as orchestral, heavy bass, the soundsmith’s Buried Alive EP demonstrates a proficiency in arrangement and sound design adjacent to her more highlighted industry counterparts. She’s gained traction online from her heavy remixes of ZHU and NERO‘s “Dreams,” Kill The Noise and Illenium’s “Don’t Give Up On Me,” and REZZ‘s “Witching Hour.”
The Blessed Madonna
Words by Sami Weisband
Although she’s only officially released one original song over the course of her career, Marea Stamper—better known as The Blessed Madonna—remains one of the most prominent producers and activists of this generation, specifically in the house and techno scene. Not only has Stamper been a guiding voice in the industry while working tirelessly to ensure dance music is a welcome home for the LGBTQ community, she’s also solidified her style and sound as one of the most exciting and fresh live performers in the electronic arena. Following Dua Lipa‘s crtitically aclaimed album Future Nostalgia, The Blessed Madonna took the reigns and produced/mixed the remix album, Club Future Nostalgia. Honing her skills since the 1990’s, The Blessed Madonna has a long-spanning career ahead of her.
It’s not so often that a producer’s musical influence is on par with their personal influence. The Blessed Madonna’s music has and continues to inspire me, but the action she takes to ensure the dance community is one of peace and love is something that sticks with me far beyond a radio hit.
Featured image: Aldo Paredes