5 Musical Artists Giving Us Life Right Now

three women dance with their arms lifted above their heads against the blue sky

Spring is blooming, the sun is out, and summer is on its way! Here are some of my favorite artists right now; join me in listening while we wait for shorts weather to arrive (and, you know, while we also wait for Dolly’s Rock ‘N Roll album):

1. Mary J. Blige

In my completely unsolicited opinion, Mary J. Blige won this year’s absolutely epic Super Bowl Halftime Show. I’ve had Good Morning Gorgeous–the song and the album–on repeat ever since.

Mary’s album is what I call Grown Woman Music (see also: 30 by Adele). The wisdom laced through the lyrics isn’t fall-in-love pop; it’s hard-won, I’m-in-therapy-and-choosing-myself music. And it is gorgeous.

2. Yendry

Yendry is an Afro-Latina artist from the Dominican by way of Italy and her voice is absolutely beyond, whether she’s singing in Spanish or English or whether she’s composing pop, reggaeton, flamenco, R&B or all of the above (and more).

As a Black girl growing up in Italy, Yendry had to learn early in life how to make sense of global issues like forced migration, domestic violence, and colorism.

“At first,” says Yendry, “you just want to make music because that’s your passion, but then you realize that you are impacting people…A lot of young, Dominican girls have told me they're proud to have someone who looks like them, who they can relate to, and who represents them and not just the industry I operate in.”

3. Lennon Stella

My little sister introduced me to Lennon Stella, who just so happened to write the cover song for How I Met Your Father. For those of you who don’t know, it’s the spinoff to How I Met Your Mother, which my husband and I watched on DVD when I was pregnant with our first baby. (He’s about to turn eleven and I’m feeling sentimental!)

Lennon also just released a cover of Dido’s Thank You, and while I never expected to love a cover of Thank You as much as I do the original, Lennon is proof that creativity knows no bounds. Plus, her wistful, sunny vocals are summer in a song.

4. Elton John

Elton is making his way across the globe on his farewell tour (can somebody take me please?) and my kids and I are making our way through his extensive collection of hits.

Sir John is so, so talented and my kids love him as much as I do, which makes me unspeakably happy.

5. Aretha

Aretha’s not new to anybody here but I didn’t know a lot about her until I watched Respect.

That last scene in the movie, when the real Aretha shrugs off her furs and belts out her truth from the stage, a true diva in every sense of the word? Chills.

Sarah Guerrero
Sarah Guerrero is a freelance writer and contributor to Slow North. She has a degree in international business from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, and writes about sustainable business practices and ethical living.