By Kierstin Belden (@rlnovagirl)
When it comes to EDM and music in general, it seems as though it is an industry dominated by men. Some of the most well known artists that come to mind when talking about the scene include names like Kaskade, Skrillex, Porter, Excision, Illenium, etc. While all of these guys are certainly talented, it’s important to remember that there are also a lot of female producers/DJs who have contributed just as much to electronic music. These talented women deserve recognition for all of the work and dedication that they put into their production and sets. Not only are these women DJs, they are also: vocalists, mental health advocates, non-profit donors, mothers, radio hosts, gamers, college graduates, label founders, fashion designers, and role models. The list could go on forever and it’s really impressive to hear about all that they overcome and accomplish on the daily. Without further ado, here are twenty female producers that I think you should know about if you don’t already:
One of the bigger artists of recent years, Alison Wonderland has steadily gained a mass following and has secured main stage slots at some of the biggest festivals in the world. The Australian DJ is best known for her trap beats and her tendency to wear oversized t-shirts. In addition to producing, she sings and plays instruments on her tracks as well as on stage.
Another big name from Australia, Anna Lunoe has been an important figure in the scene for years. She has collaborations with numerous producers and has been an inspiration for aspiring female artists. Anna’s upbeat style of house is extremely fun to listen and dance to. She’s even continued to perform late into her pregnancies, which I find super impressive!
If you’re a fan of techno, then you’ve probably heard of Charlotte de Witte. Charlotte started out as a DJ in her teens so she has faced adversity for being young as well as being a woman. In interviews she discusses how she loves the simplicity of techno, which is reflected in the style of her music. She recently expanded her radio station, KNTXT, into a label to showcase both her own music as well as others in the techno scene.
(CloZee, Berkeley Greek Theatre, my photo)
One of my favorite artists, CloZee is generally considered to be “world bass” as she fuses sounds from various cultures into her music. The combination of bass and instruments like the erhu and Chinese zither make her music sound trippy and unique.
CRAY started out mixing trap but her original songs have more of an indie pop sound to them. Her debut EP, seasons change and so do i, is a dark and emotional album that she has described as being very personal to her. In addition to being a musician, CRAY is an avid gamer with a large Twitch viewership and a crazy sense of mismatched fashion.
DUCKY makes everything ranging from lighthearted pop to heavy dubstep. She began playing in Bay Area clubs as a teenager, using fake IDs to get in. She’s also pretty open about the mental health issues that she continues to struggle with on her social media platforms.
(Episcool, Sactown Sports Bar, my photo)
An artist that I just recently discovered and really enjoy goes by the name Episcool (pronounced EP is cool). She makes experimental trap that has some really awesome beats and is the co-founder of (SUS) Collective, a brand that aims to bring underground trap artists to the spotlight.
Both a singer as well as a DJ, GG makes music that ranges from melodic future bass to heavier trap and dubstep. She’s signed to the Deadbeats label and has worked with many big names in bass music such as Zeds Dead, NGHTMRE, and Jauz.
Another female trap artist to keep an eye on is KITTENS, whose music is a lot heavier than her name implies. She puts out songs that have an insistent hip-hop sound. KITTENS also hosts PWR, a series of workshops dedicated to helping women who want to learn how to become DJs. All of the proceeds from her workshops are donated to local women’s shelters or LGBT centers.
You’ve more than likely heard a Krewella song if you’ve been listening to EDM for the past few years (one of the most well known is Alive). Krewella consists of two sisters and they’ve made quite a name for themselves since their first EP was released in 2012. Their most recent album, Zer0, came out a few months ago. In contrast to their earlier stuff, Zer0 is more experimental and features a variety of sounds such as house, moombahton, grunge, and trap.
(LSDream, Lucii & Liquid Stranger, Cornerstone Berkeley, my photo)
Often referred to as Lucii the Alien, she makes bass that is both heavy and psychedelic. Lucii does all of her own vocals, which can be charged with emotion like on her new track with Champagne Drip, Me and You. She was the first woman to sign to and release on Liquid Stranger’s increasingly popular Wakaan label.
Not one to conform to genres, Mija has sounds that vary from bass to indie. In recent years, she has transitioned from mixing to producing more intimate songs on which she sings. She also has her own fashion line called Made by Mija.
Another sister duo, NERVO is huge name in the EDM scene. Their upbeat, progressive house sets are an enjoyable experience. They’ve written and produced for artists from all music genres and have played some of the biggest festivals around the world. Last year, they both gave birth to baby girls only a few weeks apart!
(Nifra b2b Fisherman, The Midway SF, my photo)
When it comes to trance, Nifra is one of the most well known female DJs/producers. She makes melodic, progressive trance and hosts the radio show Be Progressed on Afterhours.fm. Nifra has received a lot of support and guidance from Markus Schulz and is signed to his label, Coldharbour Recordings.
Nina started as a host on the Australian radio station Triple J before she learned how to DJ from her good friend, Anna Lunoe. Her music incorporates a lot of tribal sounds and instruments, giving it a worldly feel. She toured with many big names in EDM (like Flume) before deciding to focus on her own music and label, NLV Records. Nina also co-founded Heaps Decent, a non-profit that supports youth who aspire to become musicians.
Being both Swiss and South African has had a significant impact on Nora En Pure and the way that she relates to music. Her melodic and instrumental deep house evokes feelings of serenity and relaxation. She is the founder of Purified Records, which initially started as a radio show on Sirius XM.
REZZ, affectionately known as “Space Mom” by her fans, is probably one of the most popular producers out there right now. She has gained quite the cult following with her mid-tempo bass and trippy goggles. She has releases on prominent labels such as Mau5trap and OWSLA and has been on the lineups of some of the biggest festivals around the world.
An up and coming artist, ROSSY tends to make melodic future bass and trap. She originally planned on working behind the scenes in the music industry before discovering her passion for producing and mixing. ROSSY is the vocalist on some of her own tracks.
It’s hard to classify TOKiMONSTA as a specific genre but in general people refer to her music as electronica or trip-hop. She has worked with a number of artists including Skrillex, Anderson Paak, and Flying Lotus. TOKiMONSTA has had to overcome living with a rare brain disease called Moyamoya, which has influenced her art. Her most recent album, Oasis Nocturno, was released a few weeks ago.
“Dark bass” is often how people refer to the style produced by Whipped Cream. As a child she wanted to be a professional figure skater but after dealing with injuries and discovering her love for festivals, she decided to pursue a career in music. Whipped Cream has had to deal with both physical and mental roadblocks regarding her profession, so I really admire how hard she’s worked to get to where she is now.
Although this isn’t a complete list of every female DJ out there, it includes some of my favorites. The women of EDM deserve credit for all that they give to this community. Hopefully as time moves forward, it won’t be uncommon to see more and more of them on festival lineups!