International Women's Day 2017 - ISM picks

To celebrate International Women's Day 2017, read about the female artists that inspire the ISM staff team. 

P J Harvey

Chosen by Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive

Chosen because...

'...she is simply fantastic; individual and an inspiration.'

Ella Fitzgerald

Chosen by Ruth McPherson, Marketing Manager

Chosen because... 

'... her voice is beautiful, flexible and timeless and she made a huge impact on me at an early age. She collaborated with some of the greatest artists of her day, changed the musical landscape and attracted very diverse audiences from around the world.

Dame Evelyn Glennie

Chosen by Kirsten Peter, Membership Officer

Chosen because...

'...her talent shows that music is accessible for anyone to excel at, given enough determination and hard work.'

Édith Piaf

Chosen by Stephanie Collier, Executive Assistant and Office Manager

Chosen because...

.'..she has a very unique voice which portrays the plight of her life.'

Amy Winehouse

Chosen by Caroline Aldred, Head of Members Fund Operations

Chosen because...

'...of her voice and her vulnerabilities.'

Kate Bush

Chosen by Richard Hill, Head of Marketing

Chosen because...

'...she has achieved huge commercial success without compromising on her wonderful exploration of musical creativity; she’s never sold out. A real enigma, she stepped away from the popstar lifestyle and earned the respect of the some of the most influential and acclaimed artists on the planet with whom she continues to collaborate, creating songs that have taken us from Wuthering Heights to 78 decimal places of pi to washing machines…'

Nina Simone

Chosen by Chris Evans

Chosen because...

',,,she was perhaps one of the most outspoken artists of her era on civil rights, massively influential and emotional music. You can’t not listen to her music without immediately becoming entranced by her voice.'

Dolly Parton

Chosen by Derin Adebiyi, Public Affairs Officer

Chosen because...

'...she came from absolutely nothing to become a global icon, phenomenal songwriter who built a theme park to provide jobs and income to her local community.'

Annie Lennox 

Chosen by Kim Davenport Gee, Head of Publications & Events

Chosen because...

'... she has long been an inspiration to me, even more so when I saw her featured on ‘Who do you think you are’ – so humble and grounded. Not only one of the finest musical voices and songwriters of our time (with over 80 million record sales to date and winner of countless awards), but also a campaigner, activist, innovator and tireless in her charity work.'

Alicia Keys

Chosen by Sabrina Taylor, Head of Finance

Chosen because...

'... she has an amazing voice and an excellent performer, and isn’t conforming to the media pressure on celebrities looking a certain way. She has generally been make up free for a while now, embracing her natural beauty.'

Laurie Anderson

Chosen by Rebecca Gleave, Marketing Manager

Chosen because...

'... was classically trained as a violinist but went then went in a totally different direction and has been incredibly influential in the pop, electronic, experimental, avant-garde and classical music worlds. She pioneered many techniques which are used in electronic music today and she invented new instruments and introduced lots of new electric violin techniques. She has broken so much new ground by embracing technological developments and shaping them to advance the musical language…in the face of scepticism and criticism.  I think one of the things I really admire about her is her bravery to go against tradition and convention and find new ways of communicating through music even when those ways were not always popular amongst the establishment. Her creative and adventurous approach to music is so inspiring, she’s everything I love about modern music.'

Lady Gaga 

Chosen by Francesca Treadaway, Communications Manager

Chosen because...

'... love her or loathe her (I think she's fantastic) Lady Gaga cannot be accused of being anything less than original, authentic and innovative. Always gives 110% and never ceases to bring something new.

Roxanna Panufnik

Chosen by Henry Vann, Head of External Affairs

Tina Turner

Chosen by Simone Braithwaite, Legal Advisor

Chosen because...

'... of the legend that she is! Tina has broken the world record for the largest paying audience at a solo concert 184,000 people in Rio. She's also listed in the Guinness Book of Records for selling more concert tickets than any solo performer in history. She has sold around 200 million records. Now that’s inspirational!'


Chosen by Lavina Daryanani

Chosen because...

'...she wrote an entire essay on gender equality after the Shriver Report found that 42 million women in the United States are either living in poverty or are on the brink of living in poverty. She said…

"Humanity requires both men and women, and we are equally important and need one another. So why are we viewed as less than equal? These old attitudes are drilled into us from the very beginning. We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible."'

Natalie Weiss

Chosen by Helen George

Chosen because...

'...Natalie was an American Idol season 4 semi-finalist, and soon became extremely well known for her Youtube videos. She is now a Broadway leading lady has toured internationally teaching & doing solo concerts. Her voice is incredible and she is an inspiration to all singers. You must listen!'