Indie musicians of color

was just thinking about how insanely white popular indie music is and thought we should start a list to shine more light on indie musicians of color. this is extremely unexhaustive so pls add more

Brittany Howard - Alabama Shakes 

Chaz Bundick - Tori y Moi 

Natasha Khan - Bat For Lashes 

Tahliah Debrett Barnett - FKA Twigs

Al Spx - Cold Specks 

Karen Lee Orzolek - Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Karen O 

Neo Jessica Joshua- NAO

Rostam Batmanglij - Vampire Weekend, Rostam

Juan Wauters - Juan Wauters, The Beets 


The Kim Sisters [1] was a South Korean female trio who made their career in U.S. during 1950s and 60s. They were Sue (Sook-ja), Aija (Ai-ja) and their cousin Mia Kim.[2]. Sue and Aija were two of seven children of Kim Hae-song, a classical music conductor, and Lee Nan-young, one of Korea’s most famous singers before the Korean War, perhaps best known for “the Tears of Mokpo.” Mia’s father was Lee Bong-ryong, a musician as well.

The sisters arrived in Las VegasNevada in 1959 and first performed at the Thunderbird Hotel, where producer Tom Ball did a show with Asian artists. Their successful performances at the Thunderbird led them to the Stardust where Ed Sullivan saw the trio and invited the sisters to perform on his show. The sisters performed on the Ed Sullivan show more than 22 times.


During the summer of 2014, singer/songwriter Aimee Lin, otherwise known as Kissing Fractures, released her album lost self. The Maryland native and now photography student at the Pratt Institute gracefully captures the vulnerability, clumsiness, and innocence in growing into oneself. Lin’s acoustic guitar and milky voice effortlessly captures snapshots of a suburban summer, one filled with bruised knees, cotton candy skies, sweet kisses, heartbreak, and the struggle of what it means to simply be.  

With lyrics like, “I pretended to be okay for a year so I wouldn’t be alone,” from the opening track, “tired talking,” Lin gently unfolds the page of what feels like a letter from a longtime lover. Every line is unapologetically honest and harmoniously stitched together. Lin simply wraps up the feeling of youth itself through dreamy, honey-soaked vocals and uncomplicated chords on her guitar.

Listen to lost self, along with Aimee’s other releases, at her bandcamp.

My partner is an excellent sight singer but his rhythm sucks. I was trained as a violinist and have great rhythm but my sight singing sucks. I am female. He is male. Choir director needs a percussionist for maracas and clave. He hands my partner the maracas and teaches him a complicated rhythm. I offer to play the clave since it’s a basic rhythm and he says “you’re a soprano I don’t trust your rhythm.” No one ends up playing the clave.

On another piece I offer to play the hand drum. He shows me how to play it and gives me a simple pattern: quarter eighth eighth quarter eighth eighth. No further instructions. There’s miscommunication in how he wants it played and he micromanages me, pointing out my mistakes when I wasn’t given good instructions. 

In performance, I play it fine. Meanwhile my partner fucks up the maracas.

VMAs Whitewashed & Ignored LGBT* Artists – Who To Listen To Instead

There’s no question that the VMAs whitewashed and ignored LGBT* musicians and artists. So we asked our staff and readers on social media to contribute some of their favorite musicians the VMAs or mainstream media ignore who you should be listening to. Please add your favorites in the comments!

See the artists on Feminspire!

No Vacation is an indie pop duo consisting of Sabrina Mai and Basil Saleh. Based out of San Fransisco, No Vacation has released an album, mixtape, along with various tracks that are reminiscent of the romance and energy of long summer drives. What started out as a dorm room collaboration has led to the establishment of a notable duo in the indie pop scene. 

No Vacation’s Bandcamp and Soundcloud



The Sphinx Symphony Orchestra is a professional orchestra comprised of professional Black and Latino musicians from around the country.  Members are past and current musicians from other leading orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles philharmonic,  Met Opera Orchestra, etc. Members are also faculty members from various schools such as the New England Conservatory, Peabody Conservatory, Harlem School of the Arts, etc.  

The Sphinx Symphony Orchestra is a part of the much larger Sphinx Organization which was founded by Dr. Aaron P. Dworkin in 1998 which initially began as the Sphinx Competition, a competition for young black and latino string players.  The Sphinx Organization is a national non-profit Organization in Detroit, Michigan who’s goal, according to their website is to “transform lives through the power of diversity in the arts.”

The Sphinx Organization is also home to other performing groups such as the Sphinx Virtuosi, the Harlem String Quartet, and the Catalyst String Quartet.

For more information about the Sphinx Symphony and Organization their website is


Lightning Bug is the moniker of New York-based musician Audrey Kang, who started out playing music with her group of best friends as part of a personal, private project. She eventually chose to release the music she made online, and although she lacks presence on social media, she managed to gain a small yet loyal following through her Soundcloud and Bandcamp profiles. In late January, she released Floaters, her first full-length album, and a few days later, played her first show as Lightning Bug at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn. With Floaters, Kang experiments with a number of genres, including dream pop (”Lullaby No. 2″, “Gaslit”), shoegaze (”Luminous Veil”), and noise pop (”Labyrinth Song”). She even sneaks in a short, classically-inspired piano solo (”The Sparrow”) and an acoustic-guitar driven track (“Real Love”). Despite the variation in style throughout, Floaters still feels cohesive– largely due to the combination of the softness of Kang’s voice and the atmospheric qualities of the soundscapes that she and her friends create. 


“In your arms” by Kina Grannis

The video is really cute, well-made, and I think made of jelly beans?  (Jelly Belly is mentioned in the credits!)