International Women’s Day: Mix tributes to late musical trailblazers
Today is International Women’s Day.
The annual event, which was first celebrated in 1911, focuses on the achievements of women – from the cultural to the political, social and economical. It’s a day to amplify, showcase and spotlight women worldwide. It’s also a day to reflect upon the challenges and struggles faced by women, with gender inequality and a continued lack of representation among them.
We’re celebrating IWD with a three-part crackaud.io series dedicated to late musical trailblazers. From SOPHIE‘s avant-pop through to the samba stylings of Elza Soares and the blistering funk of Betty Davis, these mixes – while not linked by sound, per se – plot a course through the lives and legacies (and catalogues) of three musical trailblazers. Fearless visionaries who were peerless in their respective careers and made vital inroads for generations to come.
The mixes come courtesy of three talented musicians who have been inspired by, or worked with, the aforementioned artists. Abyss X is behind our SOPHIE mix, Lynda Dawn compiled our Elza Soares entry and Priya Ragu helmed our Betty Davis offering. Listen to the mixes below.
Mixed by Abyss X
On 30 January 2021, the world was rocked by the death of SOPHIE.
The Glasgow-born producer was one of a kind. A forward-thinker in every way, SOPHIE united the underground with the mainstream with ease, finesse and boundless creativity, forever changing the face of pop music in the process. In our remembrance essay penned in the wake of SOPHIE’s death, journalist Sean O’Neill described the former Crack Magazine cover star as “one of the most influential, and vital, producers of our time. An artist who was so far ahead that perhaps we’re still catching up”.
SOPHIE vision – and studio time – was shared with an array of artists over the course of one cosmic career. SOPHIE worked with everyone from the PC Music roster and the label’s founder A.G. Cook to Charli XCX, Madonna and Vince Staples. The pop provocateur also linked up with Crete-born interdisciplinary artist and producer Abyss X, remixing the artist’s 2020 track Animosity.
SOPHIE’s remix features in this special tribute mix curated by Abyss X. The mix also features tracks from SOPHIE’s landmark debut album, Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides.
Reflecting on SOPHIE’s legacy, Abyss X says: “Music is an eternal force that gets humanity through its darkest times. SOPHIE knew her music held that power – the power to uplift so many people, and that was SOPHIE’s purpose.”
Mixed by Lynda Dawn
Elza Soares, the legendary samba singer who enjoyed an illustrious, six-decade-spanning career, passed away on 20 January at her home in Rio de Janeiro. Soares was an icon both in her native Brazil and beyond. From her raspy singing style to the 30-plus albums she released over the years via her tireless advocacy of women’s rights and racial justice, Soares dedicated her life to breaking new ground and shaping the future.
London-based singer-songwriter Lynda Dawn is among the plethora of artists who look upon Soares as an inspirational figure. Much like the late icon, Dawn’s own work is a potent fusion of styles and musical expressions, with the artist infusing her releases with notes of R&B, gospel and slow-burning grooves, as well as funk, soul and Brazilian jazz.
“The legendary Elza Soares is one of my all-time favourite singers,” says Dawn. “She embodied female empowerment through her art and her advocacy, and this mix is a celebration of her life and legacy. May she rest in power.”
Mixed by Priya Ragu
Bold, raw and fearless: these are the carding cards of Betty Davis, the late funk pioneer who passed away on 9 February.
Best known for her visionary take on funk that drew from soul and rock, as well as her lascivious stage presence and dazzling wardrobe, Davis was an artist ahead of her time. Her enduring genius can still be felt today, as her style – musical and otherwise – continues to inspire new waves of artists and creatives. Davis’ ownership of her sexuality, both onstage and in song, also laid the blueprint for modern-day musicians.
For this specialist mix, Priya Ragu – the rising star weaving R&B, soul, hip-hop and traditional Tamil folk music into a vibrant new style she’s labelled ‘Ragu Wavy’ – stitches together an exuberant mix built entirely from Betty Davis tracks.
“Sit back and let the sweet tones of Betty Davis roll over you,” says Ragu. “This is my mix dedicated to the legendary lady!”
Head to crackaud.io for more mixes and podcasts.