Far from supporting the fact that “life in plastic is fantastic”, we’ve seen a great opportunity to highlight these female indie artists that are representing this new Barbie world. In case you’ve been living under a rock, today is the release date for “Barbie“, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. But this is not about the movie nor the all-pink Barbie aesthetics. It’s about the underlying message in this movie: nonconformity and deep questioning of one’s existence.
If you landed this post on purpose, we hope to live up to expectations. If not, we hope to create them. Get ready to discover 5 indie artists that have adopted a Barbie aesthetic that combines nostalgia, irony, and subversion – our favorite! The fascinating thing is that each one explores this new world in their own genre through imagery, lyrics, performance, fashion, and a sense of humor.
Our Pick of the 5 Indie Barbies
Here’s our pick of the 5 indie artists that are reinventing the Barbie aesthetics we’ve known so far. We hope to see many more but they are definitely killing it in their own indie genre.
Daisy Gill: The Retro-pop Barbie
Daisy Gill is a singer and songwriter based in Liverpool. If you haven’t seen her perform live, you’ve missed a captivating stage presence. She’s known for her nostalgic pop sound and jaw-dropping vocals. She recently released “New York State of Mind” which is all about fun, love, life, and joy; however, most of her songs evoke a sense of vitality.
In the official video starts we can see Daisy with that unapologetic attitude spending a day out alone in New York.
As for fashion, we can’t help but be reminded of Rosie the Riveter, the female icon in the US who now represents all women workers. It becomes more apparent if we pay attention to the lyrics:
I’ve been working so damn hard
Tryin’ to make a livin’ or make a start
And you let me fall apart
So, now, I’m gonna break your heart
If this is her view on that new Barbie world, we love what she’s seeing!
Rijah: The Funk-pop Barbie
Rijah, born Rijah Banerjee, comes from a family full of musicians. So, it’s no wonder that when the pandemic hit in 2020, she began to produce her own music at home and on her phone! Last year, when she just turned 18, she opened the show for Corgi Spirits in Jersey City. Anyone who saw her live was taken aback by her impressive vocal control and unique fresh style which she admits is inspired by true classics, including Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and Amy Winehouse.
Although it’s “the only one i know” that has attracted the most plays on Spotify, we want to share one of her latest performances of “salt” live.
Pretty amazing. If we dig deeper into the song, we find reflective lyrics and the most vulnerable side of her exposed:
I noticed my thoughts
But only touched the surface
And tryin’ not to dive into the deep end
I’ll do my best to hold my breath
A heartfelt confession to the beat of funk-pop is one of the best soundtracks we can think of for a new Barbie era.
Piwa: The Soul-pop Barbie
Piwa is a truly hypnotizing blend of Afro beats, alternative R&B, and dark pop. She released her first EP “DEAD ENDS” last year which includes one of her most famous tracks today, “No Fun“. But it’s not just her fashion sense or imagery that will demand every bit of your attention. Her vocal range is addictive and will have you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.
Although vibrant, there’s an underlying melancholy throughout that expresses her inner battles with depression:
Another dumb day
Waking to the morning
And the seasons unchanged
Weigh the loss of energy
The weather done faze me
Piwa has managed to turn heads wearing every single color, but pink!
Alicee: The Dream-pop Barbie
If we’re into breathy vocals and echo effects, meet Alicee. This Swedish indie writer was born in Germany and grew up in a trilingual context (Mandarin, German, and English). This young artist, also speaks the language of violin and piano which made her passionate about classic genres including soul, jazz & pop. She released her debut single “Lost” in 2021, and has continued to develop her signature sound since then.
Her most famous track, surpassing 64K plays on Spotify, is without a doubt “The Night Is A Place” (2021).
The success could be the vocals, the overall imagery, or the way the lyrics represent this overall dreamy atmosphere:
The night belongs to the creative ones
Who dream through the day, live in the night
The moons my sun, the stars my birds
In a silver light
The night fulfills dreams while the day craves realness
We’d like to believe that the new world is filled with delicate fairies that spend the night creating music for the rest to enjoy.
Jemzel: The Bedroom-pop Barbie
Jemzel is another self-made indie Barbie. This high school student (yep, that’s right) has written a track with over 100K streams. This creativity comes from a Filippino background, which Jemzel herself describes as a very musical culture. Although her debut single “Epiphany” made her that year’s Unearthed High Class Shakespeare and unlike most stories we hear about marginalized or underrated high school musicians, she has always claimed to feel supported and motivated by her school and classmates.
If we listen carefully to the lyrics of the song we could assume many things: she has a girl crush, she uses this song to come out, or she’s simply a teenager experimenting with her sexuality:
Tame Impala sounds so much better when you’re high
That’s what she said when she asked me for a light
Exhaled some smoke and got lost in her eyes
The truth is that this expression of emotions is done so freely because the world, thankfully is changing. We hope to see more from this young artist and watch as she succeeds in this new Barbie world.
I’m a Barbie Girl in an Indie World: Final Thoughts
The Barbie aesthetic in indie music can be expressed in many different ways – well, that’s the whole point of music – while bringing their own unique perspectives and creative approach to the theme. We can only hope that these indie Barbie aesthetics continue to develop and challenge every aspect of the music industry.