By Erin Caine 
Senior Writer

Even though we’re only about three months into 2018, we’ve already seen a number of noteworthy albums drop this year, such as releases from Camila Cabello, Fall Out Boy, Justin Timberlake, and Stone Temple Pilots. The end of March and the entirety of April promise not only more great music in the coming weeks, but new albums from rising and prominent female musical artists. Though women in the industry have always been pioneers forging ahead, setting new standards, and modifying musical genre as we know it, rarely do they get the recognition they deserve­—and the widespread outrage the Grammys Awards stirred up in January are a clear sign of that. For the sake of remedying that, below is a list of a few of the upcoming releases from female artists this year:

1. “Dirty Computer,” Janelle Monáe. Monáe—not only a singer and songwriter but also a rapper, producer, actress, and model—seems to genuinely do it all, and do it in her own distinctive style.

Late April’s “Dirty Computer” is set to be her third studio album since her acclaimed 2010 debut, “The ArchAndroid.”

Her blend of funk, psychedelic soul, and R&B in her music has garnered her comparisons to the likes of Lauryn Hill, Prince, and Annie Lennox, and yet Monáe has remained utterly original and constantly ambitious throughout her career. Two singles from “Dirty Computer,” “Make Me Feel,” and “Django Jane,” were released simultaneously in February. “Feel” has garnered attention for addressing Monáe’s bisexuality, whereas “Django” is her anthem celebrating black womanhood.

2. “Primal Heart,” Kimbra. New Zealand singer Kimbra’s third studio album, “Primal Heart,” was slated for January, but that date had to be pushed to later in April. For her 2012 collaboration with Gotye in “Somebody That I Used to Know,” she became the third New Zealander in history to win a Grammy—in fact, she won two Grammys that night.)

In addition, Rolling Stone officially named her the “One to Watch” in their 2012 awards. Four singles have been released from the upcoming album so far, including “Everybody Knows” and, most recently, the vulnerable, subdued “Version of Me.” Kimbra is known for her combination of R&B, electronica, indie rock, and other genres, and has been compared to the likes of alternative icons Björk and Florence and the Machine.

3. “Expectations,” Hayley Kiyoko. Though she began her career primarily as an actress, acting in movies like “Lemonade Mouth” and the TV series “The Fosters,” by 2013 Kiyoko had turned to writing and releasing music. Her second extended play, 2015’s “This Side of Paradise,” featured one of her most popular and defining songs to date, “Girls Like Girls.”

Not only is Kiyoko’s music and style exuberant and colorfully charismatic, but she’s also one of very few musical artists, especially in pop music, who explicitly discusses same-sex attraction and lesbian identity in her lyrics.

Many fans see her as a role model and someone they feel represents them in a way that not very many other artists do—up there with the likes of other contemporary LGBTQ artists Troye Sivan, Sam Smith, and Mary Lambert.

The Elm

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