Lady Gaga will make history as female headliner at Coachella
NEW YORK, (AP): Lady Gaga will history when she performs at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts festival this weekend, marking a decade since a solo woman has been billed as a headliner on the prestigious musical stage.
Beyonce had been slated to headline the festival in Indio, California, but backed out because she’s pregnant with twins. Bjork was the last solo female to headline Coachella in 2007, so it begs the question: Why has it taken so long?
Women have always performed at Coachella, which began Friday, since it was launched in 1999. In the last few years the number of female performers has grown, including acts that blend alternative and pop, such as Sia and Tegan & Sara, to mega genre-mashers like M.I.A., Janelle Monae and Santigold.
Coachella is known as the festival for cool kids — and musicians. That leaves little to no room for acts that dominate Top 40 radio, where women have a strong presence, from Katy Perry to Rihanna.
Halsey, the Grammy-nominated singer who is readying her second alternative album and had one of last year’s biggest pop hits with “Closer” alongside the Chainsmokers, performed at Coachella last year. The 22-year-old said women who perform alternative music are often billed as pop artists because of their sex.
“Festivals like Coachella, they pride themselves on being part of the counterculture, being tastemakers, upholding themselves to a certain standard of the artists that they include, and I think one of the problems is that female artists are so often tainted as pop artists even when they don’t necessarily intend to be,” Halsey said.
“Female artists can put out the same style of a record as a male artist and when a male artist does it, it has a certain type of dignity, it has a certain type of edge … as soon as a woman puts out a record of the same caliber, it’s immediately filed as a pop record no matter what.”
(Recording artist Lady Gaga performs at halftime during Super Bowl LI between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)