As we have seen in other monographs, the personality of the authors marking their own musical brand in their words was something very strong in the past. Currently, they give the impression that they are not as successful, but they are still there, making music and adapting their character to new fashions or vice versa, as we will see in our review of Spanish female singers and composers over the years. From the 1950s onwards, we will talk about some of the most famous in the country, but without forgetting some of the current promises that are already giving their all.
Given the nature of each decade and the rules imposed on each one, taking into account the evolution of markets, fashion and the figure of women in the world of music and art in general, the number of female composers and singers in Spain has been increasing over time, being at first a very minority in relation to the number of men. However, we can say that it was in the 60s and 70s, largely coinciding with Bob Dylan’s entry into the folk scene, that similar composers began to emerge in other markets, although each with their own personality and folklore style.
All the Spanish female singers and or singer-songwriters that we will see below are children of their time and as such we must value them, basing ourselves in many cases on the concept of singer-songwriters that we have from the 60’s until now. For example, listening to Cecilia is not the same as listening to Christina Rosenvinge, nor is it like anything singer-songwriters do now. Therefore, in this selection of artists, we are going to discover how the music of the soloists, writers, composers and singers of their own songs evolved, including the lyrics and melody.
Famous Spanish female singers
In the same way we did with French singers and composers, but without making a specific division for female artists and composers, we divided the list into famous Spanish female singer-songwriters and another one for more current names. A review that begins in the 70s with what for us is the first Spanish singer and songwriter, possibly also the most remembered: Cecilia, with the permission of María Ostiz.
Many other famous artists followed careers similar to these, but their main successes are authored by others, so we decided not to include their names here, although they deserve to at least appear named, also for their ability to convey their own personality to all music that passed them by. That goes for singers like Jeanette or Ana Belén, to name just a few, and that’s not to mention influential Latin American voices like Mercedes Sosa or Violeta Parra.
Singer-songwriter María Ostiz, originally from Avilés (Asturias), began her musical career in 1967 with the release of a self-titled album that included the songs No Sabes Como Sufrí or Romance Anónimo. She would later release 10 more albums, ending her career in 1987. Over those 20 years, she left us the famous protest song Un Pueblo Es and the 70s classic N’a Veiriña Do Mar.
Singer-songwriter Mari Trini, remembered for songs like Amores or the vengeful Yo No Soy Esa, remained at the foot of the musical canyon until practically the end of the 20th century, a career that began in the mid-1960s and in which there are more than twenty albums.
Her musical influences of British origin (thanks to her collaborations with filmmaker Nicholas Ray), added to the 5 years she lived in France, made her a famous Spanish singer beyond our borders. So much so that she not only enjoyed success in Spanish-speaking countries and was a leading figure in Spanish music during the Transition, but is also remembered for her acclaimed interpretations in French, in particular Jacques Brel’s classic Ne Me Quitte Pas.
María Del Mar Bonet
Another well-known Spanish singer and songwriter, this time with lyrics in Catalan, is María del Mar Bonet, born in Palma de Mallorca in 1947. In her early days, she was part of the “Nova Cançó” movement, which began in 1967, being yet another member of the famous band Els Setze Jutges.
Some of his first hits were Què volen aquesta gent?, a protest song, and his version of L’Àguila Negra, original by French singer Barbara, which would give his LP, No voldria res més ara, his first album of gold in 1971.
As far as we know, María Del Mar Bonet’s career continues, having released the album Ultramar in 2017, the twenty-fourth of her career.
The ill-fated Cecilia (Eva Sobredo’s artistic name), for many the epitome of a songwriter and singer in Spain, died in a traffic accident in 1976, having 3 albums under her belt, the first published in 1972. Among her greatest successes, we find Tú Y Yo, Dama, Dama, Mi Querida España or Un Ramito De Violetas, also the title of the last album she published before leaving us.
After reviewing some names in music from the 60s and 70s, the truth is that Spain (and much of the world) lacks new names in classical composers and lyricists. Logical, considering that the 1980s produced an almost complete break with the past, except perhaps with the 1950s. Tastes suddenly changed, aesthetics and practically everything evolved into pop and entertainment. However, that doesn’t mean there weren’t still people singing their own songs, obviously.
What perhaps stopped happening so often, although it may not seem like it, is that singer-songwriters were part of bands, and solo artists depended on what others wrote for them. But well, in addition to generalizing, which is always ugly, let’s focus on the great Luz Casal, whose solo career began in the late 70’s, also collaborating in concerts with great rockers of the 80’s, continues to gain strength, with hits like Un Nuevo Día Brillará, Tu Bosque Animado, Rufino, Piensa En Mí, No Me Importa Nada or Entre Mis Recuerdos.
We end the section dedicated to famous Spanish singers with one of the last great names in Spanish music from the 90s, Rosana.
Her musical career in terms of releases began very well in 1996 thanks to the album Lunas Rotas, from which we can extract the singles El Talismán, Si tú No Estás, one of the most famous songs in Spain, and Sin Miedo. All of them, perhaps for a year or two, could be heard practically every morning by anyone listening to the radio, along with other hits by the Argentine band La Mosca Tsé-Tsé.
After these first successes, two years later she released the album Luna Nueva, followed in 2001 by Rosana. From that moment on, her track was lost, among Christmas carols, songs like El Día Que Se Hizo Tarde (together with María Dolores Pradera) or A Fuego Lento.
Top modern Spanish female singers
Thus, without seeming that there is almost no break in continuity, we go through all the decades from the 60s to the 2000s, which is why it is worth mentioning several current Spanish female singers and composers who, without being part of this list, had their importance in the music of 2 decades ago. Without names like Bebe, La Mari de Chambao or Conchita, maybe we don’t understand the music and lyrics that later came to us in the name of new artists.
Although to continue our list, no one better than Zahara, whose first LP dates from 2005 (Día 913), being in 2009 when with La Fabulosa Historia De… she obtained full recognition from critics and the public, thanks, for example, to songs like Con Las Ganas.
Since then, she managed to manage her time and release new albums with a lot of time difference between them (especially if we take other examples into account) until then in 2018 (Astronauta). In 2021 she seems to have strongly resumed releasing new work, as confirmed by the single Merichane.
Other successes to her credit: the version she made of Lucha De Gigantes with Love Of Lesbian, Tuyo, Guerra Y Paz or Hoy La Bestia Cena En Casa. We can also count among great songs in her repertoire what she did in Late Motiv with the Orcera pool.
Rozalén’s recording career began in 2013, with the release of the album entitled Con Derecho A…, from which the singles 80 Veces ou Comiéndote a Besos were extracted. Since then, she has been alternating solo albums with various collaborations and tributes to singers, giving the feeling that she has not stopped since then until today.
Her personality, which permeates both her music and that of others, is added to her live performances (and her performances in general), where she is always accompanied by Beatriz Romero, a technique specialized in sign language interpretation and interpretation guide for the deafblind, served both to increase her fame and to generalize the affection that a large part of the public feels for her.
In addition to the aforementioned singles, it is worth remembering songs like Vivir, La Puerta Violeta, Y Busqué or Sinmigo, some of them with other artists. In short, a self-conscious career with few ups and downs that doesn’t just live off the albums Quién Me Ha Visto… (2015), Cuando El Río Suena… (2017), Cerrando Puntos Suspensivos (2018) or El Árbol y el Bosque (2020).
Meanwhile, another singer-songwriter seemed to be born, making almost no noise for those of us not paying attention. As we already said when talking about music after confinement, Izaro Andrés is one of the voices we love the most in 2020, although his recording career dates back to 2016, when she released the album Om, where, in addition to demonstrating a very appreciable talent and personality, she mixed writing songs in Basque with others in Spanish.
Some of the songs we like the most, we find La Felicidad, from her second album, Eason, Errefuxiatuena, Invierno A La Vista, Tu Escala De Grises, Libre or Hainbeste.
Perhaps influenced by the discovery made with Izaro, the natural thing was to continue investigating among Spanish female singers and arrive at the name of Maren, a few months later. The singer-songwriter born in Bilbao in 2002 has been writing her own lyrics since she was 11, releasing her first EP at 14. In both English and Spanish, and since then she hasn’t stopped working and releasing.
Among our favorite songs, we highlight Debería Ser Normal, whose video was published on YouTube on March 10, 2021, but also previous songs such as La Estación Espacial De Teruel, Fotosíntesis, El Día Que Bajé Las Escaleras or its version of Lucha De Gigantes, with which in turn we close a list that started with another voice that also covered it until making it yours.
Rosalía Vila Tobella, or simply Rosalía, as she is called in the artistic world, is a Spanish singer, songwriter, producer and actress. She became known on a large scale after releasing her second studio album, Malamente, with which she won two Grammy Awards and became the Spanish artist with the most awards from the Latin Academy of Arts and Sciences of the Recording. Her beginnings date back to 2008, when she competed on the musical talent show “Tú sí que vales”; although she was not a winner.
In 2016, the singer premiered the music video for her first single, Catalina, which was deleted and published again at the beginning of 2017. She later released the album Los Ángeles, considered by different media as one of the best of the year. The artist published, in November 2018, El Mal Querer; an experimental and conceptual album, based on an anonymous romance in Occitan from the 13th century, entitled Flamenca, the central theme is about a pathological relationship.
Likewise, she premiered the single Con Altura, as well as the EP F*cking Money Man. After that, I think everybody knows the rest of her biography and work, since she is one of the most famous singers around the world.
The Spanish artist Gisela Fullà-Silvestre, a spectacular artist noted for her great songs and her great talent for music production, and better known as NOIA, released the album Gisela in 2023, where the singer sings in Spanish and in English indistinctly. In this album, we can find Eclipse De Amor, Reveal Yourself, Didn’t Know or Verano Adentro. She has also been recognized for producing different commercials such as Coca-Cola, Vogue, among other examples that have made her stand out in the field.
(Madrid, 1987) Novelist by vocation, SEO specialist by profession. Music lover, cinephile and reading lover, but in “amateur” mode.