9 Popular Memoirs By Female Musicians

Happy Women’s History Month!

March serves to commemorate and celebrate the vital role of women in society — including the ways in which women have shaped and progressed the music world.

Some of music’s greatest female artists have given fans a firsthand account of their influence, sharing the obstacles they’ve overcome and the triumphs they deserved in powerful, moving memoirs.

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’ve compiled 10 of our favorite memoirs by female musicians. See them below.

The Meaning of Mariah Carey

The elusive chanteuse gives a candid, unfiltered story of her life in her memoir, chronicling “the ups and downs, the triumphs and traumas, the debacles and the dreams, that contributed to the person I am today” in The Meaning of Mariah Carey.

“Writing this memoir was incredibly hard, humbling and healing,” Carey wrote in the description. “My sincere hope is that you are moved to a new understanding, not only about me, but also about the resilience of the human spirit.”

The Meaning of Mariah Carey is available in hardcover, kindle and audiobook.

Just Kids Illustrated Edition

The National Book Award-winning, coming-of-age memoir has become a staple in music literature, with Smith highlighting her youth alongside Robert Mapplethorpe as artists chasing their dreams in New York City. Just Kids by Patti Smith is available in hardcover and audio CD.

Lady Sings the Blues: The 50th-Anniversay Edition with a Revised Discography (Harlem Moon Classics)

Billie Holiday’s wildly honest autobiography chronicles the iconic jazz singer’s difficult Baltimore upbringing in which she ran errands at a whorehouse all the way through her thriving music career — touching on the devastating racism Holiday experienced and the heroin addiction that ended her life too soon.

Lady Sings the Blues is available in hardcover, paperback and Kindle.

More Myself: A Journey

Part autobiography, part narrative documentary, Alicia Keys gets candid in More Myself: A Journey. shares her path from her childhood in Hell’s Kitchen and Harlem to stardom, pulling the curtain back on her “complex relationship with her father, the people-pleasing nature that characterized her early career, the loss of privacy surrounding her romantic relationships, and the oppressive expectations of female perfection.”

Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business

The country icon’s 1994 memoir, Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business, delves deep into her life since leaving home at age 18 to pursue a music career, touching on ” her personal philosophies, her marriage, her friendships, and achievements.”

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir.

Named after her lyric in “Modern Girl,” the Sleater-Kinney guitarist shares her experience leaving a difficult family situation and propelling into a world where music heals, invents and creates a sense of community in Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein. The funny, candid look on Brownstein’s life also chronicles the flourishing excitement of the era’s era’s independent music subculture.

Happiness Becomes You: A Guide to Changing Your Life for Good

In Happiness Becomes You: A Guide to Changing Your Life for Good by Tina Turner, the living legend sheds light on her path to peace in her memoir, in which she details how her Buddhist practices helped her out of the darkest times of her life.

A Natural Woman: A Memoir

Released in 2013, this deeply personal memoir touches on Carole King’s extraordinary life that inspired Broadway’s Beautiful, chronicling “her journey as a performer, mother, wife and present-day activist.”

In her characteristically down-to-earth memoir, My Story, Reba McEntire tells the funny, inspiring tale of her life from “her childhood in Oklahoma working cattle with her ranching family to her days on the rodeo competition circuit, from her early days as a performer in honky-tonks to her many awards and a sold-out appearance at Carnegie Hall.”

I Put A Spell On You: The Autobiography Of Nina Simone

Nina Simone shares her powerful, triumphant and tempestuous life in her memoir, I Put a Spell on You. Moving through the highest highs of her career success and the lowest lows of failed marriages, arrest and the threat of imprisonment, mental breakdown, poverty and attempted suicide.

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