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Male Band, Female Singer

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Basically, the music version of Two Guys and a Girl... with more guys included. Historically, musical groups have tended to be single gender. But there are cases in which a girl leads a band of guys, most often as the singer. Historically, such singers have sometimes been suspected to be mere mouthpieces for one or more of the men, but there are other cases in which she was definitely in charge. The girl can sing with Melismatic Vocals, a One-Woman Wail, Harsh Vocals or even be Cute, but Cacophonic. Often, the female singer is styled in an eye-catching and sexualised way, while the men are more utilitarianly clad, and the publicity photos and music videos will mainly feature her, sometimes to the point of completely omitting the men.
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The Face Of The Band almost always gets invoked for every one of these bands with the female singer completely dominating the group and the men reduced to simply a backing band. Usually, she is the only member anyone can name or remembers from the group. See, Blondie, Garbage, Heart, No Doubt, Evanescence, The Cranberries, etc.

Among the Music Tropes, most common in Rock and Metal bands. Compare Two Guys and a Girl, The Smurfette Principle and Female Fighter, Male Handler for the non-music versions of this trope.

Note that the inverse is almost unheard of - there are very few bands with a male frontman and all female backing musicians, and in the few cases where it does occur the women are usually a live band backing a male solo artist, rather than members of a group.


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Examples:

  • Blondie, fronted by Debbie Harry. The name of the band also led to large-scale I Am Not Shazam, and fans creating the slogan "Blondie IS A GROUP!".
  • Kate Bush, in her rare live appearances.
  • Garbage has Shirley Manson (the previous page image).
  • Heart usually had the Wilson sisters front and center.
  • No Doubt has Gwen Stefani, who also has a solo career. The trope is even played with in the "Don't Speak" video clip, an Ur-Example.
  • Paramore has the Genki Girl Hayley Williams (the current page image).
  • Evanescence is practically synonymous with its lead vocalist Amy Lee, the only original member left. Subverted as of 2015, when the band hired a female guitarist.
  • Many European Gothic Metal and Symphonic Metal bands have female vocalists. Some of the better-known ones:
    • Lacrimosa's Anne Nurmi.
    • Epica's Simone Simons.
    • Downplayed with Nightwish. They have had three very different female vocalists over its 21-year career, starting with Tarja Turunen (operatic soprano, also capable of mezzo and contralto) and continuing with Anette Olzon (mezzo-soprano). Their current vocalist Floor Jansen (soprano) also fronted After Forever and ReVamp (as well as collaborating with Pagans Mind guitarist Jørn Viggo Lofstad in Northward), while Anette fronted Alyson Avenue and currently sings for The Dark Element and all three attract/attracted a fair amount of attention. However bassist Marco Hietala, who sings lead on some songs, and charismatic band leader Tuomas Holopainen also get their fair share of attention too.
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    • Lacuna Coil's Cristina Scabbia, The Agonist's Alissa White-Gluz (who would later replace Angela Gossow in Arch-Enemy, itself another example) and Within Temptation's Sharon Den Adel.
    • The Gathering (Anneke Van Giersbergen and later Silje Wergeland) are another example except for the period 2004-2014, when Marjolein Kooijman joined the band as a bassist.
    • Symphonic Metal band Delain was another case of this with frontwoman Charlotte Wessels before they added guitarist Merel Bechtold in 2015.
  • Downplayed with Amaranthe. Elize Ryd, the band's sole female member, is part of a three-person Vocal Tag Team with two men. That being said, Elize tends to take the choruses and is the Face of the Band.
  • The Code Geass rock band AU has the reverse for its central band, Code Black. Lelouch is the singer, and Shirley, C.C., and Kallen are the band.
  • A notable case is Doro Pesch from The '80s Heavy Metal band Warlock, who is known as the first girl to sing (and lead) a band like this in those years. She's also the only original member left, though the long, ultimately successful legal battle to regain the rights to the name forced her to work as a solo artist and backing band, billed as Doro.
  • Pizzicato Five in almost all their formations has a girl as the lead vocalist, especially the ones with Maki Nomiya, who was more than just The Face Of The Band.
  • Leaves' Eyes was formerly led by Liv Kristine; she was later replaced by Elina Siirala.
  • Inverted in Robert Palmer's music videos like "Addicted to Love" and "Simply Irresistible", which show Palmer singing with a "band" of female models miming playing instruments.
    • "Weird Al" Yankovic also inverted this with his video parody of the above in "UHF". The women now also sport glasses and moustaches to boot!.
    • Shania Twain's "Man, I Feel Like a Woman" music video, also parodying the above, goes straight with this trope. She is backed up by guys in see-through shirts who are miming playing the instruments instead.
  • Played with in Gorillaz. Noodle is the band's guitarist, but she's also provided backing vocals on some songs (especially on their first album), and lead vocals on the song "DARE" (which she wrote).
    • Another example of female members of a band taking the vocals (and sometimes writing the lyrics) for some songs are The Pixies' Kim Deal and Maximum the Hormone's Nao Kawakita.
  • The groups formed by Courtney Love usually go like this, including the revival of Hole (although the original version was all-female aside from a male guitarist).
  • The '90s British group Bôa (not to be confused with the Korean Idol Singer) has Jasmine Rodgers, daughter of Paul Rodgers. Maybe this group doesn't sound familiar to you, but you may know them for composing the theme song for Serial Experiments Lain, "Duvet".
  • Japanese Nu Metal group Head Phones President (formerly called Deep Blue) has Anza Oyama, who was a former Idol Singer before starting the group with her brother.
  • Japanese group Onmyouza has Kuroneko.
  • Another (kind of) subversion is LADYBABY, a group with two moe idols and a Wholesome Crossdresser Death Metal singer nicknamed as "Ladybeard", who is The Face Of The Band.
  • Missing Persons fronted by Dale Bozzio.
  • Starship fronted by Grace Slick.
  • In This Moment has Maria Brink as the frontwoman. It's kind of a Running Gag that nobody knows the names of her musicians.
  • The Cranberries featured lead singer Dolores O'Riordan.
  • The German band Silbermond has only male musicians, but the singer is Stefanie Kloß.
  • Another I Am the Band example is Joan Jett, who has her own male group called The Blackhearts. A shift for her, since she started out in pioneering all-female hard-rock band The Runaways.
  • The Fugees was an unusual Hip-Hop/Reggae band with this kind of formation, with Lauryn Hill as the mostly-singing vocalist and leader of the group backed by two male rappers.
  • The '90s Japanese group Judy And Mary (internationally known by Sobakasu) has Yuki Isoda, considered by some fans as the Japanese Björk. The trope continues even with her solo career in the 2000s, being backed by the group "Band ASTRO", which is also formed only by men.
  • Fleetwood Mac has sometimes had Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie as solo frontwomen during its long and tangled career, although during the most successful periods they were both in the band.
  • The '80s group that doesn't need a description: Lisa Lisa And Cult Jam.
  • The Pretty Reckless has Taylor Momsen, mostly known as Jenny Humphrey from Gossip Girl.
  • Halestorm is named after the Hale family, which includes lead singer and guitarist Lzzy Hale, her brother Arejay (percussionist) and father Roger (former bassist), and two other men. Halestorm is the first female-fronted group to win the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance, for "Love Bites (So Do I)" in 2013.
  • DOROTHY is named after lead singer Dorothy Martin. The band's other members, Dylan Howard, DJ Black, and Gregg Cash, were brought in by producers Mark Jackson and Ian Scott.
  • There're some cases in which there's a female pop/rock singer with a solo career that has a male supporting band. Some famous singers with a backup male band are Janis Joplin (probably the pioneer), Christina Stürmer, Avril Lavigne, Sheryl Crow, P!nk (early on, her more recent tours have featured mixed-gender backing groups), PJ Harvey and Nanase Aikawa.
    • PJ Harvey was initially promoted as a group that happened to be named after lead singer/guitarist Polly Jean Harvey, but after the male two other original band members both left it became simply her name as a solo artist.
  • Selecter: 2 Tone ska band with Pauline Black as the vocalist.
  • SteeleyeSpan: Maddy Prior has fronted the British folk-rock band for most of its history, save for a break of a couple of years. Gay Woods was a founding member alongside her, and rejoined the band during her absence.
  • British folk has lots of examples of this trope: Sandy Denny of Fairport Convention and Jacqui McShee of Pentangle are other well-known examples.
  • runforyerlife: Short-lived 8-piece Ska Punk band. Vocalist Kelly Zouhari was the only female.
  • Maire (sometimes spelled Moya) Brennan was frontwoman of the Irish family group Clannad. Sister Enya joined for one album, but otherwise, Maire was the only female member in Clannad's history.
  • Stereolab: From 1990-92, then from 2002-09, vocalist (and also guitarist) Laetitia Sadier was the only woman in the group. But averted for the intervening decade, their most successful years: for most of that time, the band comprised three men and three women.
  • Bon Voyage (a side project of Starflyer 59): Julie Martin (singer) and Jason Martin (guitar) were the only recurring members, but in every incarnation, the rest of the band was dudes.
  • Trip Hop group Zero7 consisted of two male DJ's, plus a not-yet-famous Sia Furler on vocals.
  • Plumb started off as a rock band fronted by Tiffany Lee Arbuckle. On their debut album, they even sounded a lot like the aforementioned Garbage. But there was enough band turnover that Arbuckle wound up being the only consistent member, so she stopped calling it a band and just took "Plumb" as her own stage name.
  • Seattle grunge band The Gits was fronted by Mia Zapata. Sadly, they disbanded after Mia was assaulted, raped and murdered while recording their second album, and the killer wouldn't be found for a decade afterward.
  • Arkona: Russian Folk Metal band, with Maria "Masha Scream" Arkhipova handling both melodic singing and death growls.
  • Hey Ocean! has Ashleigh Ball. That's right, the voice of Rainbow Dash and Applejack is the lead vocal for this Canadian indie pop trio.
  • Jenni Haan, lead singer of Babe Ruth.
  • In Chile, there're 2 female members of Parra clan (which historical known members are Violeta Parra and Los Jaivas) which lead their own rock groups, mostly in The '90s: Javiera Parra (Javiera y Los Impossibles) and Colombina Parra (Los Ex).
  • Brazil's Pato Fu and Fernanda Takai (though the band's actual leader and her husband John Ulhoa also sings at times).
  • Brazilian pop-rock/nu-metal singer Pitty has an all-male backing band.
  • Other Brazilian examples include new wave band Kid Abelha, fronted by Paula Toller, and pop rock band Leela, with Bianca Jhordão.
  • Kelli Dayton (later Ali) was in the Sneaker Pimps.
  • van Canto: while the group is made almost entirely of singers (with one drummer), Inga Scharf is one of the two considered to be the "lead" singer.
  • The Kills are fronted by vocalist Alison Mosshart; the other permanent member is Jamie Hince.
  • Portuguese Synth-Pop / Alternative Rock band The Gift is fronted by vocalist Sonia Tavares.
  • 70's U.K. Punk Rock band X-Ray Spex was fronted by Poly Styrene and had male members playing the instruments.
  • Finnish metal band Battle Beast has had two female vocalists: Nitte Valo from 2008-2012, Noora Louhimo since then. Both of them sing in a distinctive raspy screech most of the time.
  • NYC club rock quintet Mother Feather takes a Two Girls to a Team approach, with Ann Courtney on lead vocals, and Elizabeth Carena on backing vocals and keyboards. The guitarist, bassist, and drummer are men and don't sing.
  • Another I Am the Band example is The Motels, which, according to one Pop Up Video episode, consists of lead singer Martha Davis, and "various male members" who had "passed through" at various points in the group's history.
  • Wir sind Helden had Judith Holofernes.
  • Metric has Emily Haines.
  • His Name Is Alive have had multiple vocalists, all of them female. The most well-known ones are Karin Oliver, Lovetta Pippen, and current frontwoman Andrea Morici, though they've had half a dozen other guest vocalists in their time.
  • Vocalist Julie Christmas has been the sole female member in each of her projects, those being the sludge metal band Made Out of Babies, the post-metal band Battle of Mice, and her collaboration album with Cult of Luna.
  • Michigan grindcore band Cloud Rat have Madison Marshall, though you may not be able to guess just from listening to them.
  • Canadian black metal band Sortilegia have Anastasia, also known as Koldovstvo or Sylvus, though again you may not be able to tell her gender just from listening to them.
  • The drone doom band Monarch has Emilie, also known as Eurogirl.
  • This was common among second-division Britpop acts. The best known:
    • Sleeper, consisting of singer Louise Wener and three guys whose name nobody ever remembered. For several years afterwards, male instrumentalists in female-fronted bands were commonly mocked in the British music press as "Sleeperblokes".
    • Catatonia, consisting of singer Cerys Matthews and a bunch of guys.
    • Echobelly, initially with singer Sonia Madan as the only female member. Subsequently, some of the male instrumentalists were replaced by women. Guitarist Debbie Smith joined around the time of their commercial breakthrough and was a prominent member through their peak years, but the reformed group in The New '10s conforms to the trope.
    • Powder, consisting of Pearl Lowe and some guys.
    • Republica, more dance-influenced than most Britpop, but still fitting the pattern.
    • Salad; for the first few years, singer Marijne van der Vugt was the only female member, although female guitarist Charley Stone later joined.
    • Theaudience, comprising five men and the pre-Breakup Breakout Sophie Ellis-Bextor.
  • Skunk Anansie: while not Britpop but funk-metal, they were active in the same era and were known for having singer-guitarist Skin as the only female member.
  • Vancouver-based Power Metal band Unleash The Archers has a female lead vocalist in Brittany Slayes, with occasional growls as accent from the guitarists.
  • Heavy blues-rock band Alabama Shakes consists of singer/guitarist Brittany Howard and three male musicians.
  • Fictional example: The Electric Mayhem, the house band on The Muppet Show has the female lead guitarist Janice and is otherwise male. (Unless you count Trumpet Girl, who joined them in the orchestra pit but was usually not portrayed as part of the band itself.)
  • The best-known inversions:
    • Jack White, during his tour to promote Blunderbuss, performed alternate gigs with an all-male band, the Buzzards, and an all-female band, the Peacocks.
    • Prince's last backing band, 3RDEYEGIRL, were all women.
    • When Farin Urlaub of Die Ärzte began his solo career, he recorded everything himself, but as this was vastly impractical for a tour, he put together a band … and all of them are female, making them the Farin Urlaub Racing Team. The trio of male brass players accompanying them are actually another band called The Busters.
  • The experimental black/doom/death metal band Thaclthi have Giulia Warrior, also known as Thaurx and Doomed Warrior. Yet another case where it's nearly impossible to tell the vocalist is a woman just by listening, as her vocals are mostly deep, cavernous death growls.
  • 1960s British pop band The Honeycombs put an unusual spin on this with an all-male lineup and a female drummer in the person of Honey Lantree.
  • Highway 101 has always had a female lead singer in an otherwise male band. The most famous one was Paulette Carlson, who was later replaced by Nikki Nelson and then Chrislynn Lee.
  • Baillie & the Boys: Kathie Baillie and two men (one of whom was her husband).
  • Wild Choir (Gail Davies' side project) had her has the only female member.
  • Gloriana on their second and third albums had Rachel Reinert as the female lead vocalist. Averted on the first album, which had her and the also-female Cheyenne Kimball alternating.
  • Trick Pony, with lead singer Heidi Newfield (and later Aubrey Collins).
  • The Wilkinsons (Amanda Wilkinson).
  • The New York-based pop/rock band Against The Current (probably best known for "Legends Never Die", the theme for the 2017 League of Legends World Championship) is fronted by Chrissy Costanza.
  • Became the case for Pigbag when Angela Jaeger came aboard.
  • The Chilean Band Toon of Los Pulentos has Nea as the main voice for the band, while his brother Barry acts as the second voice.
  • Corinne Drewery of Swing Out Sister.
  • Against Me! has Laura Jane Grace as the lead singer.
  • British noise rock band Th' Faith Healers has lead singer Roxanne Stephen.
  • How to Destroy Angels, with Mariqueen Maandig on lead vocals.

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