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Celebrate Women’s History Month With These Female Musicians’ Memoirs

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 and International Women’s Day on Friday (March 8), we’ve compiled 14 of our favorite memoirs by female musicians. See them below.

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What’s in a name? With over 150 million records sold, 46 Grammy nominations (eight wins), an Oscar, Emmy and Tony, Barbra Streisand has certainly made a name for herself.

In her 2023 memoir, My Name is Barbara, the legend takes readers through an iconic career spanning across music and movies. Streisand details everything from her childhood in Brooklyn, struggles starting her acting career started (which led her to singing), landing her big break in Funny Girl, becoming an EGOT winner to falling in love with actor James Brolin, her husband since 1998.

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Britney Spears in her own words. The pop star took the literary world by storm with her bombshell memoir, The Woman In Me, released last October. Spears digs deep into her past sharing untold stories from her childhood, career, high-profile relationships and being released from her conservatorship.

Melissa Ethridge offers life lessons from tragedy and triumph in Talking to My Angels, her best-selling memoir released last September. The books comes over 20 years after the Grammy winner debuted her first memoir The Truth Is…: My Life in Love and Music.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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The country icon takes fans through 175 of her songs in the 2020 memoir Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics.

Parton’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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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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Jennifer Lopez unveils a transformative two-year-period as an artist and a mother in her 2015 memoir, True Love. In the book, Lopez opens up about confronting challenges, overcoming fears and ultimately emerging a stronger person.

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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.”

McEntire’s new lifestyle book, Not That Fancy: Simple Lessons on Living, Loving, Eating, and Dusting Off Your Boots, will be released in October.

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