Gemma Watters

Composer Max Richter has scored soundtracks and had his music placed across film and television, including recent Hollywood movies such as Mary Queen of Scots, Hostiles and Ad Astra. But Richter's also a composer who's not afraid to take on political issues in his music.

Rina Sawayama's self-titled debut album is a complex work of pop music, often calling to mind early 2000s R&B, nu-metal, and shuffling between genres in the same song. In the same way she flips through sounds, Sawayama also sings about a lot of complicated topics: her parents' messy divorce, her identity as Japanese British person and her burgeoning understanding of systemic racism, which she says she experienced while studying psychology, sociology and politics at Cambridge University.

British singer-songwriter Laura Marling was just 18 years old when she released her debut album Alas, I Cannot Swim in 2008. Over the past 12 years, she's been nominated three times for Britain's prestigious Mercury Prize, moved from the U.K. to Los Angeles and back again, and has recently begun coursework for a masters degree in psychoanalysis.

Singer, writer and producer Natasha Khan moved to LA to write scripts and music for film after her 2016 release, The Bride. The release marked the end of her recording contract with EMI and she wasn't sure she'd write another album as Bat for Lashes.

Three years after his death in November of 2016, there's a new Leonard Cohen album. It's called Thanks for the Dance, and it was completed and produced by his son, singer-songwriter Adam Cohen. NPR's Don Gonyea speaks to Cohen about putting together this album, which he says he started with his father — with his father's full intention that his son would finish it after his death. Listen in the audio player above and read on for a transcript of their conversation.

Country music has a gender problem. Women only make up 16% of country artists, and even fewer are songwriters.

When women do break into the mainstream — the likes of Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, and Kacey Musgraves — they're often young. The average age of the genre's top female artists is 29 years old.

As early 2000s Disney Channel stars and a platinum-selling pop rock band, the members of the Jonas Brothers — Kevin, Joe and Nick Jonas — have grown up a lot in the public eye. But when the band suddenly split up in 2013 in lieu of solo careers and family time, fans were left wanting more.

Dating back to 1986, a recently unearthed video offers a rare glimpse of Freddie Mercury performing without a full band behind him. In the video, the famous Queen frontman sings "Time Waits for No One" from the concept album of the musical Time, accompanied only by a piano.

Dig into the liner notes of the biggest pop records of the last 15 years and Mark Ronson's name will come up up a lot.

Billie Eilish prides herself on being intimidating.

"I think I have a vibe that makes you not even want to ask me anything," she says with a laugh. "You don't want to say no to me."

And so far, that vibe is working. At just 17, the LA-raised singer-songwriter makes music that is both haunting and oddly inviting. Her angsty, platinum-selling singles house dark electropop and her viral music videos toe the line between lurid and alluring.

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