Montreal singer-songwriter Laraw  impresses with her downtempo pop stylings, combining attitude, deft storytelling, and stunning presence. Real name Lara Rawadi, this girl harnesses an upbringing with Lebanese and Moroccan roots, while speaking French, English, and Arabic. That’s intimidating enough, but she adds to this cultured cocktail with a commanding, slinky voice and an aural style that reels listeners into her sonic wheelhouse. With her new single, “Breakup Tutorial_V2”, out November 6th via Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Laraw builds a simmering tune that writhes and pulses towards its acoustic, crooning outro.

As a badass lady taking names in the biz, Laraw knows there comes a time to celebrate those that came before her. In this Women of Rock session, Laraw highlights five of the female greats who inspired her to become the artist she is today. From Aretha to Lizzo, this list covers the spectrum of women who told the world to get bent and appreciate the breadth of femininity. As Laraw notes, these legends teach women to demand and receive respect, and we all gotta appreciate that.

1. Hayley Williams

Paramore is the first band I ever listened to when I was a kid. First cracked torrent in my iPod. Something about her voice and HER just made me fall in love with music. She was everything I wanted to be when I grew up. A badass, unique voice, crazy hair, crazy style, and her songs were just out of this word (still are).”

2. Florence Welch

“Her writing literally pulled me out of depression. It’s so precise and clean. You can actually see her universe and it takes you somewhere else. The melodies and the darkness that surround her just always fascinated me. I saw her live and it’s still to this day the most moving performance I’ve ever witnessed. Music is her life and you can feel it when she moves on stage. It moves you.”

3. Lady Gaga

“Where do I start with Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta…she’s an Icon. Everything she touches screams art. She’s the definition of a versatile artist. From singing, to playing piano, to acting, to starting a makeup brand…how can I define her impact? As a woman, the last thing you want in the industry is to be put in a box. She does whatever she wants and it’s crazy and it’s perfect. I love her. All I can add is that if I meet her, I will pass out.”

4. Lizzo

“How can you not STAN? A woman loving herself so damn hard. How refreshing. Body positivity, amazing music, amazing human. I just love her. She’s a leader in this new world we’re creating where perfection is a myth. Being a Singer isn’t just about singing, it’s about the impact you create. She’s changing the world, one twerk at the time and I just live for it. I’m tired of seeing perfect people singing these perfectly produced songs. It’s ok to be messy; it’s ok to be you.”

5. Aretha Franklin

“This one is going to be short and simple to explain. She’s the one that taught me to demand and receive RESPECT. A strong woman with a VOICE that just shakes your soul. She’s such an important artist with such important songs. Especially “Respect.” She encouraged me to write songs with more honesty and to get straight to the point.”

Artwork for “Breakup Tutorial” by Laraw